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Britain’s greatest hills. One epic challenge.
+Climb 20 of ’em with THIS issue!
Scotland’s scariest hill – for mortals
TICK THESE OFF!
7 LAKE DISTRICT SUMMITS ...in one route: Pillar, Scafell Pike, Great Gable and more!
EXCLUSIVE The one that really wants to hear from anyone who has done all 100 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Three strange days with Italy’s living legend p62
GEAR TESTS RUCKSACKS ❯ FLEECES WELSH 3000ERS IN A WEEKEND A Snowdonia classic step by step p121
latest cover oct12 sw.indd 1
13 WALKS + MAPS
Ben Venue Jack’s Rake Nantlle Ridge Ben Loyal Great Shunner Fell
❯ GPS UNITS KIDS UP HILLS How to make that first day out unforgettable
contents out there skills
Where this month’s issue will take you...
Behind the front lines of the war on litter
Not so ‘smart’ phones?
The north Highlands’ Ben Loyal, a ‘broken, multitopped collapse of valleybitten ridges’. Cripes!
Tips for taking little ones up hills, without tears
Why you need to be clever before you’re smart...
Walking with kids Ask Trail
Adam and Eve: which is which? Protect your smartphone; learn about lichen; sensible sleep mat storage; should you book on the GR20?
Behind the picture 16
Nanga Parbat: mountaineering’s toughest 10km
The world of hillwalking – according to you lot
Subscribe and get a gift! 36 Fancy a Primus Eta Solo stove, worth £80? Sign up for Trail today and we’ll send you one!
Why we love...
Hubble, bubble toil and tea: get this, page 32.
...weather; specifically, the sort we get in Britain
An Teallach. You can do this. Oh, yes you can! tom bailey
Save our summits!
Trail 100 special
7 Lakes summits
An Teallach for mortals
Britain’s hundred very best hills, we say Kick-start your T100 tick-list in the Lakes
Walking Scotland’s steepest, scariest mountain Hairy, scary, legendary and utterly unique
GEAR Gear news
Eureka! El Cap 2 SUL
The must-have kit that’s coming soon A large but lightweight 2-person tent
40-50 litre rucksacks 74 Carry copious hill clobber in comfort
For mid-layer mid-weight warmth 6 of the best satnavs for outdoor aficionados
p98 Have gizmo, will walk!
Big packs put through their paces.
R AIL OU
Route 2 Golden Cap A Jurassic walk to the south coast’s high point
Route 3 Jack’s Rake Why experienced scramblers love Pavey Ark
Route 4 Nantlle Circular 100 SP The ‘lite’ version of a classic ridge-walk ECIAL R AIL OU
R AIL OU
North Highlands 100
Route 5 Ben Hope & Ben Loyal A full-on weekend including a wild camp
All 15 Welsh 3000ers – the highest mountains in the principality – savoured during a 3-day route
Route 10 Beinn a’Ghlo Route 11 Carn a’ Chlamain Route 12 Ben Vrackie Fancy a long weekend walking in Perthshire? Then why not head to this bustling tourist town, the perfect place to mix mountains and tea shops
Route 13 Fossdale Horseshoe Our Classic Route takes you on a circular route over the wild, contoured giants of Great Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat R AIL OU
Route 6 Ben Venue This tasty wee hill is definitely the place to go!
Route 7 Y Carneddau 100 Route 8 Y Glyderau SP ECIAL Route 9 Snowdon massif R AIL OU
Route 1 Glaramara 100 SP Two sparkling tarns plus a fantastic view ECIAL R AIL OU
= Includes Trail 100s
with 3D maps OCTOBER 2012 TRAIL 9
14 Trail october 2012
BEN LOYAL NORTH HIGHLANDS No mountains in the UK are as extraordinary as those in Scotland’s farthest north. Ben Hope gets all the attention, being the most northerly Munro in Britain; but it’s 763m Ben Loyal, 10km to the east, that cuts the most arresting dash on the skyline. A broken, multi-topped collapse of valley-bitten ridges, a journey to the summit of this free-standing conquest takes you to a place that feels like the end of the world.
