Blog updates are only on an
"ad hoc" basis when I have something to say and will not be
particularly regular. Latest entries first.
been a funny old year. Covid/Omicron dominate all the news. I have been
tripple jabbed so like to think I am immune (but probably aren't!). I am
unable to understand the mentality of those who will not get jabbed, both
for their own sake and to protect others. I am doing my bit to support the
local pubs and any that happen to be conveniently placed on my travels.
finished an exercise on this site which involved going through every walk
(there are now 370 of them!), I realised just how scarily long it is since I
did some of them, which seem like yesterday. My way of writing the walks has
evolved and in the introductions, I now give much more information about
places than in the early days. I suppose in an ideal world, I would revise
the earlier ones but it is unlikely to happen!
I am running
down the paid advert section of the Accommodation pages of the site and by
April 2022, all the last adverts and the section will be removed. I have
given all those that were advertising a free year as a thank you and to help
with the Covid crisis, although I think 2021 has probably been something of
a boom year for accommodation in this country. I decided to stop accepting
paid advertising because then there is an obligation to advertisers, both to
keep the site going and to make any changes they need. I am not getting any
younger and should I turn up my toes, that leaves others with problems to
resolve. I was offered a relatively large amount of money to host an
non-accommodation advert for a period, which was tempting but I managed to
resist. I now rely on the commission from Google adverts and sales of Amazon
products, to fund the site, so keeping the walks free. I was never going to
be rich from the adverts anyway!
created a new section giving away free Happy Hiker calendars in landscape
and portrait formats. It is so easy to suddenly need a calendar for the
following year, then find they have all been snapped up. It has happened to
me lots of times. They are PDFs so you can print of all or particular pages
as required. I hope to produce some for 2023 later. At least then you will
know my toes are still turned down! I hope they are of use.
I hope all
visitors to this site have a great Christmas. At least we have been spared
lockdown for it but who knows what will happen afterwards.
I see having
promised to "level up" and provide HS2 to Leeds and giving us
Northern Powerhouse Rail, the Government have now reneged on all that. HS2,
will not now be coming to the east of the Pennines, so disadvantaging Leeds.
Even more galling is to find out that the man who dreamt up HS2 intended
Leeds/Manchester/Birmingham to be the hub of the system with the London link
being described as a "useful branch line". So, we now know that
HS2 has started in London with the "useful branch line" to
Birmingham getting priority.
We also learn
this week that Northern Powerhouse Rail has been virtually cancelled, with a
piecemeal upgrade being promised instead, to the particular disadvantage of
Bradford, who are left out in the cold as the largest city in England not to
have a major rail link.
Is there any
wonder people do not believe they can trust anything politicians say?
feeling leveled up, the North just gets economically leveled! 'Twas ever
5 October 2021
I have been approached by a Harrogate based
charity who enable people with disabilities to access and enjoy the
countryside who also produce Audio Walks. I do not normally print other
people's articles but this seems a worthwhile cause and its in Yorkshire!
Open Country's Audio Walks
'There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes' so the age old saying goes. But as the autumn approaches and the weather starts to turn, there will no doubt be some days to come where long walks in the Dales or Moors will have to be put on hold.
But how do you get your countryside fix when the rain is lashing down and the wind threatens to steal your map from your grasp? By bringing the outdoors indoors with
Open Country's Audio
A 'Covid creation', we began recording and sharing Audio Walks during the first lockdown, mainly for our members and volunteers who were missing our countryside activities. In normal times we lead up to 15 activities a week to help people with a disability to access and enjoy the countryside in North and West Yorkshire. We soon realised the Audio Walks had a broader appeal to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and not just local people.
The recordings are between 20 and 25 minutes long and provide an aural snapshot of the sights, sounds, smells and experiences of a wander through a Yorkshire landscape. There are over 30 to choose from on the Open Country website, featuring places such as Bolton Abbey, Newmillerdam in Wakefield, Otley Chevin and Eavestone Lake near Brimham Rocks. They are recorded by one of our Countryside Activities Officers, Tom, who's wonderful Yorkshire lilt and intonations lend a sense of mindfulness to the recordings. He has an enchanting way of describing the scenes in front of him, enabling you to create a picture in your mind of his adventures.
One of the latest audio walks sees Tom in the most visited spots within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Always a fan of walking next to water, Tom enjoys a sensory wander along the River Wharfe from Bolton Bridge to Bolton Abbey. He also touches on the history, ecology and the wildlife along the way. The question is... does Tom do the stepping stones or does he opt for the bridge? You'll have to listen to the Audio Walk to find out!
