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Archive for June, 2011

UK National Parks Week 25-31st July

June 23rd, 2011

Figures recently compiled show that paying a visit to one of the UK’s 15 National Parks is not only good for you but that visitors to National Parks contribute more than £4.5 billion to the economy with over 70 million visitors spending more than 160 million days enjoying National Parks. National Parks Week is held every year to raise awareness and celebrate Britain’s National Parks – dramatic and beautiful expanses of countryside free for everyone to visit and enjoy all year round. This year’s National Parks Week is from 25 – 31 July with a wide range of events on offer.

Carl Lis, chairman of the UK Association of National Park Authorities said, “In such financially austere times it’s good to see the significant value and economic benefits that National Parks deliver for society as a whole and our figures support and reinforce the conclusions of the recently published National Ecosystem Assessment by Government. “Together with others, National Park Authorities make sure that National Parks are kept beautiful, open and accessible so that everyone can take time out from the stresses of daily life to refresh mind, body and spirit in stunning natural surroundings. Local communities benefit from the appeal of this unspoilt countryside through holiday accommodation and local shops, pubs, restaurants and services with National Parks Week being just one of the many ways that people can enjoy their National Parks.”

Events on offer during National Parks Week include bush craft and survival skills or map and compass days in the Lake District and Peak District National Parks, a chance to be an archaeological detective for a day in the North York Moors, travel back in time to experience life in an Iron Age hut in Pembrokeshire Coast or be inspired by the National Park’s natural environment and create your own masterpiece at a messy, fun pottery session in the Brecon Beacons. Details of National Parks Week events can be found at www.nationalparks.gov.uk

There are 15 Members of the National Park Family – 14 National Parks namely Brecon Beacons, Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Exmoor, The Lake District, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, The New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, The Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs and The Yorkshire Dales; and the Broads which has equivalent status to a National Park.

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Map And Compass Navigation For Walkers

June 8th, 2011

Competent use of a map and compass, even in fine weather on a waymarked route, adds a positive dimension to the landscape beyond knowing where you are and identifying features around you. In more demanding country and deteriorating weather conditions, basic navigation skills are more than just useful, they’re essential.

At best, good navigation skills avoid spoiling a day’s hillwalking by getting lost and tired. At worst, they avoid getting into more serious trouble as the causes of so many mountain rescue incidents can be traced back to poor navigation. There is no substitute to spending time on mastering map and compass in practice rather than theory.

Happily, there are plenty of courses available as well as books to set you on the right track. The National Navigation Award Scheme has info on training courses at approved outdoor centres throughout the country and offers tests of navigational skills – bronze, silver and gold. Contact: www.nnas.org.uk. Who knows? You might get hooked and take up competitive orienteering – where brains and navigation skills matter as much as fitness.

A simple navigation checklist includes:

  • appropriate scale map – waterproofed or carried in a map case folded to the right place.
  • compass kept to hand and used with the map for reliable route-finding including diversions from the plan you made at home.
  • wearing a watch helps you to judge your pace and progress allowing an opportunity to adjust plans in good time.
  • if you are relying on a GPS unit which uses satellite signals to pinpoint your position and route, then make sure it’s powered up to last the whole of your route and carry a map as well. A traditional compass comes into its own in case of GPS problems and weighs next to nothing in your rucksack.
  • pen or pencil to make notes; a waterproof notebook means you don’t have to rely on your memory. It’s really useful to avoid that when you’re tired!

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