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News from the World of Walking

Find a Bluebell Wood near you

bluebell wood pathThere is something magical about walking through a peaceful wood with shafts of sunlight highlighting a misty sea of pale blue covering the woodland floor. For a short period in April and May nature treats us to one of its many spectacular artistic palettes, following on from the golden daffodils.

If you want to experience the pleasure of walking in some of the UK’s finest bluebell woods the Woodland Trust have compiled a list which you will find at the following link.
https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/things-to-do/walking/bluebell-woods/

bluebell sceneThe Woodland Trust are also attempting to compile a comprehensive location map of bluebells and are asking the public to help by recording places where they have found significant displays. If you have your own favourite local bluebell wood then you can check if they are included, and if not add them to the map. From this map you can also identify places near you where there are bluebell displays. To do this visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/bluebellwatch

 

Clare Balding talks about walking a Tea Trail on Radio 4

Isaac's Tea TrailIsaac’s Tea Trail is a long distance path of just over 36 miles. Launched in 2002 it was inspired by the tale of Isaac Holden, an itinerant tea seller who, in Victorian times, was a familiar figure on the rough tracks over Allendale Common and Alston Moor.

Recently Clare Balding walked a section of Isaac's Tea Trail between Ninebanks and Keenley for Radio 4's Ramblings programme. This will be broadcast on Thursday 23rd March 2017and will be repeated on Saturday 25th March 2017. Both Clare and the programme producer appeared well pleased with the walk, although the rumour is they didn’t manage to sell any tea. Clare is, of course, a keen walker and it will be fascinating to hear her thoughts of the route and of the philanthropist Isaac Holden. Well worth tuning in to listen.

The Trail begins in Allendale at a stone well Isaac Holden had installed in 1849 to provide clean drinking water, a facility which was important at the time to prevent cholera outbreaks. His good works are also remembered with a memorial in the churchyard, providing further evidence of his local fame and esteem as a charity fundraiser. More than 600 people paid to erect this monument to Holden’s “untiring diligence in originating works of charity and public usefulness”, which included a penny savings bank, chapels, a clothing fund.

Follow the Trail and discover the hidden heritage of the North Pennines, including Isaac Holden. You will follow riverside paths, through farmland to the open moorland with fell-top views.

The Trail, fully described in a guidebook by Roger Morris, has been divided into four manageable sections as follows:
Allendale to Nenthead - 11.25 miles
Nenthead to Alston - 5.5 miles
Alston to Ninebanks - 11.75 miles
Ninebanks to Allenhead - 7.75 miles

If you would like to purchase the guidebook here is the link:
http://www.walkingbooks.co.uk/acatalog/Isaac-s-Tea-Trail-1608.html

Further information about Isaac's Tea Trail on our website here

There is an article about the Isaac’s Tea trail on the Guardian website. The link is:
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/nov/22/mark-landscape-itinerant-tea-seller-country-diary

 

CumbriaTwo of our National Parks are Expanding

Some wonderful news was DEFRA’s October announcement of extensions to two of our National Parks, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Lake District National Park - the new boundary will include an additional area of land totalling approximately 27 square miles currently part of Cumbria.
To the east an area from Birkbeck Fells Common to Whinfell Common
To the south an area from Helsington Barrows to Sizergh Fell, an area north of Sizergh Castle and part of the Lyth valley.

Yorkshire Dales National Park - the new boundary will include an additional area of land totalling approximately 161 square miles, again situated in Cumbria and, for the first time, an area of Lancashire.
To the north parts of the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild Boar Fell, and Mallerstang
To the south Barbon, Casterton and Leck fells, the River Lune and part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the River Lune.

One interesting result of this is that the two National Parks are now kissing each other across the M6 in the Lune Valley. This is crying out for a new long distance path to traverse and explore these new delightful areas.

Natural England say that these new areas amount to the most significant addition to England’s National Parks since the confirmation of the South Downs in 2009. Natural England began work in 2009 to look at whether the boundaries should be changed. Detailed assessments were made of the areas, which used the 3 criteria for National Park status: the natural beauty of the proposed extensions; the opportunities that they provide for open-air recreation, and the desirability of looking after them as National Parks. Impact assessments also helped identify the environmental, social, economic and recreational impacts that designation would be likely to bring.

Natural England are to be congratulated for their perseverance and an enlightened decision in recommending these changes to DEFRA. Many thanks also to Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of state for signing the Confirmation Orders on 23 October 2015. Fantastic!

For maps of the Lake District Boundary changes click below
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lake-district-national-park-maps-of-confirmed-boundary-changes

For maps of the Yorkshire Dales Boundary changes click below
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/yorkshire-dales-national-park-maps-of-confirmed-boundary-changes

 

Wild - A Journey from Lost to Found - by walking

Wild film posterIn 1995, Cheryl Strayed aged 26 decided to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone, as a way to heal herself, following her divorce, the death of her mother, and years of reckless, destructive behaviour. She had no experience of trail walking and backpacking or the outdoors. At times the journey was traumatic, but by the end of her trek she had developed a love for the wilderness and found the strength to turn her life around. In 2012 she published a book about her life changing experience entitled Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found, which became a best-seller.

Now there is a new film about this adventure where Cheryl Strayed is played by Reese Witherspoon. The film opens in the UK on 16th January and has received generally good reviews in the US and will definitely appeal to long distance walkers who will associate with the highs and lows of long distance hiking portrayed in the film. Anyone who has completed a continuous long distance walk will know the sense of elation and personal achievement upon completion despite any hardships along the way.

