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Archive for April, 2012

Herefordshire Walking Festival 2012

April 27th, 2012

Nine days of 44 varied walks through the Herefordshire Countryside 16th – 24th June 2012

Two long distance walks this year.  ‘By Canal from Ledbury to Hereford’ follows the stretch of the Hereford & Gloucester Canal within the county, along the towpath wherever possible, over farmland, tracks or minor roads.    The Hill Forts & Castles Walk has never been walked before by the general public.  Created by a Hereford Ramblers’ member, four of the sections have been researched especially for the festival and will be led over both weekends.

Old favourites include ‘On the Black Hill’ particularly apposite this year with the general release of the film ‘Resistance’ based on the novel by Owen Sheers.  Learn about butterflies, vendettas, farming practice, geology, tree husbandry, archaeology, myth and legend.  Take the small children on a Sunday morning family wander or take yourself on a good bracing walk with wonderful views.  Enjoyment of Herefordshire food is never far away be it tea and cakes, a ploughman’s in the village local or a farmhouse supper.

New departures include an introduction to ‘geocaching’ and a tour of a historic house plus some very surprising adventures around Symonds Yat.   ‘And Now for Some thing Completely Different’ is a treasure trail that can be walked and puzzled over on any day and at any time during the Festival by a single sleuth or a family group.  Correct answers will be entered into a draw and the winner will receive a prize!

All walks  must be booked in advanceclick here for details

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Top Kit Advice for Mountain Trekking

April 25th, 2012

Getting the balance right between too much and too little in the way of gear and clothing for a trekking trip is a lot easier with modern fabrics, materials and designs. Variations in temperature and weather pose challenges that can be dealt with quite easily through the flexibility and variety of products available. Although you won’t be carrying all your gear – unless you’re trekking independently – you’ll still need to make a careful choice, especially about the stuff you carry each day.

Footwear – a crucial factor in making the most of your trip. Lightweight, sturdy boots, or shoes, should be worn for some time before you leave to ensure the fit and comfort offered suits you – blisters and sore feet will ruin your trek. A pair of sandals or trainers for evening wear will give your feet – and footwear! – more of a chance to recover. Comfy socks that wick sweat away from your feet and ensure extra padding in key areas are a sound investment; 3 or 4 pairs is a good idea. Keep a pair to wear whilst you sleep.

Clothing – from hot days to chilly nights, you need a range of items that will cope with the variations, be comfortable to wear and durable. Flexible base layer tops that that be worn on their own or as part of a layering system are at the heart of your trekking wardrobe. A  mid, insulating layer, possibly windproof, will help to keep you warm and, if really cold conditions are expected, can be supplemented with more layers as appropriate. It’s a bonus if your clothing can be washed easily and dried quickly. Even more so if it wicks sweat away from your skin to avoid chafing and maintains comfort by avoiding clammy wet clothing next to your skin. Don’t forget gloves and a hat as cold fingers, ears and head can end up with you feeling pretty miserable. A down jacket offers a great deal of comfort when you’re relaxing in the evening and a boost to morale on chilly mornings.

Sleeping – don’t skimp or take a chance on your sleeping bag being warm enough. Night after night of being too cold to sleep properly will take the pleasure out of any trip so err on the side of caution. A sleeping mat will insulate you from the cold ground as well as being more comfortable to lie on than a tent groundsheet. A sleeping bag liner helps to protect your bag from sweat, grime and accidents and is far easier to wash and dry than the bag itself.

Carrying – a duffle bag or large travel pack is the easiest way to transport most of your kit whilst a 30 litre capacity rucksack should cope easily with the water, gear and spare clothing you’ll need to carry yourself each day.

