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Sunday, 11 March 2012

TGO Challenge 2012: Mapping

Most walkers like maps. Well, those who like to know where they are and where they’re going, anyway… But I bloody well adore maps!

Smile

I spent most of yesterday printing out the maps for WeeWillyWilky and me for the Challenge. (Well, when not watching the rugby.) A huge amount of care goes into this, as it’s good to have each day’s route on one sheet of A4 print-out. That way the map can be slipped neatly into an Ortleib A5 document pouch, which rolls away nicely into a chest pocket in either your fleece or jacket. I cannot abide map cases slung about my neck that get thrashed about by the wind.

I annotate each day’s map with positions of bothies, escape routes and foul weather alternatives and any other useful bit of information that I think might be handy (pubs, cafes, bunkhouses etc) I also print out my 1:50’s at a vastly smaller scale so that nearest roads / railways are shown in case of emergency. It’s never great to be in the middle of sod-all with just squiggly brown lines on your maps if all of a sudden you need to get help. You need to know in which direction to strike out for assistance, so I always carry my overview maps with me. I learned this after one particularly embarrassing episode quite a few years back when we wandered off our print-outs, inadvertently!

One of the great features of mapping software is the ability to take a 3D view and actually fly-through your route. Here’s a  peek at the chunk of the afternoon on Day 8.

TGO Chally 2012 DAY 8 PM 3D VIEW

CLICKABLE 3D VIEW

Anyway, a complete set of maps is now winging it’s way to Wilkinsod, all numbered sequentially, with the route in garish fluorescent colours and notes all over the shop.

A labour of love!

36 comments:

  1. Maps - reassuringly old school, Twentieth Century technology, even if you insist on acquiring them in new-fangled ways. I'm with you: map-reading isn't a means to an end - it's an integral part of the pleasure of walking.
    BTW - I'm looking ahead to the summer and wondering: isn't it about time somebody invited us on a cushy junket?

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    1. You are absolutely right about the summer jaunt. Indeed, I am working on one right now...

      Watch this space...
      :-)

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  2. Maps make a good bedtime reading. I just love your 3 D maps, btw (I think I have mentioned it earlier, too!).

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    1. Hi Maria
      I am not sure what your maps are like in Finland but in the UK we are blessed with glorious Ordnance Survey mapping. The 1:50's are all you need in the Highlands of Scotland, but our 1:25's are fabulous for England - where rights of way are more important, and so micro navigation is crucial.
      We are also lucky to have Harveys as well - a Scottish company, that produces maps that show land usage as well at a natty 1:40 scale on waterproof lightweight material.

      I can feel a whole post coming on about maps!

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    2. Hi Alan
      We have something very similar to your OS maps (they are called Maastokartta 1:50000, Maastokartta 1:20000 and Peruskartta 1:25000 and they cover the whole of Finland). Then of course there are some specific outdoor maps for the most popular areas (where there are marked trails etc.).

      I'm looking forward to your post about maps. When the little people are not so little any longer I can see me spending some holidays walking in the UK - either with or without them, depending on their interests as well. It'd be interesting to know more about the rights of way in England as well. They sound somewhat mysterious to me (all the bridleways etc.). In Finland the access rights are very similar to those in Scotland.

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    3. Ah! The little people.
      :-)
      Children created a 15 year gap in my wanderings in the hills but now they are about as hooked as I ever was!

      England's rights of way system is pretty odd, when you come to think of it. You can wander about on footpaths and bridleways along the edge of farmland but not hwere there isn't an official path.

      Seems barmy to me. Scotland's system (and yours, by the sound of it) is far better, which is why I spend somuch time up in Scotland.

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    4. England's rights of way system is pretty odd, when you come to think of it. You can wander about on footpaths and bridleways along the edge of farmland but not hwere there isn't an official path.

      So that is what that bloke with a gun was going on about!








      I'll get me coat!

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  3. AS well as hand-annotated printouts (the printouts showing vital things like campsites and pubs, I always take the 1:50,000 maps as well. There's nothing worse then seeing an interesting hill / building / monument in the distance and finding that it's not on the printout. They're also useful for off-route diversions.

    Then again, I'm a proponent of heavyweight backpacking :-)

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    1. Ah, my "overview" print-outs fulfil that role, David. I used to lug eight or nine OS maps across Scotland every year, so to have printouts saves a ton! Imagine carrying them all on LEJOG! (I bet you did...)
      :-)

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  4. I agree with you. I can sit and read a map just like a book. Your 3D maps are a work of art.

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    1. The 3D fly-throughs are great fun. I'm currently ploughing my way through maps of the GR5 from Amsterdam to Niece, working out just how long it might take me, taking it leisurely. I have a lot to pack in of stuff I have promised myself.
      :-)

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  5. I love maps. No, no, I really, really love maps. My children don't understand me...

