Friday, 20 May 2011

Pennine Way maps - advice please!

I've been putting a lot of thought lately into route finding and navigation along the way and what to take with me so I don't get lost. I am in several minds about this and would appreciate input from anyone who has done the Pennine Way.

I'm an old fashioned girl and I have a strong emotional attachment to OS maps of all scales. I feel at home with them, they feel like familiar old friends and the thought of setting out on a walk without one makes me go all wobbly at the knees. My navigation skills with a map and compass are pretty good so I've no worries about that. When I was looking at new GPS technology last year I opted for the undoubtedly expensive Satmap Active 10 because it uses OS mapping on varying scales.

Basically it comes with a 1:250,000 map of the UK and you buy SD cards separately loaded with 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 maps of the areas that you specifically want and use often. These mapcards aren't cheap but Satmap often have special offers so if you keep an eye on your email you can pick them up more cheaply.

It's taken me a long while to get to grips with the Satmap but I've persevered and I'm getting there. I've got the Pennine Way mapcard which has the whole route on it at 1:25000 and 1:50000. Of course I appreciate that a GPS needs power and I've got the rechargeable kit for it and because I'm staying at a B&B or YHA each night, I should be able to keep it charged up. I know that I can't rely exclusively on technology though.

I also have both the Cicerone guide to the Pennine Way and the National Trails North and South Pennine way books, all of which have strip maps and route details in them. I hope that all of this, along with the Pennine Way signposts will keep me on track.

The question for me is 'is this going to be enough?' I can't help feeling uneasy at the thought of going out onto the hills without a paper OS map (I'll have a compass with me) in my pocket. It just won't feel right to me. That is balanced with the thought of having to buy all 9 of them (£14 a time) and carry them - although I can post them back and forth along the route.

Do any of you who have experience of routefinding on the Pennine Way have an opinion on this?
  • What is the signposting on the route like?
  • Are the strip maps in the books good enough if the GPS packs up (as sods law dictates it will!)
  • I'll be walking in July so there will be plenty of daylight but I'm well aware that some of the route is at high level and subject to the usual mist and fog which could make routefinding a challenge.
I'm not going to compromise on safety but neither do I want to spend £150 if I don't really need to. Dilemma!

Do I need to carry the OS maps or will the GPS and the strip maps be enough coupled with the signposts?

Any advice would be gratefully received.Thanks in advance!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Alan Sloman's 'Wake for the Wild'

On Tuesday 17th May I will be joining Alan Sloman and what we hope will be lots of like minded people who will walk up to the site of the proposed wind 'power station' on Dunmaglass estate. We will carry a coffin with us to represent the death of the wild land in Scotland which is being desecrated in the name of sustainable energy.

I have written before on what I regard as the rape of the land by those who stand to gain financially and politically from the proliferation of large scale onshore wind power stations and on Tuesday I will get off my arse and stand up to be counted as one who mourns the loss of a valuable Scottish asset.

Wild places feed us and renew us and we glory in the splendid isolation that they provide to us.

John Muir said:

'In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks'

John Muir died knowing that he had failed to stop the Californian powers that be flooding Hetch Hetchy valley to provide water for the coastal cities. Today there is a growing campaign to reverse that decision. It comes under the category 'what the hell were we thinking'..... What would he say if he could see what we are doing to his precious homeland?

If any of you are free - please join us on Tuesday. The walk will be divided into two parts and those who are less able can leave us early on and we will continue on up the hill.
Contact me or Alan Sloman for information and timings etc.