Photo credit:

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Improve Your Mountain Navigation Skills With The MCS

April 23rd, 2012

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCS) are running a number of one day navigational courses during May and September 2012. The main aims of the course are to increase your confidence in finding your way on hills using map reading and compass bearing skill, with handy hints and techniques to locate yourself in poor visibility. The day will start with a gentle introduction to the theory followed by a practical session on the hill. Ratios are 1:6 and there are spaces for 12 people per course (the minimum age is 18 years). You will need to be equipped for a day out on the hill with food and drink, boots, gaiters, waterproof jacket and overtrousers, warm hat and gloves or mitts and a map case or clear poly bag. Maps and compasses will be provided.

The courses will be run on the following days:

May 2012

Sat 5th – Ochils (base near Alloa)

Sun 6th – Ochils (base near Alloa)

Sat 26th – Campsoe Fells (based near Drymen)

Sun 27th – Campsoe Fells (based near Drymen)


Sat 1st – Ullapool


For further information please visit the The Mountaineering Council of Scotland website


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Reducing The Risk Of Wildfires

April 19th, 2012

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is urging members of the public to take care during this current spell of dry weather as every year fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats.

Alex Bennett, CFOA Lead on Wildfire said: “We are currently experiencing some delightful weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends but it is also important to stay fire-aware when out and about. With the dry weather set to continue into the Easter Holiday period we are asking the public to be vigilant and by following these few simple steps we can all help to reduce the chance of a wildfire”.


1. Extinguish cigarettes properly – don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows

2. Take your rubbish with you – especially glass bottles which can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals

3. Avoid open fires – Always have them in safe designated areas.

4. Report any fires in the countryside immediately –  Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident.

5. Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.

6. Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.

7. Remember that arson is a crime and will be prosecuted

8. Only use barbeques in suitable and safe area – never leave them unattended

9. Never use petrol – it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only use approved lighting fuels.Make sure it is downwind and at least 10 metres away from any buildings or structures.Clear dry vegetation, such as leaves, to form a circle of earth around the fire

10. Never leave fires unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished after use.


For further fire safety advice contact your local Fire and Rescue Service.

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Enjoy, Respect, Protect The Countryside With The Refreshed Countryside Code

April 14th, 2012

Natural England is re-launching the Countryside Code – the refreshed version gives updated advice on rights of way, controlling dogs around livestock and wildlife, and preventing fires. Natural England, the Moorland Association, the National Farmers Union and the Ramblers are all encouraging people to read the Code to help them enjoy, respect and protect the countryside:

  • Enjoy the outdoors – Even when going out locally, it’s best to get the latest information about where and when you can go. For example, access to some areas of open access land and coastal land may be restricted in particular places at particular times. Find out as much as you can about where you are going, plan ahead and follow advice and local signs.
  • Protect the natural environment – We all have a responsibility to protect the countryside now and for future generations, so make sure you don’t harm animals, birds, plants or trees and take home everything you brought with you. When out with your dog make sure it is under effective control, and does not disturb farm animals, horses, wildlife or other people.
  • Respect other people – Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors. Remember that the countryside is a working environment and even small actions can lead to big disruption. Leave gates as you find them and take extra care to avoid the risk of starting wildfires.

For more information on Natural England please click here


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Lifesystems Fire Starter & Wetfire Fuel Cubes Now In Stock

April 12th, 2012

Lifesystems have updated their extremely popular flint and tinder kit with the 2012 Firestarter Flint. The one handed operation to produce sparks is advantageous during severe weather conditions when you may need to protect your tinder with a cupped hand.  Lifesystems have also introduced the Wetfire cube – a solid paraffin fuel  block that can be lit in both dry and wet weather with a burn time of up to 10 minutes. Both these firelighter options are extremely lightweight and will not take up much room in your pack.


