When you’re out in the countryside, particularly if you’re camping, it’s impossible to avoid midges and mosquitoes. These types of insect are an important part of our ecosystem, and there are trillions of them, but you may be tempted to forget this when you’re under attack.
The best you can do is to employ some kind of skin protection, stay away from the type of habitat and conditions that midges like, and know how to deal with bites you might get. Learning a bit about why midges bite, and what attracts them can also help you plan your avoidance strategy.
The latest revision of the OS Explorer OL maps is now available! These maps are designed to help you make the most of your time in the British countryside, whether you are walking, cycling, running, riding or anything else.
The new releases come with a mobile download included with each map. This allows you to get a copy of your paper map on your Android or Apple device. The map is saved to the device memory, so will work even when you have no mobile phone signal, and includes useful features like pinpointing your location, route recording and a compass.
Originally published 21/05/2015, revised 01/06/2016
Over the last 12 months we have continued to develop our online mapping system, OS Maps. With some great basic features and advanced options for subscribers, it’s probably one of the best tool for planning off-road activities available.
Now available in your web browser and as an app for Android and Apple phones and tablets, you can view and print maps OS maps for free, plan routes, discover routes created by others, check weather and much more.
This is a guest post by Jen and Sim Benson, authors of the Wild Running guidebook.
There are many different running disciplines, from road and track to trail, fell, and cross-country, each with its own set of rules. In writing Wild Running, we hoped to capture all the best bits from each discipline, finding the best running terrain in the most beautiful places without being restrictive. In short, Wild Running is about getting out and having the most fun it’s possible to have at a run.
Why run wild?
The essence of wild running is in the excitement, location and pure joy of running a route, rather than the surface it is run upon. Freedom, fantastic running terrain and the exploration of new and beautiful places are all key to a perfect wild running adventure. Wild running takes you away from everyday life, providing the freedom to discover and explore fantastic new places. The experience of running in remote areas teaches us self-reliance, makes us fitter and stronger and encourages us to become better at finding our way. A wild running adventure can be as gentle or as testing as you choose to make it, and it can be different every time, but the key ingredients – an adventure somewhere amazing, with great running underfoot – are always there.
Dual running is a new sport for the UK, but is well established in the Nordic countries, with routes in Norway’s fjords, where it’s an efficient way to get between isolated villages .
In its simplest form, it combines the pace and exploration of trail running with the companionship of bringing another person along.
Your dual running team needs two members. The first, known as the ‘blaster’ provides the power, with leg strength and stamina critical. Most blasters are also runners as well, as this is an excellent way to build up to the high level of fitness required for dual running.
The second member, the ‘master’ is carried by the blaster. They provide the navigation (and motivation!). Generally lighter than the blaster, they need good upper-body strength and navigation skills.
It’s unusual to have a dual running team where the members reverse roles, although Swedish champions Aleksek Persson and Öden Albrecktsson did this after Persson sustained an Achilles tendon injury.
Looking for a way to enjoy cycling? Whether it’s family rides, extreme off-road or charity challenge rides, there are cycling festivals for beginners to hardcore enthusiasts this summer.
We’ve listed all the British cycling festivals we’ve found by month so you can easily find one, and included links to the organisers pages. Some are free events, while others are charged – please see the event organisers for details.
Ordnance Survey maps use contour lines to join points of equal height together. Understanding contours is a very useful navigation skill because you can identify the lay of the land and landscape features as they appear on the ground. They tell you whether the ground is flat, hilly, undulating, or steep, and whether a route will be a gentle easy walk or a hard uphill slog, so you can plan your route more easily.
Contours are shown on Ordnance Survey maps as thin orange or brown lines with numbers on them that show you the height above sea level of any point on the line. The closer the contour lines are together, the steeper the slope. Contour lines very close together indicate a steep slope and contours further apart show a gentle slope.
Boots are the most important piece of walking kit, so it pays to get the best fit you can. With the huge range of boots now on the market, your feet shouldn’t get a hammering every time you go out walking. If boots don’t fit properly, you won’t have support for your feet and ankles, and you’ll be prone to blisters, chafing and other foot problems. Too much room and they’ll rub up and down, too little and your feet and toes will be scrunched up.
Face it – if you spend any time outdoors you are going to get wet. This is the reason a lot of the outdoor gear we sell, especially electrical items like GPS devices and torches as well as bags have an IPX rating.