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  1. Careful Preparation Encouraged To Enjoy Walking In Snowdonia

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    Walkers in Snowdonia are being encouraged by the MountainSafe Partnership to take advantage of the large number of walking trails as an alternative to the summits. However, with the unsettled weather, preparation is essential.

    Mair Huws, Head of Wardens and Access at Snowdonia National Park Authority explains, “Walking on mountains can be very difficult if the weather’s hot, especially when you can’t shelter from the sun. Also, taking tired young children to a mountain summit isn’t fun and it can result in children having very negative attitudes towards walking for the rest of their lives! Please remember that you don’t have to venture to the high summits to enjoy the beauty of Snowdonia. What about taking one of the lowland routes or some of the forest trails – Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau or the Fisherman’s Path near Beddgelert or the Aber Falls path near Abergwyngregyn?”

    There are plenty of suggestions for family walks on the Snowdonia National Park website, www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/visiting/walking/family-walks

    Once you decide where you’re going, remember that you need to prepare for your journey to be safe, even in summer:

    • Prepare beforehand – take a map, compass and make sure that you take plenty of water
    • Dress suitably – sun hat, sun cream, waterproofs and thermal baelayers – just in case!
    • Weather – take a look at the Met Office’s forecast for Snowdonia and don’t be afraid to cancel your walk if conditions are unsuitable
    • Respect the mountain and local communities, follow the Countryside Code and remember to take rubbish home.

  2. Active Options In The Cairngorms National Park

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    The light and sound installation ‘Sòrn’ at Strathmashie Forest, Laggan in the Cairngorms National Park (the UK’s largest national park at 4,528 sq km) has been created by the artist Gill Russell. Funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), the Cairngorms Local Action Group and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the project celebrates 2011’s UNESCO Year of the Forest by creating artworks in outdoor locations in the national park which ‘enhance awareness of the heritage of the forest and of the people who live there’. Sòrn is the culmination of the project and has been supported by Laggan Forest Trust which is hosting the exhibition over the winter months. Sòrn is designed to be seen in darkness so anyone wishing to view the installation is advised to visit in the evening. Located on a good forest track five minutes from the Wolftrax car park, Sòrn is well signposted but remember to bring a torch!

    More down to earth, a new mountain bike centre near Tomintoul, which could create the longest single track descent in Scotland, has been approved by the CNPA. Two trails will be built – 10 kilometres and 19 kilometres – through the forests and on existing forest roads. The descent from the summit of Carn Daimh on the longer of the trails will be approximately 4.7 kilometres. CNPA Planning Officer, Mary Grier, said, “Interesting and challenging trails will be created from the existing landform rather than being man-made and will involve limited construction and minimal tree felling. We’ve also added a condition that the trail should be no wider than 1.2 metres, all of which helps protect the surrounding forest and landscape. Currently both cyclists and walkers use the forest roads and the likelihood of conflict between the two has been identified as low.  The increased promotion of the new centre could attract more people to enjoy the outdoors in this area of the park and explore the existing network of paths.”

     

  3. Third Rothbury and Coquetdale Walking Festival

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    Walking festival in Northumberland National Park

    Northumberland National Park has teamed up again with Shepherds Walks to bring together the third Rothbury and Coquetdale Walking Festival – www.rothburywalking.co.uk – in June. With sixteen walks over eight days there is something for everybody from short history walks to walks along the border ridge between England and Scotland.

    Highlights include:

    Drover Roads of Coquetdale – an 8 mile guided walk looking at the old drover roads that criss-crossed Rothbury and Coquetdale. When droving was at its peak between the 16th-18th Centuries, great trains of cattle of traditional hardy hill breeds were driven from Scotland to the markets of England. These old green roads – many of them hundreds of years old – still wind through the hills and make firm walking through breathtaking countryside.

    Nordic Walking – a full day’s training course for those wanting to try out this way of walking for fitness and health. Nordic Walking is perfect for people who want to get more active and fit. It is simple to learn, suitable for people who have been inactive for a while and a great way to gently encourage full body movement. The poles help to reduce pressure on the knees and joints and help propel the walker along making walking feel easier than you expect.

    The festival walks are led by a range of experienced walk guides from the National Park (www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk) and from Shepherds Walks, set up by Jon Monks, a local Northumbrian hill shepherd (www.shepherdswalks.co.uk).

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