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New Wales Coast Path For Walkers

October 10th, 2011

Chester to Chepstow Coastal Trail

Once completed in 2012, the 850-mile long Wales Coast Path will link up existing coastal trails to provide a continuous route from the outskirts of Chester to Chepstow. It offers an exciting and rewarding challenge to walkers and backpackers. Not in a couple of weeks, of course, but it does offer a fantastic long summer break or series of holidays over a few years.

Morgan Parry, chairman of the Countryside Council for Wales said, “It  is more important than ever that we create the best possible opportunities for people to enjoy walking and all the benefits of being active outdoors. Creating access for everyone is an important aspect of this project – some sections of path will be suitable for people with disabilities, families with prams/buggies, those on horse back and cyclists.”

 

 

 

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Polar Fleece Jackets by Sub Zero

October 8th, 2011

Sub Zero Polar Thermal Fleece Jackets are manufactured from super warm 300 Polar Polyester fleece. These technical fleece jackets have a velour anti-pill finish on the outside and a deep pile lambswool structure on the reverse for added loft and warmth.  The density of the fleece material also provides high wind resistance and the construction also aids wicking and moisture transportation away form the body.  The long cut of these fleece jackets in combination with the elasticated hem cord will protect your lower back from exposure under active conditions, whilst the two deep pockets give extra protection to the hands.

Sub Zero has moved away from a Unisex design on these fleece jackets to produce both Male and Female versions. The womens design is more tapered down the sides with more area around the bust, whilst the mens design has a more box shaped construction with wider shoulder panels.

These high performance polar fleece jackets are ideal for wearing with your thermal underwear as a complete layering system and as an extra insulation layer under waterproof jackets.

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Charity Challenge Run Walk and Cycle in Pyrenees

October 6th, 2011

Could you run, walk and cycle 800 km in just five days?

This October, Dublin-based specialist travel company, Follow The Camino, is setting a challenge to all its staff to run, walk and cycle 800 kilometres along the French Way of the Camino from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela and inviting everyone to get involved.

The Camino Challenge will take place from 14-20 October 2011 with participants starting in the mountainous France/Spain border, walking and cycling through the Meseta Plateau and finishing up in the hilly, green region of Galicia in Northern Spain. Aided by a support bus, the team will travel an average of 200km a day over four days by foot and bicycle, spending the fifth day walking the final 20km stretch into Santiago de Compostela as a team.

All funds raised from the Challenge will be donated to the Society of St Vincent de Paul, a charity with branches worldwide. A significant proportion of the funds raised will be earmarked for education, while the rest will go towards heating, food and basic necessities for families in poverty, the elderly and marginalised.

The French Way is the most traditional of all the pilgrim ways into Santiago. Each year, over 5 million people visit the Camino Way for an experience like no other.  ‘Pilgrims’ walk sections of the Camino Way, sometimes in organised groups, but more often alone, meeting up with fellow walkers along the Way and sharing experiences and stories as they walk.

The weather in the middle of October should be excellent for the challenge, mild on the lower parts of the route but changeable the higher you go up the Pyrenees. Packing  a good set of thermal base layer underwear and a lightweight jacket is advised.

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Lightweight Down Jackets by Sub Zero

September 28th, 2011

New Stock of Sub Zero Unisex Down Jackets

We now have the full range of Sub Zeros new  down jackets available on Sub Zero Store. These lightweight down jackets are manufactured from ultra lightweight down proof ripstop polyamide shell fabric, and contain 125g of ethically sourced European goose down insulation in 800+ fill power. The down jackets are so light (320g) that they pack in to their own small stuff sack, which is so compact that you can place it in your trouser pocket when heading out in the great outdoors. These lightweight down jackets are ideal for backpacking and winter walking, or as part of your emergency kit when higher up a mountain. Even your dog will be impressed with these jackets as they keep you warmer for longer, extending his walkies in the cold and snow.


