Newsletter > Newsletter archive > December 2021

December 2021

Best wishes for 2022
Well, 2021 has been another strange year but we hope you have enjoyed getting out and about in the countryside, using Walkingworld as your trusty guide. We wish you all the best for 2022, when with luck things will begin to return to something approaching normality.

During the past year our contributors have continued to provide new routes and, where they can, get out to check on older ones. We are extremely grateful to those who have posted reports on changes to walks through the app. Hundreds of reports have been made. If you have yet to find this feature, there's a link at the bottom of every waymark to submit a report and even add a photo to illustrate what you have found.

We have had some wild weather already this winter - Walkingworld HQ in Cumbria was cut off by snow for a few days during Storm Arwen - and there will be some who are hoping for more snow in the hills so they can embark on a winter adventure. If this is something still beyond your comfort zone don't forget that there are lots of qualified outdoor instructors who can furnish you with the essential skills to tackle those hills with confidence. You'll need a bit more kit, including an ice axe and crampons. The team at specialist retailer Mad about Mountains provide some initial guidance on crampons below.

Walkers are Welcome in Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames has many claims to fame, not least the annual regatta. But also, unknown to most, it hosts the very first Walkingworld walk, ID 1. We plotted this route, which starts at Hambleden, just a short distance from the town, to check out the format we envisaged for our walks. The format, created way back in 1999, with its combination of OS grid reference, short text instruction and waymark picture, has stood the test of time. In those days GPS units were not widely used on land, so the latitudes and longitudes came a few years later.

If you enjoy exploring filming locations, Henley-on-Thames and its surrounding area has some genuine riches. It is an eclectic collection, including Midsomer Murders, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Vicar of Dibley, Killing Eve and many others. The Thames-side town is very attractive, with plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants and a museum dedicated to the river and rowing. It is also an excellent gateway to the Chiltern Hills, if you are looking more for tranquillity, views and wildlife. Villages like Stonor, Turville, Nettlebed and Hambleden itself are very picturesque and often come with a classic village pub. Visit the WalkHenley website

Thinking about crampons?
When it comes to crampons, the 'one size fits all' approach does not always apply! Crampons are normally graded C1, C2 and C3 although it is more useful to refer to them as C1 - strap-on (flexible), C2 - semi-automatic (semi-rigid or semi-flexible) and C3 - automatic (rigid).

Strap-on crampons (C1) have flexible plastic heel and toe baskets and can be 'strapped on' to a wide range of walking and mountaineering boots. They are designed for classic hillwalking on snow and ice. They normally have 8 or 10 short points and are less sharp or aggressive than the higher grades.

Semi-automatic crampons (C2) have a plastic toe basket and a lever locking function which locks the crampon onto the heel of the boot. As such, they are not suitable for boots without a solid heel counter. These crampons normally have 10 or 12 points and are more suited for general mountaineering, climbing or glacier travel. The points can be shorter or longer depending on the type of use and can have different orientations.

Automatic crampons (C3) are designed for stiff mountaineering or ice-climbing boots and have a toe-bail metal bar that matches with the toe welt of the boot and a lever locking function on the heel. These are designed to create a flatter platform and close fit on the boot. They normally have 12 or 14 points and are more suited to technical mountaineering and ice climbing. These crampons are not suitable for boots without toe welts.

It is also worth mentioning hybrid crampons and the new breed of modular crampons which have the ability to swap and interchange parts to suit any function in the mountains. Take care to get a good fit between boot and crampon and seek expert advice if required. Mad about Mountains

Walking in Slovenia
The folk at Walk Slovenia are blessed with a stunning location in the foothills of the Julian Alps. The company has taken the concept of the traditional skiing chalet break and adapted it to walking to offer an exceptional all-inclusive guided hiking experience. The walks can be adjusted to suit all levels and abilities, following paths through beautiful terrains including dramatic woodlands and wildflower meadows as well as upland alpine pastures and challenging mountain summits that take in some of Europe's most breathtaking views.

You can relax during your stay in the picturesque hotel Pri Lenart, winner of the Tripadvisor's Travellers' Choice Best of the Best award. Walk Slovenia pride themselves on always delighting guests and providing a truly unique experience. Take a look at the website or email to begin your walking adventure in Slovenia.

Outdoors First Aid
If anything goes awry while you are out walking it's good to know you have the skills to deal with an emergency. It might not even be your own companions, it could be someone you come across. John Webb of Embark2 is offering an accredited two day first aid course with a focus on the outdoors. It is based in Northumberland on the weekend of 14/15 March and is open to all Walkingworld members. The course is a very reasonable £65 per person. More information on the Embark2 website. You can contact John through the details at the bottom on each page on the site.