Thursday, 7 February 2013

Great Outdoor Blogs to read... part 1

Hopefully, you're a regular reader of our blog - and if you are, you'll know we like to you point to other resources on the interweb you might be interested in.  So we've searched across the web to find out more great walking and outdoor blogs which you might be interested in...

Heelwalker1 - aka Tanya Oliver

Tanya is a familiar name to anyone who regularly listens to our monthly walking and outdoor podcast as she's taken us on walks through Ashdown Forest in Sussex and on a Fix The Fells volunteering day in the Lake District.

Well, currently, Tanya is the Programme Coordinator for the Fix The Fells project and her regular exploits both regarding her time on the project and her wider walking experiences are related in her very well read blog.

Walking The Blog - Charles Hawes

Since May, Charles has been writing this blog about walking.  It's mainly about walking the Wales Coast Path - which opened fully on May 5th 2012.  Charles' motivation for the blog came from finding many websites with maps and routes - but few offered commentary and really useful information.  

So, from that perspective, Charles' blog is an interesting insight into the experience of walking and the discovery that makes the journey worthwhile.   Visit his blog here.

The Quirky Traveller

Zoe Dawes is a traveller.  She's not interested in the posh, the outlandish or the ordinary - she's interested in the quirky.  Travel with a difference; with added appeal.

Zoe's very popular blog features her writings on her many travels around the world and looks at life from a different angle.

Her writing has a distinct charm and character - so much so she won the title of "Britain's Best Travel Blogger".

Discover her blog at and join her on Twitter here.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Gear Review – Vango Deluxe Walking Pole

Vango might well be a name you’d more associate with tents, but they make a range of items to help us walkers – and the Deluxe Walking Pole is one of those.

Now, there seems to be a debate about whether walking poles provide any benefit to walking… some people swear by them, while others would never use them.  I've used several walking poles over the years to review them for magazines and for the Walks Around Britain blog, and I must say I've become quite a convert towards them.  I don’t often use them whilst I’m filming the video walks on our site, as I quite enough kit to look after and carry, but when I’m on a walk when I’m not filming, I do use them.  So when the Vango Deluxe Walking Poles dropped through my letterbox, I was very eager to try them out.

So let’s have a look at the pole.  Vango say it is a “strong durable alloy 3-part pole with contoured handle and lower sleeve that offers superb grip and comfort.  Anti-shock on/off feature for shock impact on hard terrain.”

Well, after several trips out with the pole, I’d agree with the strong and durable bit.

The locking extended sections work easily and the pole still extends comfortably even after being subjected to several muddy puddles Peppa Pig would be proud of…

The pole extends to 140 cm, which should cater for even the tallest of walkers – and still feels ridged and stable extended to this length.  Minimum height is 70 cm, which allows my 9 year old daughter to use it, and therefore feel like a “proper walker” – her words…

The pole is made from “T-7075 alloy”, which presumably means something to somebody – possibly that it is strong, and coming in at 320 grams certainly means it is not a heavyweight piece of kit.

The grip is a Bi-injected 2-tone rubber with lower neoprene sleeve, which basically means it minimises that nasty feeling of material falling off into your hand after several trips out.  For adult hands, it’s a comfortable grip which gives you confidence to stride out.

The tip on any walking pole is very important – will it rust over time when exposed to so many muddy puddles… Well I’m happy to report the tungsten tip of the Deluxe Walking Pole helps ensure that doesn't happen.  And after many trips out and pushing that tip into boggy ground, there is no hint of rust or any other problems.

So, overhaul, I’m very impressed with this pole, and with a cost of £13.00 direct from the Vango website, it’s a great price too.  If you are a walker who has had walking poles recommended to them, or if you've been tempted to try one to see what all the fuss is about, then this certainly won’t disappoint you.

What’s good

Strong and durable
Great price
Seemingly rust-resistant tip

What’s Bad

Could be a tad more comfortable on the grip but otherwise nothing at this price bracket

Vango Deluxe Walking Pole - Rough Price - £13

Walks Around Britain rating  9/10

Find out more on the Vango website here.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Podcast Edition 014 - Show Notes

Edition 14 of the Walks Around Britain podcast features information about the Great South West Walk  event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the South West Coast Path, Sally Broom tells us about Tripbod and John Driskell recounts one of the first documented trips up Everest.  Presented by Andrew White.

Great South West Walk

2013 is the 40th Anniversary of the South West Coast Path, and we travelled down to Cornwall to find out more about the Path and the anniversary celebrations.  The Secretary of the South West Coast Path Association, Steve Church, talked passionately about the history of the Path and the plans for the Great South West Walk.
Julian Powis (left) and Peter Maxted

Peter Maxted and Julian Powis from the Cornwall Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty told Andrew about the AONB and their love of the Coast Path.

The South West Coast Path is England's longest National Trail, with a total length of 630 miles (1,014 km).  It runs from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset.

The Path hugs the coast as much as possible, and so rises and falls with every river mouth.  It has been calculated the total height climbed of the Path is 114,931 ft (35,031 m), almost four times the height of Mount Everest.

To join the Great South West Walk, visit their website here.

We stayed at The Nare hotel on the Roseland Peninsula, with access to a particularly stunning section of the Coast Path just outside the hotel.  There are also many circular inland walks on offer too - making it a great base for walking. Named the best hotel in Cornwall for 15 years, The Nare provides a a warm friendly welcome.

Sally Broom (right) joined Andrew to talk about Tripbod, the website which enables people across the world to offer experiences and trip planning.

We have our own Tripbod store, where you can book a guided walk led by Andrew along some of the most popular walking routes on the Walks Around Britain website.

Everest The Old Way

John Driskell told Andrew about the first recorded trek to Mount Everest in 1968.  Starting from the unlikely setting of Barnsley, 5 local students tackled the world's highest mountain.

John and Dave's talk about their experience is part of 2013's Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, taking place in the Steel City between 1st and 3rd of March.

To find out more about the 80 epic films and the numerous talks and lectures in the three days, visit the ShAFF website here,

"Everest The Old Way" in on Saturday 2nd March 14.15 and you can find out more information and to book tickets on the ShAFF website page here.

That's another podcast finished.  We hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we do putting them together.  Any comments and suggestions are gratefully received - pop them in the comment section below.