The annual updates to Planning a Trip

Published 5 November 2014

Summer Horseride closed sign

As the nights start drawing in, work begins in earnest in Rambling Man Towers. For come January people start planning their years walking adventures, and a fair number of people do so by visiting the Planning a Trip section for help and advice.

Before they do however, there’s work to do. Whilst I do update the various pages for the walks on a regular basis as and when I see some information that needs changing, in Autumn I do a full “spring” clean. Guide books and maps are reviewed to ensure the latest editions are linked to (or, even, that they’ve not gone out of print.) And every link is checked to ensure they still work.

“Link rot” is a bit of a problem on the web. Websites have a habit of redesigning, and when they do, links to individual pages often stop working completely. It’s incredibly infuriating, especially given the technology exists to seamlessly transport the visitor to the new URL. Rambling Man came online in May 2011, and whilst the website design hasn’t changed that much since then (just evolved a little), there’s been quite a few changes behind the scenes which have meant some URLs have changed. But you as a reader should never know – you just get put in the right place. If only more people did that…

Of course that doesn’t stop the sites that just drop off the internet completely. This year the big departure was glyndwrswayaccommodation.co.uk, an accommodation directory for the Glyndŵr’s Way operated by the “Glyndŵr’s Way Association” which seems to have sunk without trace some time since last autumn. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you who the Glyndŵr’s Way Association were as there’s nothing online about them at all. They had a grand title but it could just have been one dude in a room in Powys for all I know.

Sometimes too I add new information or tweak the format. This year I’ve added a little info on the type of walk – whether it’s waymarked, a National Trail etc. More importantly though is the addition of the route maps to each of the Planning posts. The maps have been available on the website for a while on standalone pages, but they’re a bit hidden and not particularly well used. Putting them on the planning posts seems an exceedingly sensible idea and one that I hope will make the maps more useful. As a consequence of this, the standalone map section will soon be disappearing.

Perhaps less useful for readers, but potentially useful for me, is a new option to buy me a pint at the end of each guide! With a single link anyone finding the post useful can send me £3.00 for a beer. Okay, at London prices it’s not quite enough for a pint, but never mind. If you ever fancy giving me a drink for all the hard work that goes into this site, well you can.

Small amounts of cash aside, the main thing with these annual reviews is to keep the posts up to date and useful. I write the planning posts based on personal experience of walking each one, and they can take some time to get right. But people find them useful and I want them to continue to be able to do so.

Come January, if you’re thinking about doing a walk, why not pop over and get some information? As long as it’s a walk I’ve done, anyway!

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