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Saturday, 5 January 2013

Mud and measurements

Bowland Climber’s last post, “Walk your paths...if you can”Bowland Climber  ) expressed concern at waterlogged footpaths, and discussed alternative road walking, and I sympathise, but...

...during the last foot-and-mouth outbreak, I found myself devising walks on minor roads, and tracks, which lead me to some interesting places I would not have otherwise visited.

On my Wales walk, (summer 2011), particularly down the eastern border, I tired of footpaths through cow trodden, soggy fields, or knee-high wet grass and brambles, and climbing rickety stiles, and unravelling navigation required for paths invisible on the ground, and often blocked off or diverted by farmers. I reckon that is a pursuit in its own right which is not one of my reasons for outdoor enjoyment. 

BC’s aims to keep our footpaths open, are noble, and I like to think I do my bit, but on the Welsh walk I eventually opted for minor road walking wherever that would fit within my self imposed intention to walk within two kilometres either side of the border. 

Yesterday, I was well aware of potentially gloopy paths, and planned a walk that was mostly on tracks or roads, but mud was still unavoidable.

I am no match for Mick and Gayle’s insatiable immersion in statistics   ( M and G go for walk ) but I have often wondered about the accuracy of different methods of measurement.

Yesterday I used a Memory Map 3500 GPS to record the trip. Back at home I measured the route using Memory Map on my computer, and used my own spreadsheet entering kilometres walked and time taken in hours and minutes. The spreadsheet converts kilometres to miles, and hours and minutes to decimal hours, enabling calculation of average speed in mph and km/hr, and minutes taken per kilometre walked. Minutes per kilometre is useful for estimating walking time to an objective taking advantage of the one kilometre squares on the OS map.


Memory Map 3500 stats.

6.33 miles walked
2.09 mph

Memory Map on computer
and my own spreadsheet.

6.03 miles walked
1.93 mph

Make of that what you will.

I intend to record more of these stats to enable a more reliable comparison.

The start (SD 489 924) is at the car park, bottom of this map, about 3km west of Kendal. My route was anticlockwise
The car park is classic limestone pavement - it would be the envy of any motor manufacturer for use on their test track.

Cunswick Scar - perfect walking on cropped turf, even in current muddy conditions
Distant Kendal from the cairn on Cunswick Scar

Another for my "Signs" collection. I reckon it warns of a berserk runner who has gone round the bend?

Anyone for a bath?

This is a path I could have taken from Fell Gate to Capplerigg (see map), but avoided - here it emerges onto the road at Capplerigg

The strangely named Bonfire Hall. This is shown as an unfenced track on the OS map

My track emerges bottom right to water's edge. At first I though it would be a wading job, but then noticed the stone bridge, bottom left.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention. Happy new year.
Hopefully things will start to improve when[?] we get some frosty weather. But as you say there is always something to discover if one gets out on foot. Annoyed with myself for being lazy this weekend and not getting out -- bang goes some new year resolutions!

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience to your Welsh walk a few years ago, walking from Ravenglass to Lindisfarne, north of Hexham in farm country, most of the paths seemed to be completely overgrown and very hard work to follow. Eventually I gave up.
Measuring distances accurately is a famously tricky problem. The shorter your 'ruler' the longer the measurement. I tend not to worry too much about the stats.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Tuesday morning, and I'm looking out of the window at rain which seems to be set in for the day. It looks like reading, and maybe cleaning out the fridge which I have been putting off for some time. But I 'm sure I can invent something else more pleasurable, which I can pretend has precedence over that task.


Beating the bounds - Did you pack up the whole walk at that stage? Looking at the map I see St Cuthbert's Way covers the stretch from Wooler, but one never knows with these named ldps. My impression is that every local authority in the country have linked a few local footpaths together to call it their Millennium/Jubilee/Saint Somebody's Way with no heed to the merit of the route. A worthwhile walk, like a classic rock climb, should have a "good line".

You are right about paying too much heed to measurements, although, in the mountains it is prudent to be aware of distance to travel plotted agains time available.