Changes

I have always tried to involve readers in decisions about this blog, but the poll regarding which navigation app I should use was inconclusive, with few votes cast. I will therefore try to continue using both Viewranger and Outdooractive for now.

Because I need to focus on work after a period of settling in to my new home in Scotland, I will be shifting back to the free wordpress plan, so you may notice some changes from the end of this month. Subscriptions will not be affected. I would like to continue with my long distance walking here in this beautiful country, so I will still be writing up on my trips.

Water of Leith, Edinburgh

One of the things that trolls have made me realise is that, put simply, I began this blog because I love walking and the countryside, which is where my walking started 20 years ago. However there are a small but vocal group of online outdoor trolls, who are just brimming over with hatred for people who have come to the outdoors via different routes, or who disagree with them in any way. We know who they are.

My aims now are more selfish because they have to be. I need to focus on work and on self care. I also hope to rediscover my love of the outdoors without endless scrutiny from people who think they know best about everything. I can’t help noticing that the people who really do know best about the outdoors hardly ever do this.

Rucksack Rose – First Avatars 2012.

Viewranger or Outdooractive?

I have been experimenting with both navigation apps for the last six months on my Edinburgh Exploits, City Strolls and Leith Loping routes which are regularly added to. The difference is that if I continue to record routes on Viewranger, they can easily be synched with Outdooractive, but people don’t get the additional features for creators or users. If I record my routes on Outdooractive, then Viewranger becomes a thing of the past. This leaves people who use my routes there to have access to my historic routes only, unless they move across to Outdooractive.

A quick reminder that Viewranger had two subscription tiers – Free and Premium, whereas Outdooractive has three subscription tiers – Basic, which is free, Pro, or Pro Plus. Further information is available on their websites. Remember also that the Viewranger app is no longer updating but is retaining existing routes.

To help me make the decision about which app to choose, or whether to struggle on with both, I have created this poll which will remain open until the 31st August 2021 after which I will announce the results. I welcome your views in the poll and via the moderated comments as I know some users, including myself, are still feeling cheesed off with losing their Viewranger maps bought in good faith.

Warning: Location based apps may be abused by gang stalkers.

Outdooractive app

As followers will know, I have been uploading my routes on to the ViewRanger app for several years. Apparently ViewRanger has now merged with the Outdooractive app, which is available from all the usual places. There are three subscription tiers on the new app – Basic which is free, Pro and Pro Plus. Further details are available on their website.

Apparently Viewranger routes will remain with them indefinitely, but I have now synchronised my routes onto the new app and will run both in tandem for the time being. I hope walkers will benefit from having the choice until I am able to compare the two apps more.

I wish them well at Outdooractive. Links to both sites can be found in the sidebar of this blog and on YouTube, and for Viewranger read Viewranger or Outdooractive in my blogposts. Thanks. 🌹

Rosie with an i

FYI I am now Rucksack Rosie with an i, rather than Rucksack Rose on all my sites, so the link to my website has changed to rucksackrosie.com just because it feels friendlier somehow. I am not a tech specialist but this may mean you will need to refresh your website links. My YouTube, Viewranger and Outdooractive sites are also now named Rucksack Rosie, although the links to each of them remain the same. Otherwise I am gradually editing the links in my blog so that they continue to work. If you find any broken links let me know. Thanks very much for your continued company.

Scottish Day Walks

For information, I have divided up my Scottish day walks into geographical walks and themed walks.

Under geographical walks so far there are some new sections entitled Border Beats, Edinburgh Exploits, City Strolls and Leith Loping. Under themed walks there is a section called Perthshire Protection about outdoor conservation work. I look forward to adding to and expanding all these in the fullness of time. Although I have suspended the video making during the pandemic, you can check out my Outdooractive / Viewranger route collection.

Looking across towards the Cairngorms from the Speyside Way near Aviemore

Obviously the walks I can do at the moment are limited by the present restrictions, but they may appeal to other people in the same situation.

Moving North

I am pleased to confirm that I have now moved north of the border to Scotland. I am hoping that this will inspire some good walking and trips to explore newer areas.

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Hikerspace I

This post is intended to be an occasional feature showcasing some of the websites which I have enjoyed recently. I would welcome your suggestions about good sites.

Trail Angels
Trail Angels on Hadrian’s Wall

Chris Townsend Outdoors Blog by a very experienced backpacker with an impressive outdoor CV. Unparalleled knowledge of gear and environmental issues.

Grough Magazine An independently owned site featuring news and features about the outdoors and outdoor activities.