 


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Swiss Alps 800 Mile Charity Cycle Ride

September 9th, 2011

A group of cyclists have started the biggest physical challenge of their lives – a gruelling 800 mile cycle ride from Crans-Montana in the Swiss Alps to Holkham Hall in Norfolk. The ride, which was the brainchild of Viscount Coke, is being staged to raise funds and awareness for Walking with the Wounded (WWTW), a charity which is dedicated to funding the re-training and re-skilling of wounded servicemen and women to assist them in finding new careers outside the military.

Starting in the mountain resort of Crans-Montana, the route will cross over into France via the Jura mountains before heading up through France, across the Champagne region and into England before finishing in Norfolk. The group, which includes several riders who only sat on a road bike for the first time this summer, aims to raise £50,000 for WWTW.

The charity shot to national prominence earlier this year with their first major expedition – a trip to the North Pole that featured HRH Prince Harry among the expedition party – which is the subject of a BBC One documentary, ‘Harry’s Arctic Heroes’.

The funds raised by WWTW’s expeditions and the ride will help finance new qualifications, courses and further education for those who are seriously injured, therefore enabling the blind, the burn victims, the mentally injured, the amputees and all the other wounded to re-build their lives and to return to the work place.

Fergus Williams, Director of WWTW added, “During the course of operations, many young men and women suffer horrific injuries. When the wounded return home they face a very different future to the one they had planned, with challenges they never imagined and never trained for. For many, their future in the Armed Forces is unsure. This is the future that Walking with the Wounded is supporting.”

To find out more about the trip visit http://www.facebook.com/walkingwiththewounded.

 

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Derbyshire Walking Festival

September 5th, 2011

Autumn Walking Festival Steps Out

Autumn Footprints’ is the annual autumn walking festival, held in the Derbyshire boroughs of Amber Valley and Erewash that provides a varied programme of walking activities, from gentle family rambles, to more strenuous hill walks for the more experienced walker. Set in the heart of picturesque Derbyshire, it will run from Saturday 10- 25 September with a range of 32 guided free walks over 16 days. The areas are well known for their natural beauty, superb scenery, industrial heritage and attractive towns and villages.

One of the Walking Festival Co-ordinators Marion Farrell from Groundwork Derby & Derbyshire, said, “This Walking Festival is a fantastic way to see more of your local area. Each walk has two leaders – there is plenty of time to chat and admire the views. The idea behind the festival is not only to get local people to appreciate the countryside on their doorstep, but also to show visitors that you don’t have to go racing up to the Peak District to walk through beautiful countryside. Most of the walks are close to bus and train routes enabling everyone to get to the start point.”

All the walks are free of charge, and will take place in areas of local heritage and natural history interest, taking walkers alongside rivers and canals as well as through towns and villages. The walks are of varying lengths and gradient, ranging in length from one mile to 8 miles, offering something for everyone no matter what their interests or abilities. They are all led by knowledgeable local people who are enthusiastic to show off their local patch.

Some of the walks taking place are:

  • Amber Valley highlights include Round about Alfreton (5 miles) and Explore the Highlands of Amber Valley (strenuous walk, 7 miles).
  • Erewash highlights include The Lewis Wilson Memorial Walk and Top O’ Stanley (6 miles).

A comprehensive guide detailing all the walks and events is available free of charge from Groundwork Derby & Derbyshire, tel. 01773 535232, or log onto www.gdd.org.uk to download the full leaflet.

 

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Rucksack Essentials For Walkers

August 9th, 2011

 

What To Pack In Your RuckSack

Most lists of gear for walkers’ rucksacks emphasise safety aspects but walking is about having fun in the outdoors so comfort and enjoyment are key elements in planning. Whatever you decide to take, the first step is to have a rucksack that is big enough to swallow all you want to take whilst accessing it easily and carrying it all comfortably for several hours. Happily, there’s no shortage of options to suit all shapes, sizes and pockets so makeyour own list of essentials from the suggestions below.