DO IT! ›› TURN TO PAGE 115
Ben Loyal’s broken outline looms above the Kyle of Tongue. © DAVID ROBERTSON / ALAMY
OCTOBER 2012 TRAIL 15
the world’s most fearsome ridge
This summer a British team achieved a Himalayan first on Nanga Parbat’s Mazeno Ridge. Team member Cathy O’Dowd talks us through mountaineering’s toughest 10 kilometres... Words Dan Aspel photograph Lhakpa Rangduk Sherpa 16 Trail october 2012
behind the picture ‘The physical strain and dwindling supplies left Rick Allen, in his own words, “skeletal”.’
Sherpas Lhakpa Nuru and Lhakpa Zarok break trail on the route described as “the last great challenge of the Himalayas”.
he sheer horizontal distance makes it a ridiculous way to climb Nanga Parbat,” says South African climber Cathy O’Dowd. This is no exaggeration. The 10 kilometre Mazeno Ridge is the longest arête on any of the world’s 8000m peaks, dividing the mountain’s immense Diamir and Rupal Faces. It undulates like a dragon’s back, tipped with eight 7000m crests as it approaches the airless summit of the world’s ninth highest mountain. Safe escape from the route is a difficult – if not impossible – proposition. The sides are so sheer and treacherous that complete commitment or a crushing backtrack are the only two ways off in an emergency. “It’s very British in a way,” says Cathy. “It’s an endurance test. It’s about sticking it out day after day after day. It’s about taking a route that is not the most direct in any sense but you do it because you can. Because it’s worth a try.” That the Mazeno route to the summit remained unconquered until this summer is no surprise: Nanga Parbat scarcely struggles for challenges. In terms of technical difficulty the 8126m peak deputises K2. Sixty-eight mountaineers have died on its slopes, around half that number before its first ascent (1953, Buhl). It almost killed Reinhold Messner (see page 62) and did kill his brother. Its southerly Rupal Face is the largest in the world, towering 4600m over the already elevated Himalayan wilderness. The number of successful summiteers lies in the 300s, a tenth the number that have climbed Everest. And as of 15 July 2012 the number of climbers who have achieved its summit via the Mazeno Ridge stands at just two: Britons Rick Allen and Sandy Allan. “The idea was owned by Sandy and Rick,” says Cathy, who alongside Sherpas Lhakpa Nuru, Lhakpa Rangduk and Lhakpa Zarok made up the six-strong team. “Both had been part of Doug Scott’s Mazeno reconnaissance climbs in the nineties. It had stuck with them, particularly Sandy, for whom Doug is a friend and mentor. This was a project two decades in the making.” First setting foot on the ridge on 2 July, the team spent ten days traversing its icy pinnacles, reaching the Mazeno Col (6940m) and the summit approach on 11 July. The conditions weren’t ideal,” says Cathy. “We’d have got nowhere without the Sherpas, who broke trail for all ten days. It was just heartbreaking. We probably had about 200m of proper névé [compacted snow] where you just
walk along the top on your crampons. The rest was anywhere between knee-deep and hip-deep. It didn’t consolidate. It was a bit of a crust over sugar. You’d get steep sections where every time you placed your foot it crumbled under you. If you got lucky you’d hit rock, but the rock was loose and slabby. It wasn’t terribly easy to climb.” With the summit slopes reached, history could be made. Though previous expeditions had traversed various lengths of the Mazeno (an American partnership had even reached the same col in 2004), until now none had gone on to successfully summit Nanga Parbat. “Other expeditions had done it much faster than we did,” says Cathy, “but they got to the Mazeno Col with no supplies left and absolutely shattered. Whereas – thanks to the Sherpas – we got there with enough supplies and food for people to hang around for quite some time. Sandy and Rick used that as a foundation.” The team made a joint summit bid on 12 July, but poor weather and exhaustion held them back after a full day’s climbing. “Our original plan, after the first attempt, was to turn around and go down the next day,” says Cathy. “The next morning Sandy turned to me and said ‘I don’t want to leave.’ They were so close. Given their age – both in the second half of their fifties – they considered this expedition possibly their last great Himalayan challenge. They were thinking and talking about it like it was the last time they’d try something really outrageous. The two of them had a level of determination, and were prepared to take a level of risk, that I just wasn’t by that point. They needed the rest of us to go down. We didn’t have food and gas for six.” So after resting at the col for two days, Englishman Rick and Sandy, a Scot, made a second attempt on 15 July. Their successful summit marks an achievement unprecedented in mountaineering history. Their descent, via a route on the Diamir Face (“otherwise unclimbed this season,” says Cathy), was harrowing and wrought with difficulty. The physical strain and dwindling supplies left Rick Allen, in his own words, “skeletal”. But on 19 July, after two and a half weeks at high altitude, the pair successfully returned to base camp. “They’re both superb climbers, much better in the end than I am,” says Cathy, who in 1999 became the first woman to have summited Everest from both the north and south routes. “I love being out there, but I’m also very keen on coming back in one piece!” T october 2012 Trail 17
a lifetime of mountains
ne hundred peaks. One hundred spectacular summits. One hundred excellent reasons to go hillwalking. It’s the Trail 100. Since 2007, this mountain must-do list has celebrated the very best that the British outdoors has to offer. But unlike many alternatives, this collection of great hills isn’t tied together by geography or height; their common quality is brilliance. Scattered from the northern tip of the Highlands to the southern reaches of the Brecon Beacons, these are the mountains that have earned a special place in our hearts. We think you should walk them because, simply put, they are special. So if you’d like to bag the best of the 283 Munros, the cream of the 221 Corbetts, the very finest of the 214 Wainwrights (and many more) in a list mere mortals can find the time to complete, look no further. The Trail 100 is a life-changing adventure – and you can start yours simply by turning the page...
Turn the page for your Trail 100 tick-list
hat do we want from a lifetime of mountains? The most varied, spectacular outdoor experience possible – and that's what this list is: all thriller, no filler. And you can climb a whopping 20 of the Trail 100 with this issue, as well as fill in your tick-list and share your experiences online! So tick off the ones you've done and size up your next adventure ...and don't forget to let us know how you get on!
special Here's where you can unlock these special mountains this issue...
your trail 100 tick-list 23 the trail 100 Miscellany 25 26 7 lakeland trail 100s ...in one route! 38 an teallach The most awesome Trail 100 of all? pavey ark A Lakeland classic via a cracking scramble 111 the nantlle ridge Bag a remote Snowdonia tick 113 ben hope A giant northerner (and its superb neighbour) 115 the welsh 3000ers ...including seven Trail 100s! 121 tick ’n’ click!
Share your experiences online via Trail’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Visit www.livefortheoutdoors.com where you can download the Trail 100 tick-list, plus the original Trail magazine feature from 2007, which features descriptions of and recommended routes for all 100 mountains!
Previous page, top L-R: Tryfan, Liathach, Cairn Toul, Scafell, Ben Lomond, Coniston Old Man, Stac Pollaidh, Helm Crag, Suilven. Bottom, L-R: Blaven, Skiddaw, Scafell Pike, Goatfell, Blencathra, High Street, Y Lliwedd, Helvellyn, Buachaille Etive Mor, Bowfell. This page, top L-R: Grasmoor, Beinn Tarsuinn, A’ Mhaighdean, Cross Fell, Ben Alder. Bottom L-R: Lochnagar, Pike of Stickle, The Cheviot, Beinn Alligin, Pillar.
✁ britain’s greatest mountains Here it is: your hundred-hill ticket to adventure. Rip it out, print it, laminate it... and most importantly, enjoy it! Mountain name
Britain’s highest peak; a stunning, complex labyrinth of routes for all.
W&s scotland Ben Nevis
Bidean nam Bian
A fortress of a mountain, closeted and grand – the highest in Glen Coe.
Fiercely remote and hard-won, but impressive and satisfying with it.
Tall, elegant gatekeeper to the Highlands, defined by amazing NE corrie.
A massive presence, once thought to be Scotland’s highest peak.
Sgurr a’ Mhaim
Snaggly satellite of the Mamores’ thrilling Ring of Steall horseshoe.
Scientifically important for its symmetry; a wonderful mountain besides.
Buachaille Etive Mór
Sentinel of Glen Coe; star of a million postcards. Demanding as a climb.
Mighty and sharp, climbing this Glen Shiel hulk via Forcan Ridge is a must.
Most southerly Munro, many people’s first. Scenically stupendous.