Hiking in Finland  A European backpacking blog in English written by the multi skilled Hendrick Morkel

Homemade Wanderlust  Blog and Vlog following trailhiker Dixie’s interesting and involving attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail and become a hiking triple crowner.

John Muir Trust Founded in 1983 with the aim of conserving and protecting wild places for the benefit of present and future generations

Northumberland National Park This site is growing into a well researched and  interesting website about the area. They are quite responsive to comments and criticisms from users.

The Outdoors Station Podcast A professionally produced podcast covering many aspects of the outdoors from the Cartwrights at Backpacking Light UK

Scotland Outdoors Podcast A wide ranging, well informed and entertaining podcast about outdoor life in Scotland.

Tramplite Ultralight long distance hiker who designs and makes his own line of hiking equipment when he isn’t hiking trails around the world

Walk Highlands All aspects of walking in Scotland are covered in this engaging blog which has a good mix of trail data, downloads and long form posts. It is supported by accommodation providers who want to appeal to the outdoor market.

Rucksack Rose

Top Publisher Award 2018

I have been digging my old trumpet out and dusting it off to receive this very exciting ViewRanger (Now Outdooractive) award, alongside 9 other distinguished recipients.

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Craig Wareham, Co-Founder and CEO of Viewranger, describes the annual award as follows:

‘The Top Publisher Award recognises people, organizations and publishers creating interesting, engaging, and high quality trail guide content. Each year, just ten outdoor organizations and authors receive our top award for contributing outstanding digital content, including route descriptions, turn-by-turn directions and photos to share with the growing outdoor community’

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All 10 of the 2018 Top Publisher Award Winners

By way of acknowledgement, the ViewRanger app has dragged my blog out of the dusty filing cabinets and card indexes where it was created, and into the digital present. The app provided me with exactly the tools I needed to make my routes accessible to a wider audience and to communicate directly with users.

Thanks to my followers and all at ViewRanger for making it happen for all my Rucksack Rosie sites. Please note that ViewRanger is now assimilated with the Outdooractive app which can be downloaded from the usual places.

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Rucksack Rosie – Avatars

Rucksack Rosie Redesign

Just a quick post to say that I hope you like the revamped site. The old theme was beginning to show it’s age a bit, so after some experimentation I opted for this fresher looking design. Happy Hiking. Rosie🌹

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Twitter Detox

As a digital immigrant, I didn’t really know much about online safety when I started Rucksack Rosie using a pseudonym in 2012. My aims were to celebrate the life of my late mother and to remind myself that beauty and kindness still existed in the world. I wanted to connect with outdoor people who are normally excluded from outdoor debates. Naively I thought that is what the internet was for.

Because of this, I didn’t know how to react or who to turn to when my sites were targeted by cyberstalkers, malware and organised trolling following a terrible trip out with a stranger on Twitter to Wideopen Hill in 2014.

For 5 years I made repeated attempts to refer the Twitter gang to my personal site for information and news, but the main thing I have learned is that trolls like them can’t, or won’t, read. After my studies in 2016, issues from the same people flared up again when I mentioned that my application had been accepted for the TGO challenge, and their sheer unpleasantness resulted in my withdrawal from the event. 

This was soon followed by another outburst from a couple of people from the same group (without even knowing the circumstances) when I mentioned that I had made a call to Mountain Rescue for advice during a walk in memory of a relative.

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Blow the whistle on trolling and harassment

This group seem to have nothing better to do with themselves than to wreak emotional devastation on Twitter. After haranguing me for over two years, they eventually pressured me into disclosing private information which was really off topic on this blog. All this finally culminated in a trip to the police and a solicitor in 2017.

All these experiences have changed my approach to blogging and social media, which is ironic on a blog intended to share beauty and kindness. As a result I have put Twitter on hold as I’m not sure it is the right platform for remembering people, beauty, kindness, survivors or fledgling businesses. When I try to balance out the positive contribution it has made to Rucksack Rosie against the emotional damage being caused by trolls, and the lax safety responses from the company involved, the option to come off Twitter became an increasingly tempting one.

Otherwise everything else will hopefully carry on with improved productivity in a less toxic environment. Thanks again to the people who have stopped by. It means a great deal to me.

Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers near Malham

Postscript: After taking advice from various people, I finally came off Twitter completely in February 2020, having ceased to enjoy the experience at all some time ago. For those who are not here for the outdoor content and are still sniffing around for personal info, I wrote a post about the backstory to this blog in December 2019. I am now hoping to rediscover the pleasure in walking which drew me to blog about it in the first place. Names of trolls available on request.