 

Waterproofs – if not worn, keep them handy and pack a warm hat and gloves as well. As fleece tops are so light, it does no harm to pack a spare. In winter, packing extra warm clothing is a true essential.

Map and compass – hardly a rucksack item, of course as they should be kept ready to hand and in use; they can add so much to the pleasure gained from a walk quite apart from route finding. As well as knowing how to use a compass and read a map, you’ll need to keep the map dry in a waterproof case if it’s not proofed or laminated. Your GPS device should be charged up, route loaded and ready to go.

Whistle – useful to summon help (six short blasts in a minute) and letting other needing help that you’ve heard them (three blasts back).

Torch – You may not expect you’ll still be walking as it gets dark but it pays to be prepared. A head torch leaves your hands free; signal for help as per the whistle.

Plastic survival bag – you may carry one for years and years and only ever use it as a picnic mat but that’s what insurance is all about. Safety, that is, not sandwiches!

First aid kit – adapt the contents to suit your experience and needs; check it every now and then to make sure everything is in order; keep it handy and clearly labelled. It’s also a good place to keep details such as your name, address and who to contact in case of an accident.

Food and drink – as well as lunch or whatever, pack a little extra in case you’re out longer than anticipated and keep ‘trail snacks’ handy to nibble as you go. Pack enough water to see you comfortably through the day and drink from it regularly; hydration systems aren’t just for outdoor athletes. A flask of hot drink is usually welcome whatever the weather.

Walking poles – a pair will take a lot of the strain off your knees but even a single pole helps with balance.

Mobile phone – useful for summoning help in a true emergency; dial 999.

Camera – whatever you take, keep it handy and protect it from knocks.

Binoculars – often described as useful for route finding and spotting birds or wildlife, they’re also just fun to use.

Notebook and pencil – you never know when a stunning philosophical insight should be recorded!

Sun cream and insect repellent – it’s easy to burn on the move and biting insects can ruin a walk.

Bootlaces – a spare pair takes up little space and weighs next to nothing.

 

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New Top Mountain Biking Trail In Grizedale

July 1st, 2011

An enthusiastic group of Cumbrian riders have grouped together to help create a new mountain biking trail in the Forestry Commission’s Grizedale Forest. Work has begun on building a new black-grade biking trail in the forest. The trail is aimed at experienced riders and includes advanced features such as jumps, berms and tabletops. The decision to create a new trail was taken to enhance the biking experience at Grizedale and to fulfil the demands of experienced downhill bikers who want technically demanding single track trails.

Work co-ordinator Lee Rayton said, “There are a lot of people in the area who are experienced riders and they have bought expensive bikes with long-travel suspension which are designed to be ridden hard downhill. However, a lot of these kinds of riders have been leaving the area to ride in Scotland in the Alps as there is nothing purpose-designed to suit their style of riding. So we are building this black route to appeal to this kind of rider. It will all be on a downhill gradient and will have jumps and berms but people will also be able to roll down it if they do not want to do the jumps.”

So far, more than 400 metres of the new trail has been created by hand with around 10 to 15 volunteers working on average two sessions a week. When completed, the trail will be just over a kilometre long and will have permanent waymarkers showing which way people can ride. The Forestry Commission, which owns the land and manages Grizedale Forest, is working in partnership with the volunteers to help the trail to be built and is providing tools and materials.

Katie Jarvis, Forestry Commission recreation ranger at Grizedale, said, “We already have the red grade North Face trail and a fantastic network of bridleways in the forest that are popular with bikers and this trail will be something new, different and exciting for bikers at Grizedale.”

For more information about Grizedale Forest, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale.

It is hoped that the route will be completed by the end of September though help from more volunteers is welcomed. People who are interested in volunteering to help create the new trail at Grizedale should call Grizedale Mountain bikes on 01229 860369 or get in touch through the Grizedale MTB Facebook page.

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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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