So this winter, when the cold wind blows and the rain lashes down, you can enjoy a wildlife walk from the comfort of your sofa and get inspiration for your next adventure into the Yorkshire countryside.
received a nice email this week from someone who had done one of my walks
thanking me etc. They had obviously enjoyed the walk. They went on to say
that they did not have a map but because my directions were "spot
on", they had not had any problems. Obviously I am pleased that they
found their way and that my directions were accurate However,
I would not recommend relying on my descriptive directions, or indeed
anybody elseís, on their own. It is difficult to put oneself in the mind
of all readers and different people can read the same directions in
different ways, although I do my best to make mine Ďuniversalí. Also,
some descriptions can seem a little sparse and some might contain errors. I
would never claim that my own are infallible although I do my best. Also, as
I found in relation to one of my own walks recently, routes change and the
up to date map is different to the one I had used a few years ago when I did
all those reasons, I urge everyone to carry a 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map
covering the area in which they are walking. It will help resolve any
queries which crop up and in some circumstances could be a lifesaver, e.g.
if you had to shorten a walk for some reason and were looking for an escape
(?) to injuring my ankle yesterday, I have been unable to go on a planned
walk today, so I have finished off the conversion of all the dynamic OS maps
to the new system. Phew! Some walks to write up, then attack the photo issue
- see below.
exercise to switch the dynamic Ordnance Survey maps over to the new system
is almost complete. Only Devon remains and I anticipate this being completed
within the next week. It has been hard going, as the exercise requires a lot
of concentration. With time for holidays and other needs taken out the net
result is that I now have a number of walks to write up, which will be the
other news, I have discovered that a number of photos can be displayed on
newer iPads with their orientation switched. Some investigation suggests
that this is due to EXIF data (of which I had never previously heard of)
stored on the photo files. It is quite easy to delete this and on one photo
where I have tried it, this seems to resolve the problem. The difficulty of
course is the number of photos involved! As I write there are 360 walks on
the site which means visiting each walk folder to make the correction! If
you are lucky enough to have a newer iPad and find this is an issue, holding
your finger on the offending photo will probably correct it for viewing.
become aware of another site offering free Ordnance Survey route planning
software. I had a quick play with this without looking at any of the
instructional videos and found it pretty intuitive. For details, see GPS
through the updating of the OS maps on each of my walks. Quite hard going
because of the need to concentrate of cutting and pasting exactly the
correct coding, a) to centralise the map, b) to indicate the start point and
c) insert the file name of the relevant .gpx file which informs the route
line. Three areas are complete and the next ongoing. So far 121 have been
done with 'only' another 237 to go! This means there are a total of 358
walks on the site now - which is quite a lot really! It will take as long as
it takes. I like to think I have a life too!
get emails from people who have done my routes with pleasant comments and
everyone mostly seems to find the directions easy to follow, which was the
object of the exercise.
day out yesterday in the Yorkshire Dales from Ribblehead climbing Park Fell
and Simon Fell. Perfect walking conditions. Never been up these hills
before. Could be used as an ascent for Ingleborough though having been up
there many times, I stopped short to descend the "steps" to the
B6255 before circling round under Ribblehead viaduct. The "steps"
are quite a challenge! Very busy at Ribblehead but no matter if you know
where to park! I will be adding the route to the website in due course.
through the updating of the Dynamic OS maps, as detailed below. It is hard
going because the entries have to be spot on. By the time I have done 10/12,
I am bog eyed! Still, I have now done about 50, starting with the Yorkshire
Dales. Only about 300 to go! Apart from a few recent walks, I have started
with 'A' in the Yorkshire Dales and will progress through the rest of them
before moving on to another area.
12 months or so of pretty miserable news, one positive has been a resolution
of a problem, which would have caused all the OS maps displayed for my walks
to disappear round about Autumn 2021, because my IT knowledge was not up to
the job of understanding Ordnance Survey's new system. Thanks to a selfless
bit of help, from someone who understands the computer coding involved, the
problem now seems to be solved.
this day in 1936, a group of surveyors gathered around a white concrete
pillar in a field in Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire, and began the
retriangulation of Great Britain. Happy 85th anniversary to these relics
which are extremely useful for walkers. Itís all satellites now!
received a complaint yesterday from the resident at a farm that walkers had
been trespassing on their land and on enquiry, she discovered they were
using my walking directions! When I looked into the matter, it transpires
that since I did the walk, the official footpath route has changed. I was
able to verify this by checking my original map with the current one. The
lady concerned very kindly provided a corrective paragraph which I have
inserted in the instructions and corrected the maps.