Collapsed, tortured jumble of a peak with a thrilling summit block.
The highest point in a fascinating zone of incredibly rough uplands.
Brooding and sprawling, Britain’s deputy is a wilderness of a mountain.
cairngorms Ben Macdui
Bucks the trend of the Cairngorms with dramatic contours and peak.
Scotland’s eastern giant; half sub-Arctic plateau, half vertical cliff.
Central of Kintail’s Five Sisters. West ridge a stunningly sustained ascent.
Brutally built and terrifyingly sheer; probably our scariest walker’s peak.
Dominates Torridon like an open bear trap. An awesome expedition.
Sgurr na Ciche
Fantastically remote, rough, tough cone on the edge of Knoydart.
Isolated and complex king of the Knoydart wilderness. One of the best.
Immense... a circle of Munro summits enclosing an ancient corrie.
Charismatic, satisfying and home to Britain’s hardest-won views.
One of the UK’s remotest peaks, part of a fearsome northern wilderness.
Most northerly Munro, magical and isolated on the northern coast.
Bulky, northern ridge walk with incredible views and precipitous screes.
Beinn Dearg Mòr
Remote and dramatic neighbour to An Teallach. Compact but spectacular.
Unexploited and breathlessly rugged... a gem of a rough diamond.
A flail of contours from above, underfoot a stunning set of walker’s ridges.
Fantastically weird, utterly unique and set in a special part of Scotland.
Ragged little peak; great scrambling and views that belie its accessibility.
Highest on Skye; a scrambly ridge takes you into the heart of the Cuillin.
The ’Inaccessible Pinnacle’. A V Diff climb, but a hell of an ambition.
High point of Mull, a Munro that is often left until last due to its location.
Sgurr nan Gillean
Cuillin end-stop is horned and scary-looking; easiest way up is a scramble.
Blaven (Bla Bheinn)
Skye’s most impressive single mountain, and a stunning objective.
Sharp centrepiece to Arran’s under-rated and dramatic highlands.
Arran’s most exciting hill; traversed with A’Chir, one of Scotland’s toughest.
Most satisfying peak on the utterly extraordinary island of Rum.
Beinn an Oir
One of Jura’s ’Paps’ – three unique mountains on this sequestered isle.
Highest point in Northern Ireland, and a fine figurehead for the Mournes.
n ireland Slieve Donard
Where? Lake District What? Trail 100 kick-start!
Seven SummitS Want to climb the finest mountains the British Isles has to offer? The Lakes is Words dan aspel PhotograPhs tom bailey
26 Trail october 2012
The jagged outcrops of lower Pillar, looking down into the wilderness basin of the Ennerdale valley.
of the trail 100 the perfect place to start. Grab your Trail 100 tick-list and walk this wayâ€Ś
october 2012 Trail 27
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Where? North-west Highlands What? Taming Scotland’s beast
AN TEALLACH FOR MORTALS
It’s Scotland’s steepest, scariest, most notorious mountain. But does this make An Teallach the realm of the elite, or can walkers tame it too? WORDS PHOEBE SMITH PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY
38 TRAIL OCTOBER 2012
Sheer beauty: An Teallachâ€™s pillars rise above Loch Toll an Lochain.
october 2012 Trail 39
Hillwalking with children Hands up if this scenario is familiar: You and your partner have always been keen hillwalkers, but since having children you’ve tended to pursue your hobby separately with one staying behind to look after the kids. You’d love a way to involve them so you can enjoy the hills as a family, but you’re not sure where to start. It’s probably fair to say that, until you’ve had children, it’s difficult to appreciate what a major rearrangement of your life they require. A previously enjoyed leisure activity such as hillwalking is just one of many things affected by the arrival of small people. But it’s good that you’re still getting out there; and if your kids are
now at an age where you’d like to involve them too, thus reuniting you and your other half in your love of the hills, the future is looking bright. Of course, taking the children with you isn’t as simple as simply taking the children with you. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to go to all the same places, climb all the same routes or do all the same things as you did before. Nonetheless, with the right choice of destination, some careful child management and the right gear, you’ll have them bagging summits before you can say “You’re not going out dressed like that!” Team Trail only has a small number of sprogs between us, so we’ve enlisted the help of our Facebook followers and LFTO Forum members to see what their recommendations are when it comes to getting kids out on the hill…
Osian celebrating his 4th birthday on his first Lakeland peak (Helm Crag)!
