Newsletter > Newsletter archive > November 2016
Wonderful winter worlds
We may miss the long days of summer and think it’s time to put our feet up, but winter has its consolations. In fact, with a modicum of preparation, it can be a time to venture into whole new worlds.
Climbing hills in the snow can be a magical experience and it’s perfectly possible with a just small amount of extra equipment and training. The battery people, VARTA, have released 'The Wanderer’s Guide to Winter in the Great Outdoors' as a PDF download and it’s full of good advice for the winter months, even for those sticking to the lowlands. Written in conjunction with Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) and the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC), it features a series of top tips for embarking on winter outings.
There are also plenty of experts who can teach you how to use equipment such as an ice axe and crampons, so you can start to go out into the white stuff on your own. Mountain guide Graham Uney, who is one of the Fell Top Assessors for the Lake District National Park, is just one who will give you a good introduction over a couple of days.
Meanwhile, if you venture out at night, you can observe an entire universe above your head. It only takes some pre-planning and you can see amazing things without being a boffin or having a car load of expensive gear - a pair of decent binoculars can be all you need. It certainly helps to be in an area without light pollution. Fortunately many of our national parks have ‘dark skies' and organise stargazing parties throughout the winter. For instance a whole week of activities is being organised in the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors national parks for February half term. If you can't get to a national park, the Dark Sky Discovery website lists accredited dark sky sites across the UK (the picture above was taken by Walkingworld contributor Julia Ewart on the Northumberland coast just a few days ago).
Don’t forget that the Geminids meteor shower is a highlight of December, around the 13-14th of the month. Astronomer Richard Darn has a very useful website with a calendar of upcoming attractions and a monthly podcast, aimed at the novice stargazer, which is well worth listening to.
A coast of many colours
This month, Inntravel provides us with a perfect winter getaway - a self-guided walk across the most south-westerly corner of mainland Europe, from Algarve's southern shores to the wilder Atlantic coast.
It starts with an exploration of the coastal paths around the attractive seaside village of Salema, before heading inland to the traditional village of Pedralva, once abandoned and now a sensitively restored eco-friendly ‘village hotel'. The route continues north to the ocean near Carrapateira, famous for its glorious beaches, wetlands and rocky promontories.
A world away from the Algarve's busy resorts, the unspoiled landscapes of the Costa Vicentina National Park are characterised by dramatic cliffs, pristine coves and quiet, rolling pastures. Here, you'll see fishermen still working the cliffs with rod and line, or spearing octopus from tidal pools; and scenery sprinkled with almond groves, bee hives, herds of cattle and grazing goats.
It's a colourful land, with long stretches of golden sand giving way to grey-and-red jagged rocks on the coast, and green hills coated in drifts of winter blossom, and spring meadows carpeted with citrus-yellow Bermuda buttercups.
"This region of rolling hills and broad, sandy beaches perhaps needs little introduction; but few visitors take the time to explore its heart and soul. A walking holiday is the very best way to do that." James Keane (Inntravel's expert on Portugal)
For details of Inntravel's walking holidays in Portugal, visit inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
A Coast of Many Colours
- Self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday
- Prices from £628pp, inc 7 nights' B&B accommodation, 4 dinners, 3 picnics & detailed route notes
- International flights extra (direct to Faro from several UK regional airports)
- Available 1-10 December 2016 & 8 January-31 May 2017
Walking in La Serrella and the Serra de Mariola
Walkingworld contributor, Jim Arymar, whose walks in the Balearic Islands are already popular, has added an intriguing new Spanish region to the site. The city of Valencia and the resort of Alicante are very easily reached with regular flights from the UK. Just fifty kilometres or so inland from the Mediterranean coast are two natural areas, La Serrella and the Serra de Mariola, offering a variety of walking in stunning mountain scenery.
Jim has provided seventeen walks in these two areas, which lie on either side of the town of Alcoy, so more than enough for a week or two’s holiday. If you are looking for something a bit different which could be combined with a city break to the vibrant city of Valencia, this could be worth investigating. Find out more
Wainwright calendar and book
The annual Wainwright Society calendar features beautiful photographs of the Lake District taken by Society members, together with line drawings and quotations from the works of Alfred Wainwright. Profits this year are going to the Lake District Calvert Trust for the renovation of Bowderstone Bothy, enabling the Trust's disabled visitors to have an overnight remote camping experience. The bothy is situated in the heart of Borrowdale, close to the Trust's accessible abseil site on a 70 foot crag. The calendar is just £10 including delivery, direct from the Wainwright Society website.
Earlier this year we mentioned the Wainwright Society publication, 'Encounters with Wainwright', a book containing 120 stories of people who met or knew Alfred Wainwright, from 75 years ago in Blackburn through to his final days in Kendal in 1991. These first-hand memories of Wainwright reveal the man as a more complex and endearing figure than often portrayed. The book results from three years of detailed research and detective work by David Johnson, editor of The Wainwright Society's magazine, Footsteps.
All profits from the book are being donated to Animal Rescue Cumbria, the charity that Wainwright supported passionately, and will be used for work at Kapellan, the charity's animal shelter at Grayrigg, near Kendal. The first cheque, for £2000, was recently presented to the charity.
Pennine Way completion certificates
Trudging 268 miles across moors and bogs along Britain’s toughest and oldest National Trail - and climbing higher than Mount Everest in the process - shouldn’t be easily forgotten. But just in case anyone needs reminding that they have completed the Pennine Way, it is now possible to get a personalised completion certificate. A high-quality glossy certificate featuring Stoodley Pike is available for just £4 including postage. There is a simpler design to print at home for free, after completing a short survey about the trail. There is also a new range of merchandise, including sew-on badges, mugs, and bespoke souvenir signs. Proceeds all go towards the maintenance and promotion of the Pennine Way.