routes sometimes do change, notably to divert walkers from the traditional
route through farmyards. I don't mind this, if the diversion does not add
greatly to the distance, as many farmyards can be a little "messy"
to walk through. However, I do not regularly re-walk my routes because there
are too many and they are too geographically spread. I cannot therefore be
aware of changes unless someone lets me know. If you do, some indication as
to exactly which part of the instructions are outdated and some replacement
wording would be appreciated.
this way, the instructions can be kept relevant for everyone.
personal reasons, I have decided to discontinue accepting direct adverts
from advertisers. These primarily relate to accommodation. As an Amazon Associate I
earn a commission from qualifying purchases plus fees for the insertion of
Google adverts and this income will contribute towards the costs of the
website and incidental costs. I also donate
to charity occasionally, most recently to the Just Giving page for the
Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team member who suffered life changing injuries,
whilst on a "shout" to rescue someone who should not have been on
the fells at all during the Covid lockdown! The rescued person was one of
two campers who were subsequently fines £200 each for breaching lockdown.
The remainder of the site will remain the
same and I will continue to add walks, assuming the pandemic rules allow
greater wandering eventually. It seems to have been a long haul!
On the plus side, I have had my first Covid
jab with no ill effects at all and have some new summer walking boots to
happyhiker.co.uk has now been in existence for 10 years. It seems like
yesterday when I tried to follow walk directions in a well known newspaper,
which were rubbish and thought surely I can do better. An element of conceit
perhaps. At any rate I decided to have a go and after some stumbling around
what is now some very ancient software, I managed to put something together.
I have learned a very small amount about websites but the mysteries of
coding remain impenetrable. The website seems to have been a success judging
from the lovely emails I receive and people seem to find my directions easy
to follow and accurate. There has been the odd query or suggestion and I
always reply and consider whether any improvements/corrections are
main regret is not moving with the times and shifting to some better
software, probably Wordpress but it is the learning curve and the time to do
it which puts me off. The small amount of revenue I derive from adverts does
not permit me to employ the services of any experts and in any case, I want
to keep control. Maybe I'll get round to it. I know the site does not
display ideally on mobile phones and tablets but the directions are still
have had two or three offers to buy the site but never got as far as the
Yorkshire question ('Ow much!) as I have not wanted to sell it. Maybe the
time will come, who knows.
has been a pain to say the least and although I have followed the rules,
they now seem strict than previously so I am currently restricting myself to
walks from my home. Consequently, not many new ones are being added to the
site, though have added a short one today.
thanks to all those who support my site and I hope to keep adding walks as
long as I can put one foot in front of another!
New Year seems a little hollow, given what is happening around the COVID-19
pandemic. It is alarming the number of "Covidiots" who are
claiming it is all part of some conspiracy theory. All Governments want to
get re-elected and trashing the economy will not further that end. I think
it is reasonable therefore to say that if the Government tell us there is a
dangerous pandemic, there is one!
major downside of the pandemic and the consequent lockdown is that we are
prevented from traveling to areas we might like to go to to walk. Although
it is tempting to "stray over the edges" of the rules, even if you
can get away with it, please stay in your own areas to walk. If you live in
the centre of a city with no immediately convenient green space, I think the
rules permit a short journey to find some. "Short" is not defined
but it sure as hell will not mean you can travel 50 or 60 miles to visit the
Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or whatever is your preferred beauty spot.
Police are checking number plates to see where cars have come from and
anyone who has to be rescued by Mountain Rescue Teams can bet that if they
have come from outside the area, the police will be waiting. The more
closely we stick to the rules, the sooner the country will get on top of the
pandemic and the sooner we can all return to visiting out preferred areas.
this subject, in case you haven't noticed, it is winter. It is colder, it
snows and the days are shorter. Mountain Rescue Teams have already had a
high number of call outs resulting from incidents arising from inadequate
equipment or knowledge with the usual proliferation of poor clothing,
risking hypothermia, slips/falls due to lack of correct footwear/crampons
and of course the reliance on mobile phones with no map/compass backup. It
is not fair. Mountain Rescue Teams are made up of volunteers, with jobs and
families. Call outs put them at risk anyway but there is now the added risk
I have made no progress on my understanding of the new Ordinance Survey
setup in relation to the little OS maps I have linked to each walk (see Blog
2020 last entry). It still looks as though from about August 2021, these
will cease to work.
All information on this
site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.