Hannah (7) rock-surfing on Glyder Fach.
Where to take them... Choosing the right hill is a difficult balancing act. On one hand you don’t want the route to be too long or too hard, but on the other it needs to be enough of an achievement that your children can feel proud of completing it. Walk your kids into the ground and they’re unlikely to want to repeat the experience again. Make the trip too easy or dull and you’ll struggle to prise them away from the excitement of an Xbox.
Our survey said… Loughrigg Fell Lake District
The trick, then, is to pick a hill that feels like an adventure. Go for routes that cover exciting terrain, offer loads of features and have a definite summit to arrive at. It might not be a Munro or even a Wainwright, but if it’s somewhere the kids can be Indiana Jones, you’re probably on to a winner. Beyond that, avoid scrambles (certainly initially) stay safe and keep a firm eye on the weather.
“Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside is a good starter hill with great views and a cave to find, and it seems higher than it really is.” Jon Hill via Facebook
“The café at the top gives them a goal to reach and recharges the legs for the descent. There’s also the bragging rights for getting to the top of the highest point in Wales & England.” PhilR via LFTO Forum
Fleetwith Pike Lake District
Helvellyn Lake District
“A group of us including two kids aged under ten went up Fleetwith Pike, and the young ’uns really enjoyed it. They liked the industrial archaeology and the nice rock scrambles...” GuyHurst via LFTO Form
Roseberry Topping North York Moors
“Took my kids when they were little. Makes them feel like they’re climbing a proper mountain.” Tony McGonnell via Facebook
52 Trail october 2012
“It was my first mountain/fell and I climbed it as a 7-year-old. My sister was only 4 and was lured on with jam sarnies!” Seth Dunn via Facebook
Clwydian Range north-east Wales
“Moel Famau, Moel Arthur and Moel Fennli. Trig points at the top, hill forts and castles, and amazing panoramic views of Snowdonia, the Irish Sea, and even Blackpool on a clear day. Hard enough for the kids to feel
they’ve achieved something yet easy enough for even the youngest explorer.” Ian Mckay via Facebook
Eugene (13), Ehven (10), Eyana (6) and Ehvalene (4) on Ben Nevis a long way from their home on the Pacific island of Guam!
Mam Tor Peak District
“A safe walk with the option of going on to or past Lose Hill, and the family have Castleton to enjoy for the rest of the day.” Glen Bradford via Facebook
Catbells Lake District
“It has to be that old chestnut, Catbells. It’s the easiest hard hill there is and gives a great feeling of achievement for kids.” Paula Ball via Facebook
The Roaches Peak District
“Places like the Roaches are packed with interest to stimulate their imaginations.” Matthew Thorpe via Facebook
Harry (11), having a blast on Snowdon.
masterclass kids on hills ...and how to keep ’em keen
Isobel (9) at the foot of the Devil’s Kitchen in Snowdonia.
SmaLL traIL readerS’ BIG achIevemeNtS Oliver (5) on Snowdon.
Ellen beneath Am Basteir, Skye.
“…and it was only upgraded from a Munro Top in 1984 when a survey… PUT THAT BOULDER DOWN! And where’s your sister? What do you mean ‘pretending she’s a sheep’?” Children aren’t generally known for their long attention spans. This is why your choice of route is important, but there are other things you can do to keep them interested and motivated. Geocaching is probably the single biggest revolution in child-friendly outdoor pursuits that we’ve seen in recent years. Give them ‘treasure’ to hunt for and most kids will gobble up the miles without even noticing. But their short legs will get tired more easily than yours. Make sure that you allow enough time for regular stops and carry enough food to keep their engines fuelled. They may appear smaller, but an active child can devour food at a rate that an Old Testament locust plague would struggle to keep up with.
Our survey said… I-spy “We make up a kind of I-Spy-type book with
stuff related to the particular walk that we are doing.” alib via LFTO Forum
Let them lead “Get them to help with the nav, giving them a simple task like ‘take us to that point’. Makes them feel good that they have the map and the responsibility.” PhilR via LFTO Forum
Cameron (10) on his first Munro – Ben More on the Isle of Mull.
