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.
Finally, after months of lockdown walking in and around the city (see Edinburgh Exploits, City Strolls and Leith Loping)) I finally made it back into the hills outwith Edinburgh for the first time since the end of February last year, and what a relief it was! My cabin fever had become really severe, and I did often dream of just taking off with my backpack. Sense finally prevailed following a nightmare in which I was featured in the tabloid papers as a dangerous miscreant.
Anyway, I hope you are surviving, and here are some pics of my walk with friends in Midlothian this week – which is a start.
Although this continues to be a terrible period for many people, the vaccines and the lockdowns seem to be giving the people in Edinburgh an opportunity to reclaim their city for a while. Last week I realised that I may never see places like the Royal Mile without crowds again, so I have been exploring the old town and added some short central walks to my City Strolls on Viewranger / Outdooractive.
I hope you will enjoy these short walks as the restrictions are lifted from tomorrow. Remember to follow the guidelines and leave no trace.
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. 🌹
For out of town readers, Edinburgh and most of Scotland is in full lockdown again. All residents must stay at home and only go out for essential journeys and local exercise. I would like to assure readers that ALL photos posted since the first lockdown, and any posted in the coming weeks, are taken during permitted exercise in my local area, as I don’t have a car, and haven’t used buses for quite a while.
As a distraction, these are some pics of the city gradually being reclaimed or re-wilded by nature, as ground maintenance contracts ground to a halt last Spring. I have found something uplifting about watching this process and seeing the distinction between town and country blurring just a little.
Please stay as safe as you can and follow the guidelines. 🌹
I have added two new sections to my Edinburgh walks called City Strolls and Leith Loping which began with some of my lockdown walks around the city. They are mainly linear routes under 5 miles which could be made longer by returning to your starting point. They would suit anyone who just wants to get out of the house for exercise and a bit of vitamin D. These routes avoid busy roads as much as possible, and are all accessible by public transport or on foot. Although I have suspended video making during the last year, GPX routes are available from my Outdooractive or Viewranger sites.
Hopefully following the rules until we get the vaccine will mean that walkers and outdoor users can expect a return to some kind of normality soon.
Don’t forget to refresh your website links with my new domain rucksackrosie.com with an i.
Although my first complete year in Scotland has been a relatively quiet year since losing my father in July, I think I have made the right decision to move here after living on the border for 10 years. I have had some great day walks, trips and life experiences, which only living in Scotland could have afforded me. I wish you all a very happy and successful year for 2020 and hope you will return to my sites in the New Year.
The Youth Hostelling Association for England and Wales, the Scottish Youth Hostelling Association for Scotland, Hostelling International NI for Northern Ireland and the many private hostels & bunkhouses springing up around Britain can be a hidden treasure.
If there are rooms available when you need them, hostelling can enable you to stay in or near places where accommodation prices are at a premium, as well as places which are only accessible on foot. In comparison to the blandness of some budget hotels, hostels embrace a cornucopia of styles and periods, from humble cottages to grand mansions.
Unfortunately there has been a recent tendency towards whole hostel letting by the YHA which has had the effect of sidelining individual and family customers like myself. In spite of the name, I am told that you do not have to be young to stay at a youth hostel. Apparently the remit of the YHA is aimed at people of all ages.
There is no such thing as a “typical” hostel which is why they can be such a pleasure to stay in.
Hiking can become an expensive hobby by the time you have spent money buying your kit, paid high season B&B prices & possibly employed a courier. I was told by many hikers that camping was the answer, and to some extent it is. Keeping open the option to camp will mean that you are never stuck for somewhere to stay.
However there will sometimes be days, even when you camp, when you need some rest and recuperation, as well as some first world facilities such as warmth, power supplies, hot showers, laundry facilities, cooking facilities, meals, a bar, wifi and even an en-suite private room. These are some of the facilities sometimes on offer when rooms are available.
Some routes and areas are more generously appointed with hostels and bunkhouses than others. The Pennine Way and the Lake District for example, because of their popularity, are very well provided with excellent places, but Northumberland has very few.
One advantage of joining one of the hosteling organisations is that you can get a discount on the cost of a room and membership of the International organisation Hostelling International.
