Newsletter > Newsletter archive > May 2012
Opening up Europe
No, this is not about saving the Euro, which is beyond our powers. What we are now able to do is provide a reasonably decent map for any walk in Europe and, in some cases, beyond. Using various ‘open data’ mapping sources and some natty software by long-time Walkingworld contributor, John Thorn, we have been working through the walks in Europe that didn’t already have maps and adding them in. There’s still a little way to go but you should find more and more of our European walks with printable maps.
This does mean that we’re happy now to accept walks for any European destination. We are, for instance, just beginning to build a collection of walks in Northern Ireland. For the moment these will come with the ‘open maps’ but we are in discussions with Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland to publish them with ‘proper’ OSNI maps. As for other destinations please get in touch if you would like to submit walks. We are keen to have portfolios of routes that would keep a walker occupied for a week or more, as we have for the regions of Andalucia, the Rhone Alps or the Balearic Islands.
It’s also worth noting that for some of the best Spanish walking destinations – particularly the ‘warm islands’ – you can now download our routes to the ViewRanger smartphone app and view them on the excellent Discovery Walking Guide maps. These maps have been carefully compiled and updated over many years by David and Ros Brawn especially for walkers, so for a few pounds per island or hiking area they’re very good value.
By the way, John Thorn’s MAPC2MAPC Windows program is a great tool if you need to calibrate maps for digital mapping applications or want to load a route and find freely available mapping for viewing it. It’s well worth the modest £10 licence fee. We’re also very grateful to Chris Bibby who has been working like a demon updating our walk maps for France and Spain. The picture above comes from a fabulous walk at Cap Ferrat.
How to call for help, or just keep in touch
Many worry, quite justifiably, about how they would call for assistance if something happened to them and they were not able to get a mobile phone signal. SPOT messenger devices, including SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™ and SPOT Connect™ have initiated more than 1,800 emergency rescues worldwide. Because SPOT uses 100% satellite technology, it works beyond the range of mobile phone towers and VHF radio. Many of these rescues resulted in lives being saved both on land and at sea.
SPOT also provides more regular connectivity to adventurers, travellers and workers when spending time outdoors or travelling in remote areas. The system allows users to check-in and share their locations with their contacts back home and even to post updates to Facebook or via Twitter. In life-threatening emergencies, users can send SOS messages with their GPS location to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Centre (IERCC). Find out more about how SPOT works
The Cotswolds – rural England at its very best
Quintessential English countryside? Nowhere epitomises this more perfectly than the beautiful landscapes of the Cotswolds, where picturesque thatched cottages of mellow golden stone nestle amid rolling hills topped with intriguing follies and grand country houses.
Walk here and discover England’s ‘green and pleasant land’, as you follow quiet, winding lanes and well-signed paths that link pretty villages and small, bustling market towns. This is the ideal place to slow down and relax, as you take things easy on a leisurely walking holiday with Inntravel along the border between Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
A four-night short break allows ample time to discover the area’s rich heritage and traditions – from the impeccable gardens at historic Hidcote Manor to the quirky ‘Olimpicks’ held every year near Chipping Campden – as well as its renowned gastronomy. Be warned – one of your two elegant and comfortable hotels hosts the famous Pudding Club, which you can join for a night of sheer indulgence! A real Cotswold Treat…
For more inspiration and ideas on walking holidays in the UK and further afield, see Inntravel’s 'Walking and more' brochure for 2012. Order a copy online or speak to one of their experts by calling 01653 617034.
The Ordesa National Park - Spanish Pyrenees
The dramatic canyons, high peaks and alpine meadows of the Ordesa National Park are an undisputed highlight of the Pyrenees. The park is home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna including a dozen varities of orchids, lammergeiers and golden eagles.
Hike Pyrenees show you the best the park has to offer from the famous cliff top paths to the undiscovered quiet corners missed by most visitors. Their dual level guided walking holidays have two guided walks to choose from each day. They provide maps and detailed route directions on their self guided holidays. Monte Perdido - the highest summit in the park - is the objective of their hut to hut Refugio Week.
Visit the Hike Pyrenees website to find out more or give them a call on +44 (0)208 123 5049.
Britain's Lost Routes
In a short BBC series that covers some of the themes we explore in our Pathways book, Griff Rhys Jones sets out to discover Britain’s ‘lost routes’. He travels on a drovers’ road in Scotland, follows the route of a royal procession from Windsor to Bristol, undertakes a pilgrimage to St David’s and takes a loaded barge up the Thames. It all looks quite fun and makes a nice complement to the routes in our own book, as our pilgrimage route is to Canterbury, our drovers’ road is in Wales and the story we have of royal processions is about the Mercian King Offa (he of the famous dyke). Overall the aim seems to be very similar to ours, which is to show how such routes shaped the history of our isles and what they meant to the people who travelled them.
The first in the series, Royal Progress, is at 8pm on Thursday 31st May, with the others at the same time on the following three Thursdays. Well worth catching.
SPANA, the charity for the working animals of the world, is calling on people to Stride Out this summer and hold a sponsored walk, cycle, horse ride or run in aid of the charity. People are invited to pick the Stride Out activity that best suits them and to choose the location, date and distance of their event. For those who wish to follow in the footsteps of working animals, a selection of Stride Out routes with animal connections is also on offer such as canal towpaths, drovers’ roads and bridleways. Funds raised from the events will help SPANA provide more free veterinary treatment for hardworking horses, donkeys, mules and other animals in some of the world’s poorest countries. For more information about how to hold your own Stride Out event and to register for your free fundraising pack full of ideas on how to make your event a success, visit www.spana.org/strideout or call 020 7831 3999.
Macmillan Cancer Support have a brand new programme of walks this year: Miles for Macmillan. It's part of a partnership with Boots to create inclusive walks which people of all abilities can take part in. For instance there’s a walk across the old Severn Bridge on 1st July with teams starting from both Newport and Aust, which sounds quite fun. There are lots of others all round the country.
Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) in Leatherhead is organising their first ever Ben Nevis Challenge Event between Saturday 29th September and Monday 1st October. The weekend starts on Saturday 29th Sept with a full briefing and 3 course meal at the 3-star Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club in Fort William. The hike to the top of Ben Nevis on Sunday should take around eight hours. Afterwards there’s another 3 course meal and full use of the spa facilities. Registration costs £49 and the minimum sponsorship requirement is £550. More information at www.ben-nevis.org.uk