Newsletter > Newsletter archive > September 2012
How not to be the centre of a news story
The story, earlier this month, of a group walking Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk navigating with just a guidebook and having to be rescued on two successive days caused something of a kerfuffle (you can read some of the reaction on the Grough website). It’s true that the truly incompetent and obstinate generate a great deal of frustration within the emergency services, but it would be a shame if this led to a culture of control over where and how we walk. In some countries you need a permit to walk the trails in their national parks, submit yourself to equipment checks, and sign yourself in and out.
The very same week a young German lad doing the Coast to Coast mistook his route in the mist and turned up in our own valley, a few miles off the ridge he was supposed to be on. He had walked off the map in his guidebook and was consequently more than a little lost. We printed out a map that would allow him to rejoin the route further on and he disappeared into a soggy Cumbrian day. Apart from not having a map he was well equipped and plainly fit, and he’d had the sense to stop at the first house he came to to ask for help. He was never really in any danger and no doubt he learned a valuable lesson from his experience. What better way to learn than through one’s mistakes?
As for our Walkingworld walks, we do recommend that you always print out the Ordnance Survey map we provide, even if you are following the route on a mapping GPS or smartphone. The batteries on a piece of paper never run out. In remoter areas it clearly makes sense to have a full OS map so you can work out where you are if you do wander off course. It can be put in your rucksack until you need it and with a bit of luck it will stay there. It’s rightly down to your own judgement whether you back up our printed map with a ‘proper’ map, but if a walk is graded ‘Strenuous’ or a ‘Mountain Challenge’, it’s a pretty good indication that we think it’s appropriate. There are plenty of our ‘Moderate’ walks where it would be a good idea.
Fun times ahead
We are delighted to be starting work on a three year project with a prominent English university on routes with more interactive content, in particular taking advantage of the clever things that can be done by the latest smartphones (apart from causing you to get lost, that is....). We don’t want to develop anything for which there is no demand, so naturally we’ll be asking you what, if anything, you would like a more interactive or ‘media rich’ walk to be like. We’d also like explore ways of making walking more environmentally friendly by, for instance, making it easier to find suitable walks that can be reached by public transport.
We’re careful not to bombard Walkingworld members with separate advertising emails or indeed anything other than this monthly newsletter. But within the next couple of months we’ll be preparing an online survey to find out what, collectively, Walkingworld members like (and dislike) about going for a walk, how you find and prepare for one and what you might want in the future. We would be very grateful if you can spare a few minutes to take part.
Time for your Indian adventure to begin…
Autumn brings warm days and clear skies in India, and now is the perfect time to experience life in the Himalayan foothills on one of Inntravel’s unforgettable walking holidays.
Discover scenery on a grand scale in the Saryu and Pindar Valleys as you follow inviting trails on exhilarating walks between remote villages where you are welcomed as honoured guests. Spot exotic wildlife in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and even add a stay amid the mysterious beauty of the little-known Thar Desert in Rajasthan.
Alternatively, for a more relaxed, though equally rewarding, exploration of this mesmerising country, take a journey deep into India’s Intoxicating South. Savour the spice villages of Karnataka; delight in the historic tea plantations of the Nilgiri Hills; and glide through the mellow backwaters of Kerala on your own crewed kettuvalum (houseboat).
For more information on inspiring, community-based holidays in India, see Inntravel’s 'Indian Adventure' brochure for 2012/13. Order a copy online or speak to one of their experts by calling 01653 617034.
Calendars and badges
Every year Walkingworld members stick their hands in their pockets and buy a Wainwright Society calendar. These beautiful publications are fantastically good value but, in spite of the low cost, they generate thousands of pounds for deserving charities (always with some association to Alfred Wainwright’s beloved Cumbria). Profits this year are being donated to Cumbria Wildlife Trust for their ‘Uplands for Juniper’ project. The calendars are only £10 including p&p. available from the Wainwright Society website.
Meanwhile our own Walkingworld badges and sew-on badges continue to be extraordinarily popular; we never thought we’d sell so many. Please think of buying one when you renew your subscription – we don’t make any profit on them and for each one we give £1 to Mountain Rescue. The latest ones to be sold are helping Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue to upgrade communication and IT facilities in their base, which is often used to co-ordinate searches for missing and injured people in the surrounding Howgill and Pennine fells. Good radio communication and tracking on onscreen maps are absolutely vital to the task, so the money you are donating is being very well spent.
For a bit of genuine Scottish wildness…
The Wild North Festival will take place from 10-14 October and cover the area between Castletown and John o’Groats. It’s certainly a wild, but also very beautiful, place and just right for a ‘get away from it all’ holiday. You can email Walkingworld contributor, Tina Irving, for more information. Her email address can be found on the Dunnet Head website.
Ian Cutler would like to thank everyone involved in the rescue of his partner who fell down a steep incline at Gypsy Bank, Wolfscote Dale (Hartington) and broke her leg. A veritable multitude turned out to effect a smooth and quick evacuation, including the ‘anonymous four’ who liaised with the emergency services, the rescue volunteers, the air ambulance crew and the medical team at Derby Royal Hospital. Ian notes that they were lucky, as the Mountain Rescue team were on an exercise nearby and turned up within twenty minutes. Yes, that’s a lot quicker than normal!