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Mountain Bothy Maintenance In April & May

April 10th, 2012

Through the months of April and May the Mountain Bothy Association will be conducting maintenance and repair work on a number of remote shelters it looks after. Ramblers and walkers have been advised by the association to take back-up shelters and tents if travelling near to the bothys where work is planned.  The bothys that re affected by the repair work and the dates when they may be out of action are as follows:

  • 6 – 9 April, Strathan
  • 14 – 15 April, Gregs Hut
  • 14 – 22 April, Meanach
  • 24 – 28 April, Strabeg
  • 30 April – 6 June, Taigh Thormoid Dhuibh (Raasay)
  • 1 – 5 May, Shenevall
  • 7 – 13 May, Usinish (South Uist)
  • 18-20 May, Peanmeanach


For further information please visit the Mountain Bothy Association website


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Terra Nova Tarps Now In Stock

April 8th, 2012

Tarps or Tarpaulins are the simplest and lightest form of shelters available to outdoor enthusiasts. They are also ideal for replacement or emergency groundsheets, and as extra sun protection for your tent in the summer.

Sub Zero Store now stocks Terra Novas highly acclaimed Adventure and Competition tarps. These lightweight and waterproof tarps are extremely compact when packed away in their own stuff sack and their reinforced eyelets make them strong enough to be used in the harshest of conditions.


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Mud-Loving Mountain Bikers & Hill Walkers Holidays

April 6th, 2012

For those who prefer their holidays to include lung-bursting outdoor pursuits and plenty of perspiration, there is no shortage of challenging sporting events around Loch Ness and Inverness during the summer and early autumn months this year.

Along the Great Glen in May, the annual Whole Way Walk is the longest ranger guided walk in the country.  This 79 mile journey takes walkers to the heart of the Highlands by combining six days of guided hiking with other events showcasing the area’s history and heritage. From  6 -11 May, participants will trek the width of the country from Fort William on the west coast to Inverness on the east offering a unique opportunity to experience this environment up close and personal.

Alternatively, adrenaline seeking visitors might like to take part in the Drambuie Pursuit, which runs from 11-13 May.  The nine-stage event takes in the Loch Ness area, with events at Invergarry, Fort Augustus and the River Ness and combines a wide range of outdoor activities including archery, buggy racing, white water rafting, rock climbing, abseiling, hill running and mountain biking. Not for the faint hearted, this high-energy Highland challenge offers an exciting and inspirational introduction to the area.

Heading into June, outdoors enthusiasts have the opportunity to join a range of events at the ‘Outta Affric’ Glen Affric Walking Festival. This four-day festival (1- 4 June) offers graded and guided walks taking in a selection of Munros and Corbetts alongside a packed programme of entertaining, interesting and informative extras.

For those who like to inject a little variety into their travels, June also brings a selection of exciting challenges taking in the Loch Ness area. The first is the Scotland Coast to Coast event. This two day challenge (15-16 June) allows entrants to select their own level, taking one or two days to tackle the route from the east coast at Nairn to the west coast at Ballachulish by running or walking, kayaking and cycling through its tough terrain either alone or as part of a two-person team.

June 16 will also see walkers gathering at Gairlochy on Scotland’s west coast for the 24 hour Caledonian Challenge, where participants attempt to complete a 54 mile route through some of the Highland’s most spectacular scenery in just one day all in aid of the Scottish Community Foundation. And just a week later the area will play host to the Highland Cross duathlon event (invitation only) The Highland Cross takes place on 23rd June with participants attempting to complete a 20 mile walk and 30 mile bike ride through the rugged terrain of Glen Affric and Strathglass to finish in the beautiful village of Beauly.

August sees the arrival of the Monster Swim at Loch Ness. This open water aquatic event offers the opportunity to tackle either the one mile Big Yin or the half mile Wee Nessie course – both of which offer the opportunity for participants to truly immerse themselves in the surroundings and see spectacular scenery from an entirely new angle. The season of exertion and exhilaration is rounded off on 30 September with the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon which offers a rare opportunity to race on the roads round this iconic loch location. This must-run route takes in 26 miles of spectacular surroundings, with the finishing line in the Highland capital of Inverness.

Further information on the area, accommodation and what’s on around Loch Ness and Inverness at

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