Newsletter > Newsletter archive > April 2018

April 2018

'Walking Roots' - Viking invasion
This month, as we continue our 'Walking Roots' project exploring the evolution of local paths and tracks, we reach the age of the 'Vikings'. Up here in Northern England, Norse settlers infiltrated the fertile Eden Valley and, it would seem, began to make greater use of the uplands.

Much of the evidence for their colonisation of the fells for summer pasture comes from the study of place names. Norse words, even 'fell' itself, are found in abundance all across our upland areas.

The Norse people also left a stone representation of their trickster god, Loki, in the church at Kirkby Stephen. One of the last of their kings, the gloriously named Eric Bloodaxe, came to an unfortunate end on the remote trans-Pennine pass at Stainmore.

You can read about how the Norse took over from the earlier Cumbrian kingdom of Rheged, and what that might have meant for pathways in our upland dale, in our latest 'Walking Roots' blog post.

Urban Rambles
In a newly released guide Nicholas Rudd-Jones, co-author of our 'Pathways' book and co-founder of Walkingworld, has turned his attention to walking in our urban environment. In 'Pathways' we tackled city walks in London and on the Brighton seafront but overall the emphasis was more on the history of our rural ways. In 'Urban Rambles' Nicholas focuses on English cities, almost all of which have become much more walker friendly in the last decade or so.

Urban Rambles brings you inspiring routes in twenty English cities, from London and Exeter to York and Newcastle. Going for a walk has to be the best way to get under the skin of a city and can take you to some surprisingly quiet and green places as well as the more vibrant quarters. It might be an opportunity to rediscover your nearest city or give you an excuse for a break in another part of the country. The book is out now, both online and in booksellers.

The quiet side of Tuscany
For this spring, summer and autumn, Inntravel have introduced a new walking holiday revealing the lesser-known side of one of Italy's best-loved and most beautiful regions. Timeless and tranquil, La Maremma has all the qualities that have made Tuscany famous - medieval villages, rolling olive groves and fields of sunflowers - but none of the crowds.

Starting at an idyllic country hotel surrounded by ancient trees and wild flowers, the route gently crosses the region's unspoiled interior, pausing at two high-quality agriturismi before reaching the glorious Bay of Baratti. The walking is leisurely, but there's a real sense of journey as you meander from the broad Tuscan plains to the sparkling waters of the Ligurian Sea.

For more details on Inntravel's walking holidays in Italy, see or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.

Etruscan Hills to the Sea
- Hotel-to-hotel, self-guided walking holiday
- Prices from £998pp, inc 7 nights' B&B accommodation, 5 dinners, detailed route notes & maps
- Flights extra (direct from several UK regional airports)
Spectacular though it is, La Maremma's natural beauty is far from the only thing the region has to offer. History waits around every corner, whether in the form of medieval towns and villages such as Campiglia Marittima and Suvereto or extensive archaeological sites where you can learn about the area's Etruscan past. In true Italian fashion, the cuisine is also excellent - expect fresh, local produce and robust red wines.

Summer walking in Slovenia
Summer is the perfect time to discover the natural beauty of Slovenia. You can enjoy peace, tranquillity, good company and plenty of hiking opportunities, with an all-inclusive guided walking holiday at Pri Lenart Hotel - a historic building, with plenty of modern luxuries. Home to some of the most beautiful walking routes in Europe, Slovenia covers a variety of terrains, including woodland, high hills, meadows and mountain ascents, offering incredible scenery along the way.

The 2018 season runs from 21 April - 13 October, with some fantastic low prices available for breaks in June, July and August. Starting from just £895, prices cover everything from accommodation and guided walks, to food and drinks.

For a luxury walking holiday, the Pri Lenart Hotel offers a walkers paradise. To find out more visit the Walk Slovenia website or call +386 41 650 321.

Filtered water on the go
Time was, if you found yourself thirsty on a walk, you'd take a drink from a running stream without too much thought of the risks - you might check there wasn't a dead sheep just upstream. Today we take those risks rather more seriously, particularly when abroad. While trekking in Nepal, we took a water filtration bottle to make water from village pumps and guesthouse taps safe to drink, and it worked well. However it was fairly bulky and not something you'd take on normal day's walk.

These last few weeks we have been trying out a filtration system that is much easier to slip into a small rucksack. The BeFree by Katadyn is a collapsible drink bottle with the filter in the head. The water container rolls up quite small when not in use. Fill it up from your chosen water source, screw the cap back on and you can squeeze water straight into your mouth. The flow rate is surprisingly good so we found drinking straight from the bottle is perfectly fine. It is very easy to clean ready for next use.

The BeFree filters pretty much everything apart from viruses, which are less of a concern in most UK and European water sources. The BeFree is available in 600ml, 1L and 3L versions, from around £35 if you shop around. We're carrying ours (the 600ml version) whenever we're out in the hills simply because it cuts down on the water we have to carry from the outset.

Walking in Cazorla
Jim Arymar has updated the information on the website about walking in Cazorla. The Sierra de Cazorla is a spectacular part of Andalucia, a Natural Park and the biggest natural wild region in Spain. The highest point is Pico Empanada at just over 2100m.

The park is full of lakes, reservoirs and rivers, along with open grassy areas or 'navas' which provide grazing for the ibex, red and roe deer. It is, according to Jim, a 'bird spotter's paradise'. There are ten Walkingworld walks in the park, so plenty for a good walking holiday in spring or autumn when the temperatures are cooler.   

On the 12 May you can kick-start your summer with a 9 mile sponsored walk for Parkinsons UK to the summit of Snowdon. The route takes the Llanberis Path route to the summit of Snowdon. All walkers receive a 'Walk for Parkinson's' T-shirt, a fundraising pack, support with training and a finisher's medal. Registration fee £10 for adults, £5 for under 16s. Suggested sponsorship £50.

Blind Veterans UK have two 100K events coming up. 100K London to Brighton is on 7-8 July, walking from the capital to the coast, crossing the North and South Downs, and finishing by the sea at the charity's Brighton centre. 100K Yorkshire on the 23-24 June goes all through the day and into the night, starting and finishing at Darley Memorial Hall in Nidderdale. You'll pass through Brimham Rocks, Ripley Castle and apparently a lot of fields!

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival returns from April 28 to May 13, with a wide choice of themed walks. Walks featured in the packed programme for this year include both guided walks and self-guided trails. Most walks are free, although some walk leaders request a donation for their chosen charity. The longest and toughest of all is the world-famous Walk the Wight, on Sunday, May 13. The largest sponsored walk of its kind in Europe, the Earl Mountbatten Hospice's Walk the Wight features a collection of four walks and distances, including the Full Walk of 26.5 miles from Bembridge to Alum Bay.