National Trail popularity

Digging into the web site statistics, I am surprised at the web site traffic for the National Trails.  Is there an inverse correlation between my favourite trails and their popularity?

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You would expect the Pennine Way and South West Coast Path to lead the table, but why is the West Highland Way so low in the chart when it is easily the busiest path I have walked.

North Sea Cycle Route

I have been having fun with Google Maps. Now the whole of the North Sea Cycle Route has been mapped out as I plan the route and decide how how I am going to navigate.  I have a few paper maps, but Google Maps, MyMaps, ViewRanger and BackCountry Navigator provide too many options.  I have also used OpenCycleMaps too, downloading custom routable maps for each section that I can just about squeeze into my Garmin GPS. See http://garmin.openstreetmaps.nl for more info and perhaps donate a few Euros to this project.

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My Android Nexus 5X is more than up to the job of storing the maps, and the UK section is adequately covered by the Ordnance Survey offline 1:50k maps. Plus, at last, OS have re-released the Road Map series at 1:250k, which is nigh-on perfect for cycle touring, other than it doesn’t show cycle tracks, but it does cover the whole of the UK in 8 maps.

Now to overlay campsites, points of interest, ferries and find a means of attaching photos as I progress, as I mean to use this Blog in real time, with weekly updates.  Just add StreetView and I can start now with a virtual tour.

Back to Stanfords next time I am in London.

“Hey mate! Where’s the Ski Slope?”

“Hey mate! where’s the ski slope?” is one of the more polite comments I get using walking poles on the National Trails from unenlightened bystanders. So why do I love my Leki trekking poles? My conversion to the walkers equivalent of 4 wheel drive has been a gradual process over many years. Initially, I used a only one pole on my early heavy weight backpacking trips and now use two carbon Leki poles on all my adventures.

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After a while, using the poles becomes second nature to the point where you forget you are using them, especially when they are light weight. I perhaps have 4 walking modes, depending on the terrain:

  • Level easy going – difficult to describe, but the pole placement is every 2 steps, about half my walking cadence. Emphasis is on stability. Placement is approximately level with the leading foot, driving the pole gently rearwards.
  • Uphill, easy terrain – pole placement is every step, right foot with left hand pole forward, driving purposefully up the hill with arm and leg. Placement is ahead of the leading foot.
  • Uphill, difficult terrain – pole placement is more random for optimum balance, but using my arms to pull up my weight, trying to imitate the uphill, easy terrain mode, as best I can.
  • Downhill – palms on the top of the pole, controlling my descent, usually with hands outside of the straps if the descent is very steep. Placement to give security and stability.

A Canadian skiing friend of mine Continue reading