Newsletter > Newsletter archive > October 2011
It’s good to see that a modest but beautiful footbridge in the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been gathering accolades - one a ‘Judges Award’ from the British Construction Industry and one from the rather nicely named ‘Wood Awards’. The timber bridge, which crosses the River Ribble near Selside, was a joint project by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Natural England. The innovative design uses short lengths of timber to form three arches spanning over fifty metres. Interestingly it was designed by a Forestry Commission team from Scotland; there’s obviously more to forestry than just growing trees!
In our Pathways book we traced a long history of man-made water crossings and learned how deeply significant they are in our culture. At the prehistoric wooden causeway at Flag Fen near Peterborough hundreds of ritual offerings, including deliberately broken blades, were carefully deposited in the water. A few hundred years later, in medieval times, river crossings became important stopping points on the corpse roads that led from isolated settlements to the church burial grounds. On some bridges we can still see the special resting places for the coffin, where the procession could pause and prayers be said. Failure to do this might allow the spirit to return from the grave, cross the water and fly back to haunt the family home. Not a good idea.
More recently still, a series of ambitious new footbridges has come to be held in great affection by the public. The ‘winking eye’ in Newcastle/Gateshead, the ‘wobbly’ Millennium bridge from St Paul’s to the Tate Modern in London and the gorgeous curving bridge over the River Aire at Castleford have all transformed their environments. These bridges have been of huge economic and, some might say, spiritual benefit to their communities. So, at a time when some authorities are cutting back on managing our footpaths (Norfolk County Council is threatening to do no trimming at all next year on their paths), it is genuinely uplifting to see an example of real and imaginative investment.
Open Day still open
There are some places left on the Navigation Open Day and Hillwalking Skills Day this weekend (October 22/23). The earlier Saturday sessions are booked up but there is still room on most of the later ones. The Open Day on Saturday is a great opportunity to learn more about all aspects of navigation, from basic map and compass to more technical GPS skills. The folk from GPS Training will be there to answer any questions you have about GPS or digital mapping applications. Knowing them there’ll be a few special bundle offers to be had too.
Several members of Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team have been drafted in to help run the map and compass workshops, and the hillwalking day on Sunday which will be out on some real fells. Thanks to them you'll be able to learn in small groups in a real hillside environment, which is so much more effective than trying to pick up the skills from a book or website. More information and booking form
Join the Gurkhas next summer for the ultimate team trek!
Trailwalker UK follows the South Downs Way from Petersfield to Brighton. Each year 500 teams from all walks of life take on this epic challenge and raise over £1million for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Team ‘45nSingle’ took part after seeing the event on Walkingworld. Helen Kealy said “Knowing that each and every step taken was worthwhile and that every penny raised was earned; that's the challenge and reward of Trailwalker - I would not have missed it for the world."
Feeling inspired? Visit the Trailwalker website to find out more.
The Magic of Morocco
What better way to gain a true understanding of this remarkable country than by walking through the remote and dramatic landscapes of the Atlas Mountains with your own personal Berber guide? There are no groups on Inntravel’s walking holidays here, no rush and no fuss – just a privileged opportunity to slowly immerse yourself in your surroundings and the seemingly timeless lives of the mountain villagers, guided by a local expert.
Smiling and courteous, he will meet you each morning at your hotel, armed with ingredients for your picnic, before leading you out to explore the incredible landscapes amid these colourful, imposing, silent and mysterious mountains. Follow ancient mule trails through lush valleys, shady pine woods and along high escarpments, passing ruined kasbahs and secluded mosques to reach remote villages, where the unassuming Berber people will greet you. Meeting few visitors, their curiosity is evident, but it’s the welcoming faces and warm smiles which leave a lasting impression.
For details of Inntravel’s privately guided walking holidays in Morocco – and many more wonderfully Slow holidays for autumn, winter and spring – order a brochure online or speak to one of their experts by calling 01653 617034.
Nice warm Paramo offer
If you have ever been sat in the rain on the top of a hill and wanted to put on an extra warm layer but without taking your waterproof jacket off, Paramo have come up with a clever solution. Their new Torres Core gilet comes with a fully adjustable hood and 133g synthetic insulation to seal in body heat. Unusually you can put it on over your waterproof or windproof and it continues to keep you warm even when it’s wet. You can even add a pair of Torres Sleeves, to turn it into a fully functioning, toasty-warm jacket. We’ve been trying one out and it definitely keeps the cold out!
If you buy the Torres Core and Sleeves together for £140 you can make a significant saving of £35, plus you get two free sachets of Nikwax TechWash and TX.Direct to help you winterproof your gear. Sizing tip: the garment is slightly upsized from the standard fit to allow it to be worn over the top of a jacket, but if you want to wear it over several layers and a waterproof jacket you may want to opt for a larger size still. The offer is open until November 14th while stocks last.
Above and beyond!
Aboveandbeyond are giving all Walkingworld members an exclusive offer to get 40% off RRP on all Ordnance Survey Active Waterproof Maps including delivery until 15th November 2011. With an RRP of £13.99 that’s a huge saving of £5.60 per map. OS Active Explorer maps are ideal if you’re an all season walker or walk regularly in a particular area because they are 100% waterproof – they won’t get soggy or disintegrate. They can be folded over 10,000 times and you can write on them too. Simply input code OSWW40 after adding maps to your shopping basket. You can find Active maps here.
Latest from Kendal
‘Kendal’ is the biggest mountain festival of its kind in the world. This November we are promised over 70 films, art, literature, the legendary Rab Party and the Boardman Tasker literary prize. Top speakers include American climber Lynn Hill, ‘poet-climber’ Ed Drummond, renowned Pakistani mountaineer Nazir Sabir and veteran US alpinist Jim Wickwire. There’s Richard Parks, first to climb the highest summit on each continent and stand on all three poles - South, North and Everest summit. Prolific Everest-summiteer Kenton Cool appears not once, but twice. On Thursday night he tells Stephen Venables just how he managed to reach the top of Everest a record-breaking nine times. On Saturday he talks about skiing two Himalayan giants – Manaslu and Cho Oyu.
Meanwhile BBC producer and director Dale Templar describes filming the Human Planet series and photographer John Beatty shares his superb images and stories from 25 years of worldwide assignments. Cameron McNeish and Richard Else talk and show footage from BBC Scotland’s new series profiling a new long-distance trail from the Scottish border to Cape Wrath.
Dates are 17-20 November. Book tickets online or on 01539 725133. www.mountainfest.co.uk