Newsletter > Newsletter archive > February 2021

February 2021

Weather watching

We have probably all been doing a bit more weather watching over the last month, as it's been quite tumultuous. It's always worth checking the weather forecast, even if it's just to work out what to wear on your daily walk. There are plenty of good weather resources and apps, including from the BBC and MetOffice. It's sometimes interesting to compare them, because they don't always agree!

Taking it to a slightly different level we have had personal weather stations for quite a few years now. Over time they have become more sophisticated. Our first couple of stations had separate measurement instruments, communicating with a central console. Via bit of 'handmade' software and an old laptop or computer, it was possible to rig up a regular upload to an online service like Weather Underground. However the system had many points of failure, including when the computer decided to do a system upgrade and bits of software didn't restart.

Later systems brought all the instruments into one device that could be mounted on a single pole. The device communicated with its own hub to upload readings every few seconds to the web. This was much more reliable from an information transfer point of view but the devices were still prone to failure, especially the wind vane, wind speed cups and rain gauge, all of which were mechanical.

We have been testing our latest device which is quite revolutionary in a couple of senses. Firstly the Tempest from WeatherFlow has no moving parts, with rainfall and wind sensed through sound and touch sensors. Secondly the readings are transmitted online and corrected using 'machine learning', so the device is constantly calibrating better readings and forecasts. It is an interesting development - one of the benefits is that it's possible to get a weather forecast for the precise location of the device. In our case, some 370 metres up a hill, the super-local forecast can be quite different from one given for the town in the valley. You can see our own device and its forecast here. Will it last longer than the others? We'll see.

Micro map case
Talking of weather we have been experimenting with protecting our A4 map printouts in small badge holders. The A4 page is folded twice to A6 size and fits snugly into the transparent holder, with a seal that is pretty much completely waterproof. As the holder is transparent on both sides you can see A5's worth of map - about 3kms by 4kms at standard OS Explorer map scale. This could well be enough a short walk and of course you can take the paper out and turn it round mid-walk to show another bit of map.

We would always recommend having a full Ordnance Survey paper map for adventures in the hills but even in those circumstances a small printout can be very convenient, especially in the wind and rain. We have found the A6 size nice and easy to tuck away, either in a pocket or on a lanyard around the neck.

If you fancy having one of these 'micro map cases' we'll put together a bulk order of the A6 holders with a natty rainbow lanyard. The cost to you will be £3.50, including postage to mainland Britain, and we'll give any profit to our local Mountain Rescue team (the amount will depend a little on how many are ordered but it should be around £1 an item). Allow 10 days or so for us to make the bulk order, collate it and send your case out to you. Sorry, we won't be able to deliver outside mainland Britain. Please place your order here

Take a Walk on the Wild Side - save £45 on a cottage break

Whether you're looking for highland rambles, coastal hikes, or gentle strolls through open meadows, you'll find the wild beauty of Great Britain all on your doorstep. Take the first step and book your walking retreat with Original Cottages today.

Original Cottages has hundreds of beautiful cottages across the UK, where you can find the perfect base for your next adventure. With their local insights, they will help you discover some of the country's best nature-spotting destinations.

To get the discount use promo code WALKINGW45 in the 'promo code' box when making your booking online, or mention it when calling their team on 03332 020899.

T&Cs: The £45 Original Cottages promo code can be redeemed against any holiday booking made on or before 30th July 2021, and for holidays starting on or before 31st December 2021. Standard booking terms and conditions apply. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional code. Bookings are subject to availability

YHA and Independent Hostels working together
The YHA and a group of five independent hostelling networks across the four nations have come together to form a partnership called Hostelling Together. Hostelling has been hit hard by COVID-19, sometimes falling between the gaps in terms of business support.

The furlough scheme, support through councils and government grants for charities have been of some help. Unfortunately many hostels have not been able to claim since Spring last year, while only having a very short period in which they could open and then on a limited basis, perhaps only catering for one household at a time. Hostelling for many of us was our very first experience of outdoor adventures. It is often linked with efforts to travel more sustainably and also in opening up the countryside to a wider constituency. If you are involved in running a hostel or are just interested in the issue you can download the Hostelling Together information sheet.

Andalusian get-away
As mentioned last month the Andalusian Government is offering free Covid-19 travel insurance, for all international travellers to the region. Villa Andalucía is part of the 'Andalucía Segura', the local scheme that demonstrates compliance with WHO guidelines for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 in Spain. Villa Andalucía is also offering a 15% discount on a holiday between September 2021 and April 2022 using the voucher code Walkingworld when booking online. Or you can talk to Helen Hares on WhatsApp on +34 636593284.