The new and improved Planning a Walk section!

Published 20 October 2018

Fingerpost pointing to Grindleford Station

To the station!

Look. How on earth can you have something that’s both “new” and “improved”? Both can’t be done at the same time. It’s either “new”, or it’s “improved”. Yet this meaningless phrase is used all over the place, especially by people who really should know better.

People like me? Yeah, probably. But it’s a headline. Something to grab your attention. And that might well be necessary.

Back in July I said this:

Rambling Man’s going to be taking a little break for the next couple of months to allow me to focus on the epic task of both writing up my Yorkshire Wolds Way walk, and sorting out the 800 photos I took. That and going on holiday… But we’ll be back with the Yorkshire Wolds Way, hopefully more Wainwrights, and if you’re really lucky, tales of my West Highland Way walk from 2009!

Well it’s been a couple of months so I thought I probably should break cover and say hello before disappearing.

I had originally hoped that November would see me start publishing my Yorkshire Wolds Way series, but it’s not quite ready. It currently stands at 14,278 words which is quite impressive for a five day walk. The editing process is taking quite some time, and I haven’t even written the introduction yet. Still, it will hopefully be worth it. Especially if you like references to Adrian Chiles and Countryfile.

But I have also been busy with other things as well. In the last few days I’ve just finished the latest review of the Planning a Walk section of this website.

Planning a Walk is – without a doubt – the most popular section of this website. There’s seventeen guides now, with two more in the pipeline. And to keep them useful, I regularly review and update each guide.

Every link is checked. References to buses are checked. Any businesses mentioned are checked. And any references to guide books and maps are checked.

The reason is that things change. Publishers update guidebooks and maps every now and then. This website includes links that allow you to buy them directly, but that’s no use if the links no longer work, or take you to an out of date edition.

Bus routes change. And in the current era of austerity, that usually means one thing: the services are cut. Over the last few years I’ve culled numerous mentions of bus routes for the simple reason that the bus no longer exists. This often happens as cash strapped councils have culled the number of buses they subsidise.

Businesses change. Two years ago a new B&B sprang to life in a remote (and really useful) part of the Pennine Way. Now it appears to have closed again. Annoying but that’s reality. Businesses start, businesses adapt, businesses die.

And links change. And of the items I mention, this is the most annoying aspect of updating the Planning a Walk section. In fact it can regularly be infuriating.

Why? So much of my effort is totally unnecessary.

How many times have you followed a link to a website and then, when you’ve got there, you’ve been presented with a big message saying “Page not found”. Usually it means one thing. The website has been redesigned and they’ve changed the web address for all their pages.

Annoyingly this doesn’t need to happen. It’s really simple for website owners to, when they change things, redirect us – the user – to the new location of the page. In fact it makes total sense to do this. Many websites do do this. Take the YHA for example. They’ve revamped their website in the last year or too. But when you follow a link to (say) YHA Black Sail that was from their previous site, it silently redirects you to the new version. You don’t even need to know or care that anything has changed.

If they can do it, anyone can. So why don’t they? Why, National Trust for Scotland, didn’t you when you revamped your website recently? Why did you dump all your users at a page saying “Looks like you’re a bit lost!” Yes, too right I was lost. I was lost because YOU BROKE EVERYTHING.

Just imagine if you closed a road and didn’t put up any diversion signs. All the car drivers have no idea where to go because there’s no signs. That’s what you’ve just done National Trust for Scotland. And even worse, you’ve blamed your users for the fact you’ve not put any signs up!

Sadly National Trust for Scotland are not the only ones who do this. But they’re at the forefront of my mind right now having been the organisation who caused me the most work trying to fix the mess they made to my website.

Of course it’s not all bad stuff that goes on in these updates. Sometimes I actually add new content too. This year I’ve added something that I hope will be very useful to many of the users of the guides. And that’s information about holiday bookers and baggage transfers.

I do get regular emails on this very subject so I hope it will be useful to many. For most guides I have linked off to information available on other websites, usually official websites for the walking trail. But in other cases I’ve included direct links to the operators. I’m not making personal recommendations, nor am I taking money to include the links on this site – just pointing you in the right direction.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. And now I will disappear again for a bit longer. But rest assured, I will return at some point. And not just with the Yorkshire Wolds Way. I also have the final section of the Gritstone Trail to share with you. And all being well, some Wainwrights too. And some other gibberish too, I’m sure.

See you soon!

Your Comments

Ted

22 November 2018 at 11:36 am

New and improved! Yeah tell me about it Andrew. On an old blog of mine I mad a big noise about the appalling signage on the Ridgway (going up) between Princes Risborough and Wendover. A TV news article said the maps and signage were going to be redone. Well the “improvement” was one sign, wooden in color and that’s just not “it”.

The official sign is white with black lettering. This can be seen in almost all light conditions, the wooden ones are terrible (regardless of their condition). I wish the powers to be would stick with the official one, it would make life a lot easier for everyone.

My current response is screw the signs. I’m learning some orienteering and will try to compensate for the out of date grid lines and magnetic north doing a waltz by just heading in the general direction. That way I know a 5 miler could turn into 10 miles, but at least I’ll enjoy myself.

Of course it’s now winter and where I live is 3-5 hours to get somewhere and maybe 1 hour of hiking, so I just do a local country park and try to stay in shape 😉

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