Newsletter > Newsletter archive > October 2014

October 2014

Our love of viewpoints
As autumn brings us its spectacular technicolour display many of us instinctively reach for our cameras and do our level best to capture the exquisite scenery in front of our eyes. The digital camera has meant that we can take hundreds of images at almost no cost, so there’s nothing to stop us snapping away. Even with all this bounty it’s rare to view a picture when we get back home and feel that it has encapsulated the scene in all its original glory.

Of course there’s nothing new about our desire for a heightened depiction of the natural world. Since the 18th century, when notions of Romanticism started to infiltrate our relationship with the landscape, artists and writers have been striving to do justice to the scenery experienced on their journeys around our isles. We may smile sometimes at the rather blatant exaggerations in the landscape art, poetry and prose of the 18th and 19th centuries, but the reality is that the same ideas pervade the way we look at the outdoors today. We still make for the viewpoints marked on the OS maps, just as travellers two centuries ago made their way to the viewing ‘stations’ suggested in their guidebooks. We have also absorbed many of the ‘rules’ of good composition and framing established in those eras, almost without being aware of it. A few of us are even guilty of tweaking the colour and contrast of an image in Photoshop.

In a short article on our love of viewpoints, David Stewart explores the history of the Romantic ideal in landscape painting and how it got transferred into Victorian walking guides and activities. Meanwhile, if you have taken a brilliant shot on your own ventures, there’s an opportunity to enter it into a great Inntravel competition – see below.

Present ideas
It’s possibly a good time to remind you that a gift subscription to Walkingworld can make a superb Christmas present for any lover of the outdoors. A gift subscription costs the same as a standard one – just £18 – and the person you have given it to can activate it at any time. So many recipients, for instance, wait until the spring before starting it. More information about gift subscriptions

We’ve got a handful of our Pathways books to sell at the knockdown price of £9.50 (including post and packing to mainland UK). The book by Walkingworld founders Nicholas Rudd-Jones and David Stewart takes a loving look at the paths and tracks used throughout history, from ancient processional routes and pilgrimages, through drovers’ and packhorse trails to more modern promenades and long distance paths, with a bit of smuggling and poaching thrown in. It’s a proper hardback book and has some nice pictures too!

Win a self-guided walking holiday in the Canary Islands
Our friends at Inntravel are offering one lucky winner the chance to explore the Canyons, Caves & Coast of Gran Canaria in a fabulous photo competition. All you have to do is submit your own special ‘moment of discovery’, captured in an evocative image and accompanied by up to 70 words. It could be from a recent holiday or simply around where you live.

All entries are being added to a ‘Moments Gallery’ on the Inntravel website, and a shortlist of eight will be exhibited at Inntravel’s Discovery Day in Harrogate on Saturday 6 December. The winner will be announced by acclaimed landscape photographer Joe Cornish, and the short-listed entries will be displayed at his wonderful gallery in North Yorkshire during January 2015. Find out how to enter

For those of you in or around Yorkshire, why not go along and experience Inntravel’s Discovery Day in Harrogate on 6 December? At this free event you can mingle with hoteliers, tourist boards and other experts from across Europe to get an insider’s view of Inntravel’s many enticing holiday destinations. (The event is almost full, but there are still some tickets left, particularly for the morning session.)

For full details of how to enter the ‘Moments’ photographic competition – or to reserve your place at Discovery Day – visit The Slow Lane, Inntravel’s online magazine or call 01653 617034.

Canyons, Caves & Coast of Gran Canaria
- Self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday with your luggage transported
- Prize includes 7 nights’ accommodation for two people including breakfast every day, 5 dinners,
3 picnics, plus flights from the UK and transfers
- Prize must be taken 3 January-31 May 2015 – see Inntravel website for full details

Alpujarra walking holidays with writer Chris Stewart
“A superb holiday” David C, Oct 2014.

As a walking holiday destination, the Alpujarra (south of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia) is unsurpassed. And who better to guide you than Chris Stewart, author of best-seller ‘Driving Over Lemons’? He’ll take you on his favourite walks, invite you to lunch at his farm (as featured in Rick Stein’s BBC series ‘Spain’), and entertain you with many stories about life in the Alpujarra. 

Further highlights of this holiday include day-long walks exploring the western Alpujarra, a hike in the high Sierras and a day in the Moorish city of Granada including an unforgettable degustaciĆ³n lunch. For the week you will be based at Casa Ana, a stylish guest house in the Trevelez valley. Delicious gourmet dinners are provided at Casa Ana with the region’s most celebrated chef, plus some local ham, cheese and wine tastings.

The next holidays with Chris Stewart take place 18 – 25 April and 9 – 16 May 2015. The price is from £945 including 7 nights B&B, picnics, lunches and dinners, wines, excursions, local transport and guides. For further details contact Anne Hunt at or visit the Casa Ana website.

Fancy a bit of hands-on archaeology?
The Wessex Academy for Field Archaeology (WAFA) started out as an idea from the Wessex branch of the Council for British Archaeology in early 2013. It was felt that many of those who have a fascination with archaeology would love to to get involved in its practicalities, but without committing to a long and expensive course. By joining one the WAFA day schools it’s possible to learn how to ‘read’ landscapes, recognise ancient finds and even to do a bit of proper archaeological digging.

The project is based at Ash Farm, near Stourpaine in Dorset. Although it is surrounded by archaeological sites, Ash Farm, with the exception of a reference to a Domesday settlement and a couple of Saxon coins, is essentially a blank canvas. The project will reveal, by systematically using all the available techniques of investigation, what lies hidden at the farm. It should be fascinating. The autumn programme starts in November with courses typically costing around £50 a day.

How to get really involved in the Lake District
Here’s a job opportunity that won’t appeal to everyone, but for the right person it could be a dream come true. The Lake District National Park is looking for a Fell Top Assessor, someone to walk to the summit of Helvellyn every day for a week and check the weather readings and conditions at the top. From December to Easter, a team of two work alternate weeks for the Weatherline service. Long-standing assessor Jon Bennett needs a ‘running mate’ to brave driving rain, snow drifts and wind chill temperatures plummeting to minus 16C. For Jon this has been his ‘dream job’ for eight years, saying ‘it’s awesome being the eyes and ears of Helvellyn’. It’s a paid job and applications are sought from those with considerable winter experience on the fells.

Meanwhile, at a slightly less extreme level, a new four-minute film set in the Lake District highlights how The John Muir Award promotes adventure and understanding of spectacular landscapes. It’s designed to show how teachers, pupils, volunteers and staff benefit from the John Muir Trust’s approach to exploration and education. The film includes a rather cute animation of John Muir, the late, great explorer who campaigned for the first national parks and whose love of caring for wild places lives on through the award scheme.