The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometres) from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. It reveals the beauty of the desert, unfolds the glaciated expanses of the Sierra Nevada, travels deep forests, and provides commanding vistas of volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range. Most people only walk a section of the trail, but amazingly many through hikers complete every mile in a single season. For further information about the Pacific Crest Trail visit the website: http://www.pcta.org/

PrimaloftPrimaLoft Wins OWPG Derryck Draper Award 2014

An industry-changing technology that marries the best qualities of synthetic and natural insulating materials to keep mountaineers, explorers and other outdoor enthusiasts warm through the winter has won the prestigious Derryck Draper Award for Innovation.

At the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild’s annual dinner on October 25, PrimaLoft’s performance Down Blend was named as the 2014 winner of the award that recognises innovation in outdoor products. The award is named in honour of OWPG founder member and past chairman Derryck Draper, who died in December, 2004.

The engraved crystal glass Derryck Draper Award was presented by OWPG guild chairman Jonathan Williams, and received on behalf of PrimaLoft by Chris Humphris, the company’s European sales manager. Chris said: “We are delighted to receive the 2014 Derryck Draper Award for our PrimaLoft Performance Down Blends. The vision was to combine the best properties of both down and synthetic insulations with the goal of providing ultimate comfort solutions that consumers love to own. That’s why PrimaLoft is especially proud of receiving this award, because innovation is at the heart of our brand mission.”

Down Blend is a unique hybrid insulation combining engineered down with PrimaLoft’s industry leading microfiber. It marries functional, durable, water-resistant down with ultra-fine, high-performance PrimaLoft fibres to offer warmth, protection and comfort no matter what the conditions, as well as outstanding drying times. It features the characteristic loft associated with quality insulation materials.

Panel judge Graham Thompson said: “The down and synthetic mix is potentially a huge game-changer. It is a major development that will have a wide influence within the outdoor industry and, from a practical point of view, the product is actually useful! In terms of innovation, Down Blend stood head and shoulders above everything else this year.”

The judges noted PrimaLoft’s environmentally responsible approach: PrimaLoft Performance Down Blend’s production is independently Bluesign certified with regard to consumer safety, air and water emissions, health and safety, energy resources and more. Sources of down are monitored by the IDFL (International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory) and the EDFA (European Down & Feather Association).

The down is treated with a patented fluorocarbon-free chemistry process to make it permanently water repellent and breathable. Unlike untreated down, which collapses when wet and loses much of its insulation value, the treated down retains its structure when wet, keeping the wearer warm and dry even in snowy or rainy weather. It is then bonded with ultra-fine PrimaLoft fibres to provide additional robustness, hydrophobic benefits and enhanced drying times.

Down Blend is available in two grades, Gold and Silver. Gold blends 70% goose down and 30% Primaloft ultra-fine fibres, while Silver features 60% white duck down and 40% Primaloft ultra-fine fibres.
Further information http://www.primaloft.com/insulation

New National Forest Way

National Forest WayThe new National Forest Way long distance trail will take walkers on a journey through a Landscape which is being transformed. Across 75 miles of footpaths from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire, you will discover the story of The National Forest. The National Forest Way was officially launched on Saturday 17 May 2014 at Conkers Waterside.
For further information about the trail visit the new website www.nationalforestway.co.uk

New National Trails Website

The new National Trails website was officially launched on 13th January 2014. The website url is www.nationaltrail.co.uk The new website is designed to provide a one-stop resource for walkers looking for information about any of the National Trails of England and Wales. It has been developed by a partnership between Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Walk Unlimited who have developed the site. One of the really useful features of the new site is the use of OS Explorer mapping, allowing walkers to see the trails in detail. The maps include tourist information so planning visits to nearby attractions and facilities is helpfully made easy.

It will be possible to download recommended walking itineraries and there are ideas for tailored outings such as geocaching trails.  New interactive features mean that local businesses can upload details of the services they provide to walkers visiting the area. This includes how to get there and where to stay, what to see and where to eat, and where to find facilities such as outdoor equipment shops. This all means that the website can be used with ease to plan the best exploration of our National Trails.

Another great feature is that Trail users and local residents can upload content including photographs, word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews, plus details of visitor events. Together they give an insider’s view on National Trails, from where to eat fabulous ice cream, to where to see spectacular views, find hidden treasures and spot wonderful wildlife. They can even use the site to report any relevant ‘breaking news’ issues – making the website a topical, as well as useful, resource for planning your Trail visit.

Sir Chris Bonington appointed as president of the OWPG

Sir Chris BoningtonSir Chris, regarded as Britain’s foremost mountaineer and who famously led the 1975 expedition which saw the first British ascents of Everest has been elected as president of the OWPG. He succeeds the prolific author Roly Smith, who has retired from the position of president after 12 years.

Sir Chris was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1976 in recognition for his leadership of the previous year’s successful British Everest expedition. In 1985, as a member of a Norwegian expedition, he stood on top of Everest himself. He was knighted in 1996 for his services to mountaineering.

He is patron and former president of the British Mountaineering Council, and in 2008 was presented with the OWPG’s Golden Eagle award for services to the outdoors. He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2010 Birthday Honours for services to the Outward Bound Trust.

The Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild has over 160 members who are all actively and professionally involved in a broad spectrum of outdoor media and include journalists, authors, filmmakers, photographers, publishers, editors and more. The guild promotes excellence within its fields of speciality by presenting annual awards and organising professional development. Many of the walking guide books available from our bookshop are written by Guild members and we are proud to be promoting and selling their excellent work.

 

 

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