Newsletter > Newsletter archive > November 2012
Hard times ahead for our ash trees
Walkers are rightly concerned about ‘ash dieback disease’, caused by the fungal organism Chalara Fraxinea, and may well be wondering what they can do to help prevent its spread. The answer, it would seem, is not very much, as the spores travel locally on the wind and over longer distances by the movement of the live trees and their timber. The chances of carrying it on clothing and boots, in sufficient quantity to infect another tree, appear to be low, although there’s never any harm in keeping footwear clean.
The disease was discovered in the UK earlier this year, first in nursery plants but later, and more worryingly, in natural woodland and hedgerows in East Anglia, Essex and Kent. Further relatively isolated cases have now been confirmed in other parts of the country. Ash dieback disease causes leaf loss and kills off the tree’s crown, often resulting in the death of the tree, especially when young. Older trees may survive a few years but they usually succumb in the end once the disease has taken hold.
What visitors to the outdoors can do is keep an eye out for the disease and report any cases. This should be done with some care, as there are other causes of dieback in ash trees and Chalera Fraxinea does not affect similar looking trees, such as the Rowan (confusingly also called Mountain Ash). The Forestry Commission has a website with a useful video and a pictorial guide to the symptoms, along with contact details for making a report.
Thank you, Adrian!
We would like to give a great big thank you to Adrian Perkins, who has been looking after our walk comments for several years now and has decided it’s time to retire. Adrian has been undertaking a hugely important job for us, as it involves following up all the comments made on walks, assisting contributors in checking out changes and frequently dealing with the footpaths officers in local councils (a task that is becoming much more difficult as the cuts bite). What’s more Adrian has done all this in an entirely voluntary capacity, claiming that it was pleasurable (yes, really) and rewarding. He deserves a rest.
Adrian’s role has been taken on by Dan Guy, who has spent the last couple of years with Police Victim Support, so we reckon he’ll have just the skills required.
SPOT devices in over 2000 rescues
Since 2007, the family of SPOT messenger devices has initiated more than two thousand rescues in 78 countries around the world and at sea. Hikers, boaters, pilots and remote workers are just a few of the SPOT users who have called for assistance using its satellite messaging technology, while well out of the reach of a mobile phone signal.
In life-threatening emergencies SPOT users can send an SOS message, with an accurate GPS location, by satellite to the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre. After the message is received, the Centre quickly verifies the incident and notifies the appropriate local services. For rescue teams, knowing the precise location of a casualty can save many hours, even days, of searching and the possibility of a successful recovery is greatly increased.
As well as emergency callouts, SPOT devices, when coupled with a mobile phone and app, allow users to notify friends and family of their location and status, by email, SMS text and even by updating their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Find out more
Tenerife – a walker’s paradise
This month, Inntravel’s featured holiday explores the little-known, but dramatic northern coast of the island of Tenerife, where the surprisingly green landscapes come as something of a revelation to those who think that the Canary Islands are just sun, sand and sangria.
This holiday is based at two delightful hotels exuding real Canarian character. Tenerife’s ancient cobbled trails wind through dense laurisilva pine forests to reveal El Teide’s imposing summit. Wandering along high ridges to remote settlements, it’s possible to witness farmers working the land much as they have done for centuries. Following verdant barrancos down to reach deserted coves, a chance encounter with a weather-beaten fisherman, his face as rugged as the dramatic coastline he inhabits, offers a real insight into this surprising island.
For more details on Inntravel’s walking holidays in the Canary Islands, see inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
Christmas pressie ideas
A gift subscription to Walkingworld will give a whole year of unlimited pleasure to the dedicated or aspiring walker. The subscription can be activated at any time, so the recipient can, for instance, wait until the spring before their year starts. And if they do already happen to have a subscription the gift can be used when their renewal comes up.
The Wainwright Society calendar, which combines beautiful views of the Lake District with sketches by the famous author, is always popular. It’s also for a very worthy cause; profits this year are being donated to Cumbria Wildlife Trust for their ‘Uplands for Juniper’ project, to survey, restore and recreate stands of this important native plant. At only £10 including P&P it’s astonishingly good value.
We have been trying out some very comfy socks made by a family firm in New Zealand. LifeSocks have an unashamedly medical background but have been finding favour with walkers. Indeed, legendary long distance hiker John Merrill (pictured left) has walked over 1500 miles in a pair and claims they are ‘as good as new’. Well we haven’t travelled quite that far but ours have had a good bashing in the Cumbrian fells. We particularly like the LifeStyle Plus design, which has well positioned padding and features a mix of merino wool, nylon and an intriguing fibre that includes threads of seaweed! The thicker Protective Plus socks are made from the same materials but are of a more conventional design. There’s a 20% discount when buying direct from the LifeSocks website, bringing the cost of a pair of LifeStylePlus socks down to £16 – just quote voucher code WW001 at the checkout (valid until 31st January 2013).
The 2013 Swanage and Purbeck Walking Festival takes place next year on the 4th – 10th May. The stunning Isle of Purbeck, based at the east end of the Jurassic Coast , is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the festival offers 7 days of walks to suit everyone. www.walkswanage.com.
We are joining GPS Training (www.gpstraining.co.uk) for another Open Day, next Easter Weekend. The Open Day is entirely free and will feature talks from a wide range of interesting folk, plus you’ll have the opportunity to learn some map and compass skills with members of Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team. As before the Open Day is on Saturday (30th March) at Mungrisdale Village Hall in the northern Lake District. On Easter Sunday (31st March) you will be able to follow up with several hours on the fells near Kirkby Stephen with members of the Mountain Rescue Team – ideal if you wish to hone your navigation skills in a real hill environment. More details will be available nearer the time, but you might want to note the dates in your diary and even start looking for accommodation.
Yes, we've passed the 6000 milestone. Since Walkingworld has been going some 12 years that makes an average of 500 walks a year - quite an achievement for all our walk contributors.