Updating the Planning a Walk section for 2016

Published 19 October 2016

West Highland Way maps and guide books

As I type, I have just finished one of my regular review of the Planning a Walk section. It’s one of the most popular parts of this website, and one I always try to keep up to date for there is nothing worse than finding information that’s woefully out of date. I once had to try and arrange a walking trip using an accommodation list where half the entries had gone out of business five years earlier. It was incredibly annoying.

I do ad-hoc updates throughout the year, but every autumn every guide gets a full review. Links are checked (it’s amazing how many suddenly stop working), bus timetables (and operators) get checked, and any specifically named business gets checked to see if they’re still operating.

Hostels and bunkbarns are often prime contenders for disappearing. In other years many have disappeared, or have been threatened with closure. Indeed, the threats make things more complex. Closure was officially announced at YHA Patterdale a few years back, although it never did close and as the place recently got refurbished, I guess they changed their mind. This year the hostel death toll hasn’t been particularly bad, although as I type, the lovely youth hostel at Earby is under threat of closure as the YHA are withdrawing from running it. There’s hope that the local council may take it on, but right now there’s no guarantees.

What also needs to be checked is every guide book and map mentioned on the site. These all link out to Amazon, who give me a small cut of the purchase price every time someone buys through one of the links; the result of which is a small income that helps pay for the running of this website. But if you’re going to promote products, you need to make sure they’re available. Last year Ordnance Survey started republishing all its maps. Last year it was the Explorer series, and this year it’s the Landrangers. Every map has a new addition, which means hundreds of map links to change.

Many guide books have been updated too. When I first started writing this website, a single edition of a guidebook would be available for many years. Now though publishers are updating a lot more frequently. Some books are being updated on an annual basis, which is great for the reader, although a little more effort for me!

All this updating requires time. It’s taken me just short of two months to check all fifteen guides currently available, usually done in the evening once the children have gone to bed and the washing up has been done. Is it all worth it? Why of course it is. I know that because people send me nice comments thanking me for the work that has been put in.

And now all that is done, it’s time to start of writing another guide; one that will get published in January next year. What walk is that, you wonder? Well you’ll have to wait and see.

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