What if there was a network of off-road walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities? OS GetOutside Champion Dan Raven-Ellison tells us more about the Slow Ways hack in this guest blog.
A few years ago, when planning a route between Salisbury and Winchester, I started to wonder…
There are over 200,000 km of public rights of way, but there isn’t a comprehensive network designed to help people walk off-road between Britain’s towns and cities.
On 1 February 100 people are taking part in a hack day to change this – and you are invited to help.
Tune into ITV at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30 January to see the nation’s favourite 100 walks revealed across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland*. Alongside National Trust and The Ramblers, we teamed up with ITV last year to encourage outdoors enthusiasts to vote for their favourite walks, and now the results are set to be revealed.
Over two and a half hours, presenters Julia Bradbury and Ore Oduba will showcase rambles, scrambles and ambles across the UK’s cities, countryside and coastline. We’re extremely pleased to say that four of our GetOutside champions will also be featuring in the programme, accompanying Julie and Ore on their walks. Look out for Two Blondes Walking in their favourite environment, Dartmoor; Zoe Homes (AKA Splodz) in Scotland; Phoebe Smith, wild camper and extreme sleeper; and the Get Out With the Kids family tackling the Chilterns.
If you’re a regular blog reader, it will be no surprise to hear us talking about safety. We launched National Map Reading Week last year and talk about safety tips every single year. So you can imagine how dismayed we were to read this:
When you also know that Mountain Rescue England & Wales (MREW) attended 1,812 callouts last year, up 170 on 2015, and that 500 of those callouts were avoidable, and reasons include people getting lost…then you can see why we keep talking about safety.
We’ve teamed up with MREW to make the great outdoors more enjoyable, accessible and safe for all, by encouraging everyone to be more mindful and better prepared when heading outside. Why? Because MREW’s 2016 callout figures showed incidents to be up for the fourth year running. And our own survey of 2,000 outdoors enthusiasts revealed 76% of British recreational walkers and hikers do not properly plan their route or what to pack in preparation of their walk/hike.
We often talk about safety tips to help you #GetOutside in the winter, but there are some equally important things to think about for summer safety in the great outdoors. More of us are inspired to explore in the summer, and particularly with our families over the summer holidays, so follow these summer safety tips from #GetOutside champion Steve Backshall to keep safe when you’re out and about.
In case you missed it, we’ve been celebrating #TrigPillar80 this week, marking 80 years since the lovely trig pillar was first used to help us map out Britain. Although we no longer need the trig pillar to map the country, now using newer technology, the trig pillar remains as a British icon, guiding the way for explorers of the great outdoors.
#GetOutside and bag a trig pillar
The trig pillar can now be seen in many a photo, showcasing the British countryside and marking the high point of a walk. We asked our #GetOutside champions whether they had a favourite trig pillar to bag when out walking, fell-running and cycling and they came up trumps with some real beauties. From the wonderfully named Doughnot Hill in Scotland, to the Isle of Man to Dartmoor, our champions picked their best spot to bag a trig.
Navigating your way around is an essential skill for any explorer or outdoor enthusiast and being able to confidently use a map is a vital skill which everyone should have before setting off on an outdoors adventure. Research shows that the skill of map reading is in decline and our #GetOutside champion, Steve Backshall, is helping us to reverse that trend.
Steve says: I’m always with a penknife, map and compass. I’m an OS map user in a big way. It’s almost a daily thing. I’m enormously proud of OS. Its level of cover in this country is extraordinary. I think it’s something that, hand on heart, Brits do better than anyone else.
Map reading is a skill that’s dying out. Everyone should be able to read with a map and compass. It can and will save lives.