Natural playground “My kids loved places where they could run free, climb trees, explore and make a base camp. In a few miles they don’t realise how far they had walked.” DaveHarris via LFTO Forum Geocaching “We’ve been geocaching with
our 4-year-old daughter. She loved following the GPS and telling us how close we were getting.” Peter Wainman via Facebook
Year 6 pupils from Countess Anne CofE primary school on Sheffield Pike, having also climbed Helvellyn.
Something to carry “I loved my first little rucksack and when I had a water bottle on a strap round my neck – heaven.” alteredego via LFTO Forum
Snap happy “If you have a camera that you’re happy for them to have in their hands you can let them take photos when you get to the destinations.” Olivia Fox via Facebook Bring a friend “My daughter has a teddy which comes with us on walks and has ‘his’ photo taken on trig points.” Ruth Revell via Facebook Keep them fuelled “Don’t
underestimate how much food they need. My daughter eats LOADS when we’re out!” Jo Barrett via Facebook
october 2012 Trail 53
mountain leGENDS part 2
mountains of his mind Unbowed. Unbeaten. Unhinged? Trail spends three days with the many faces of the world’s most controversial mountaineer. words and PORTRAIT simon ingram
einhold Messner is mad. Arms folded, he’s fidgeting and irritably watching flies. Behind us, some geese are making a racket. Somewhere inside the inn, his dinner is getting cold. His face is fixed in his trademark, hairy glare. It’s a look that says ‘make this damn quick’. We’re in Italy’s South Tyrol, above the town of Bruneck. If one of those geese was to shut up, take off and fly south-west about 10 miles over the Dolomites they would find Villnoss, where Reinhold was born. The spired massif flown over en route is the Geislerspitzen. Like most of the Dolomites in this sequestered region, it’s gorgeous, incredible, stupendous: an expletive of a mountain, elegant and brutal, seeming to defy gravity. This was Messner’s first mountain: he was five years old. Figures. Trail has spent three days with Reinhold travelling through the region across which five newly completed museums bearing his name are poised. Installed in the ruins of mountaintop fortresses, like most of his challenges the Messner Mountain Museums are stunning, controversial and unique. Their creator hopes they reflect the relationship between man and mountain. I’m hoping they might give some insight into the mind of one of mountaineering’s most embattled and superhuman figures. Reinhold the Mountaineer is the greatest of all time. He took what others had done in alpinism and smashed it, along the way redefining what was thought possible for a human. He’s taken the bullets of both mountaineer and celebrity: acclaim, injury, tragedy, fortune, envy, attack – leaving peers mouthing incredulous ‘how the hells’ in his wiry Italian shadow. As mountaineer Ed Viesturs put it: “After Messner, the mystery of possibility was gone; there remained only the mystery of whether you could do it.” As for Reinhold the Man, the answer is more complicated. Slight but cinematic of presence, his features peer sternly out of a crinkled, tanned �
october 2012 Trail 63
rucksacks A 40-50 litre rucksack is ideal for year-round hillwalking, scrambling and mountaineering. Here we check out eight excellent options. test graham thompson PhotograPhs tom Bailey
what we tested Osprey Karrimor Gregory Lightwave Fjällräven Kathmandu Lowe Alpine Berghaus
Talon 44 Alpinist 45+10 Savant 48 Fastpack 50 Funas 45 Altai Pack V2 Alpine Attack 45:55 Bioflex 45
74 Trail october 2012
£100 £110 £110 £115 £120 £120 £140 £140
rucksacks Which rucksack will best suit your needs?
october 2012 Trail 75
86 Trail october 2012
A mid-weight fleece provides ideal insulation for cold-weather walks, scrambles and mountaineering trips. To find the right one for your needs, read on…
fleeces test claire maxted Photographs Tom Bailey
what we tested Berghaus Parione £80 Columbia Thermarator II £100 Rohan Gradient £125 Icebreaker Cascade Full Zip £130 Vaude Shipton Hooded £130 Haglöfs Bungy Q Zip Hood £ 140 The North Face Radish Mid Layer £155 Brynje Antarctic Merino £190
october 2012 Trail 87
Satnav devices have revolutionised how we travel by car, and hand-held outdoor versions are extremely popular with hillwalkers, too...