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    1. That's better than "I love maps... My husband doesn't understand me!"
      Children have to give unconditional love to their mother. Husbands on the other hand... have to give unconditional support to their wives' peccadilloes.

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  6. I hate maps. Great big flappy things - white birds of ill omen that bring nothing but disappointment.

    Consider the blue pint pot symbol. A place of refreshment? No! It means "there was a pub here once, but now it's a housing estate,you poor thirsty bugger".

    How about a long walk through sylvan countryside? Nope. Not that either. Those green blobs represent long forgotten LDPs, half dreamed by grass-smoking council hippies, that now exist only in the cartographers' sadistic imaginations - like the "Harcamlow Way". Has anyone, ever, walked the Harcamlow Way? No, 'cos it doesn't exist, except as a bramble and barbed wire infested quagmire.

    Maps. They only point the road to misery. I could go on ...

    Lord E.

    "I could go on ..." and he probably will - ad nauseam. Miss W.

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    1. I can feel years of resentment, passing through the twilight of simmering anger, through to the glorious dawn of a boiling rage!

      I seem to recall "Fox Close" in Brinkley, a delightful little estate where the pub once stood... So, so much disappointment...

      A POX(!) on the tee-total drug-fuelled layabouts of Harlow Town & City of Cambridge twinning committee who scored those green blobs into the hammered velum, the very joyous manifestation of England's verdant pastures!

      Barbed Wire and Bogs to the Bastards!

      Don't sit on the fence, Lord E. Tell us how it is! Miss Whiplash can deal with you later. Go to the back of the queue and wait, in the corner.

      No Peeping.

      *Note to Miss W* Don't use the wet leather whip - he takes too much pleasure from the stinging slice of the tails...

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    2. Ah Harcamlow Way. Such memories.

      I ran along it once whilst training for the London Marathon. A bit off the route I know

      I have vivid memories of finding an occupied landrover.
      I assume it was occupied, because all I could see through the slightly fogged windows as I ran past was a naked arse bouncing up and down and a pair of large oscillating tits. I am not sure to this day what the birds were doing in there.

      AND I am bloody sure it wasn't marked on my map!

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    3. A tale of country folk taking their dog for a walk?

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  7. Is that Nice France or is there a Niece somewhere! Or a nephew maybe. ha!

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    1. I wonder what the collective noun of niece should be? A "clutch" of nieces, perhaps? As Francis Urquhart once said: "You might well think that. I couldn't possibly comment"

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  8. I love maps, too!

    I got my first one when I was 6 - in fact, before that, I learned to read from road signs and my Dad's maps.

    I'm not really that "up" on technology, but I'm hoping to master the art of GPS and mapping software this year. And just for the record, my wife does understand me - in respect of maps, at least!

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    1. Maps, like great books, take you to a world of adventures, high mountain passes and sickening drops into bottomless abysses. Pulling the crumpled terrain out of the flat dimensions of the folded sheets, countries come alive.

      Blue wriggly lines become white water torrents tearing at the bridge abutments, grey ragged crags the home of eagles. A simple sand bar has huge waves crashing down in foaming storms!

      You need never master GPS wizardry if you have a paper map and a magnetised needle floating on a little bath of oil.

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  9. I have one of the very first OS maps, published on 10th April 1811 by the wonderfully named "Lt. Colonel Mudge at The Tower of London". Another rubric tells me that it was "Engraved at the Drawing Room in the Tower by Benj. Baker & Assistants . . . The Writing by Eben. Bourne"

    The first OS maps were - as you can all well imagine - centred on Kent to counter the very real threat of Bonaparte. My map is a tad west of this, and shows the area south of Dorchester, including all the coast. It is a thing of wondrous beauty - no contours in those days, but gorgeous hachuring.

    I used to have many more, but some thirty ears ago a rapacious Grrrl-Fiend liberated them.

    Anyone passing through Edinburgh might care to spend a day at the very wonderful subset of the National Libray which has a magnificent collection housed in a seperate building. Website is at http://maps.nls.uk/ The staff are beyond helpful.

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    1. Some Truly Scrumptious mapping on that site Humph! Might well be worth a wander through those portals.

      Cheers, fella!

      PS: I am sure that no one could possibly have christened their child "Lt. Colonel."

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  10. I remember the joy of first year geography learning to read the symbols on OS maps - church with a spire - church with a tower - and learning to read contours by making 3d plasticine models of random squares from an OS map of the lake district. Low tech maybe - but it stuck in my mind and I'm getting all nostalgic just thinking about it. Thank you Mr Dugdale who was an inspirational teacher who fuelled my love of the outdoors

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    1. For me it was two inspirational teachers: "Jake" Turley and John Earp - both geography teachers.