In addition to YHA hostels, a huge range of independent hostels and bunkhouses can be found on the independenthostelguide website. They are sometimes easier to get in to than the YHA hostels.
I was quite a late starter to hostelling, so in case you are like me, here are some pointers about what to expect when you stay at a hostel:
What to expect.
Rooms are sometimes only available at weekends or in high season for individuals and families because of block booking.
You will usually have the choice of a shared dormitory room with bunkbeds (usually but not always single sex) or a private or family room.
You may be expected to make your own bed up when you arrive and put your used bedding in the laundry baskets when you leave.
Youth hostels sometimes close during the day from about 10am until 4pm for cleaning so it is unwise to arrive during these hours.
You may have the choice to self cater or eat meals provided by the hostel. It is worth indicating your intention before you arrive
There are usually lockers available on request for your gear.
There is sometimes a curfew time when the doors are locked but you should be given a key or code which will enable you to get in after hours
Three things which are often useful in shared dormitories are a little torch for creeping in after other people have gone to bed, an extension lead as there are sometimes not enough sockets for recharging if the room is full, and ear plugs if you are easily disturbed during the night.
Staff are normally knowledgable about the local area and are happy to suggest facilities, walks or climbs nearby.
You can wash and dry clothes and boots at most hostels and they are usually willing to hold parcels for you until you arrive.
Wifi is available in most hostels except those in remote locations.
Most hostels are relaxed and friendly but the ethos is fairly DIY.
This is an updated re-issue of a page originally published in 2013 following a couple of years of using hostels on long distance walks and some shorter trips.
Having created a long distance route from a map for a challenge event, I was reminded that following pre-existing routes with signs, guides, waymarks, apps and other hikers for company is reassuring and even soporific at times. However as you may know, once you can absorb the information contained in a map, it becomes easier to create a route of your own. If you have ever looked at Foul Weather Alternatives or taken a short cut, then you have created your own walk.
My background has involved following a lot of other people’s routes, and a helpful spell of route checking for the Ramblers. Their training covered areas such as safety, legality, accessibility, topography, themes and focal points on routes. There are then two stages involved in the process of creating a route. One involves looking at the route on your map and in satellite view (which can reveal inaccuracies in the map), and the other is to reccy the route on foot with all these issues in mind.
What should a good route involve?
The legality of a route is essential if you are offering it for other people to follow. It is therefore good to familiarise yourself with the symbols which denote what type of track it is; right of way, bridle way etc and any rules and exemptions which apply.
Safety is a crucial issue so it is important to be aware of any potential hazards such as river’s in spate, slippery rocks, eroded tracks or obstructions such as fallen trees. You should then try to incorporate these into your route data.
In case of access issues and the use of wheeled vehicles, it is helpful to mention any steps or stiles on the route and a note on the condition of the tracks i.e whether they are full of potholes or overgrown.
The received wisdom when I trained was that a good walk should involve a focal point/s. This could be a view, or historic, natural, sacred, architectural or topographic features in the case of a day hike. In the case of a distance hike there is the opportunity to introduce a theme or feature such as the Pennines (Pennine Way), historic landmarks (Hadrian’s Wall), Abbeys (Borders Abbeys Way) or geographical features such as a river (Speyside Way). A walk could also follow a person’s life (John Muir Trail) or encompass a pilgrimage route (Camino di Santiago).
When working from the map, the following questions could be considered when creating a day hike:
Are the start and finish accessible?
Is the walk is do-able?
What are the gradients like?
Has it got a gradual start?
Does it have variety?
Does it include suitable rest places and shelter?
Are there any avoidable eyesores?
For a distance hike you could add these questions to your list:
How far apart are the resupply points?
Where are the water supplies?
Is there a variety of accommodation?
Is it possible to backpack the route?
Are refreshments available?
This is just a sketch of some of the issues and questions to bear in mind when walking somebody else’s route or creating your own. It can be interesting to evaluate the decisions which have been made for you on pre-existing routes, and to try and improve on them on your own walk. This can become the first step towards creating your own.
With thanks to the Ramblers for the experience, opportunities and training.