n-car satellite navigation (satnav) devices have transformed how we navigate when driving, and the same technology is becoming increasingly popular with hillwalkers. Dedicated hand-held satellite navigation devices for walkers are generally called Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, or GPS for short. Until recently they were fairly complicated to use, but these days it really is simply a case of turning them on and watching a system of on-screen arrows and cursors. The most basic unit will require you to input a grid reference, which you will
98 Trail october 2012
test graham thompson need to read from a map. You then simply ask the unit to point you in the right direction, and an on-screen arrow will guide you to your destination. Alternatively you can create a route on a PC with mapping software and download this to the GPS receiver. It will then be able to direct you along the route. The latest units will display full-colour Ordnance Survey mapping, and all you have to do is watch your progress across the map via an on-screen pointer. Hereâ€™s a cross section of six of the best GPS receivers currently available, so you can choose whichever suits your needs.
GPS RECEIVERS BEST VALUE GPS DEVICE
SAMSUNG GALAXY S III
(FREE ON PLANS FROM £41 PER MONTH)
WITH VIEWRANGER SOFTWARE £10
If you own a smartphone such as a model from the Apple iPhone, Samsung Android or Nokia Symbian ranges then you can benefit from its built-in GPS receiver and just add mapping software. Many brands now produce mobile-phone friendly software, but one of the most wellestablished products comes from Viewranger. The software can be downloaded directly from the ViewRanger website onto your phone, and at only £10 including credit to purchase the Ordnance Survey mapping of your choice this is a remarkably cost-effective means of streamlining your navigation. Mobile phones often have incredibly good screens, which when combined with ViewRanger software (and its ease of functionality), makes a superb navigational tool. Phones are not as durable as dedicated outdoor devices, though, so you’ll need something like an Aquapac or Ortlieb phone case. Battery power may also be limited to a few hours so such a system should never be relied on. However the ViewRanger software itself is outstanding and includes the ability to create routes on the phone directly or on your PC via my.viewranger.com, which you then AT A GLANCE import to the phone. The unique SCREEN 10.5x6cm colour Buddy Beacon feature allows you to touchscreen BATTERY LIFE 7 hours share your pictures and location via WEIGHT 131g Twitter or share your position with WEBSITE www.viewranger.com other ViewRanger users.
GARMIN ETREX 10 £110
BEST FOR BASIC FUNCTION
Most of the time when hillwalking you just need a device that will give you a position, help you get to or from a summit or to a footpath that you can more easily follow. To do this the most basic GPS receiver is all you need, and the Garmin eTrex 10 is a perfect example. At only £110 it is a much more cost-effective means of navigating than other devices featured here. Also, as it has only the essential features required to get you from A to B, it is far easier to use than more complex units. There is no mapping here, so you just punch in the grid reference of where you want to go and the device will direct you there (in a straight line!) via an arrow. You can also create routes on Garmin’s Basecamp software and then import them into the device to allow it to navigate you along a specific route. The screen is very small, but as you are not using it to read an on-screen map this is no great problem. A simple joystick allows easy navigation of the functions, while the unit’s tiny size means you can easily stash it in your pack ready for use. Better still, as the screen is not colour, you get far better battery life than other units. All this adds up to a unit that is easy to stash AT A GLANCE in a rucksack pocket for emergencies. SCREEN 4.5x3.5cm greyscale An option that is ideal when basic BATTERY LIFE 25 hours WEIGHT 145g functionality is all you need. WEBSITE www.garmin.co.uk
OCTOBER 2012 TRAIL 99
Yr Elen from the north-east ridge. tom hutton
On Tryfan, looking across to Pen Yr Ole Wen. tom bailey
Foel-fras from Foel Grach. tom hutton
On Glyder Fach, looking towards Glyder Fawr (and ultimately Y Garn). tom bailey
Carnedd Llewelyn. tom hutton
welsh 3000ers ultimate weekend Tryfan, seen from the east ridge of Pen yr Ole Wen. tom bailey
Crib Goch, Crib y Ddysgl and Snowdon. tom bailey
Elidir Fawr from Bwlch y Marchlyn. tom hutton