      If it wasn't for them.... *to fade...*

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  11. A fine route indeed sir. A suitable peat hagged and atmospheric one, in the usual mist and rain that seems to pass for weather in those parts. Just keep a watchful eye out for the beast of Tarf Water. Some say it is an escapee from the old fairs held once upon a time, on the summit of the nearby munro!

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    1. The next morning we are off bright & early to An Sgarsoch. Should we have to do Carn Ealar to collect our bacon rolls from the fair? I might have to send Andy & Dave over to it if that's the case as we have a pressing engagement later that day in Braemar and the pair of hills might be more than my little legs can manage.

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  12. Have you tried navigating without a map? It might be a fun way of breaking up the TGOC on one of the days if it's becoming a bit of a slog. I recommend Tristan Gooley's 'Natural Navigator' book (read it before going, it's pretty chunky). Gives navigation a fun twist. Obviously keep your maps handy, I'd feel mildly guilty if you wandered into trouble! In fact... DISCLAIMER: I cannot be held responsible for wayward navigation that may occur etc etc!

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    1. Hello, hello!
      A group of us have lobbied for this for quite some time - start on the west coast and then head on whatever bearing is necessary to get you to your finishing point on the east coast. The only tricky bits would be navigating on thick cloud or white-out with problems with big drops all around...

      But I suppose we do this already. I've been across every year now for 17 years and you get to know where you are, most of the time.

      Crossing the Great Glen obviously pushes you into the available crossing points (Lochs get in the way a bit, here) but yes - it would be fun. Perhaps try it out further north, outwith the Challenge area so it comes as a bit more adventurous?

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    2. I love maps and I can't understand why so many people use guidebooks to plan walks, rather than pour over their maps. "Turn NE, descend there for 100m, marvel at the view, be aware of the crags on the left (west)etc". Oh dear, 'Salvationists'!

      Oh, and you won't navigate off the Nevis plateau in a winter white out without a map and compass (or GPS) - well, at least not before they built 6ft cairns :)

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    3. I have been guilty of of using guide books: To start with I followed quite a bit of Andrew Mcloys's LEJOG route in the south west, then I slavishly followed Offa's Dyke, then the Pennine Way, a bit of St Cuthbert's, a bit of the West Highland Way and a large chunk of the Cape Wrath Trail as well, all on my LEJOG. I still had huge chunks left to plan independently, mind you, which took an age, as I needed to know where I would be on specific days so that people could take time off work to walk with me.

      I still had to spend a lot of time preparing maps for all these sections though. Without them, I would have been bereft!

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    4. Hi Alan

      I've used guide books too and I like, for example, the old SMC District Guides with their atmospheric black and white photographs and generalised descriptions. And, perhaps oddly, I like the Wainwrights which were lovingly bought in my youth, one at a time, as funds allowed.

      But maps, like hills, become old friends.

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    5. I would bet that guide books inspired many of us to build really great routes for ourselves. I know that my readings of routes like the Pennine Way and Peddars Way, Stour Valley Path etc. etc. definitely got me into working out my own, longer routes and now I still look at other peoples' routes for inspiration. The important thing for me is to know that I am not stuck to one person's blue line, and can roam to exactly where I want, just by looking at a map. What a treat.

      Well said Alan!

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    6. That's the beauty of the TGO Challenge; It's all your own work! I *do* get frustrated when people pop up on the Challenge Message Board asking for routes between place A and place B. Have they no creativity? Have they no imagination? Can't they interpret a map?
      :-)

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  13. It's all your own work! I *do* get frustrated when people pop up on the Challenge Message Board asking for routes between place A and place B

    Of course that is a the problem with the Internet and the fact that many of us now Blog our routes.
    It means that there statistically, must be some people who can get routes without the need for planning properly.
    I am not saying that they are on the Challenge, just that it must happen at some point.
    I distinguish that from those that get route ideas from others and then plan accordingly.

    The danger is also the number of people who go into the hills with just a phone as GPS and minimal map reading or navigation skills. Something that is disturbingly on the increase, and at times costing our rescue services dearly.

    Me, I love maps, we have a whole book case of them.
    If I could just keep the cat off them when the whole of Scotland is spread across the floor in overlapping 1:50000.

    What I love about mapping software is the ability to view a 3D map like yours above.

    I mean, a huge 3D model of Scotland on the kitchen floor made in mashed potato just smacks too much of Close Encounters. :)

    Time to do some real work!

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    1. I suppose you choose the kitchen floor to prepare your dish of Scotland for its 'wipe-clean' properties. Lucy would probably prefer that to the sitting room carpet. Though, of course, you could put down a sheet of polythene to protect the fibres of the earth's crust...

      I would give it it a go. Lucy will understand.

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