Each walk’s description is roughly in the order we walked it. I’m only going to give very rough indications of where to go for two reasons:
- I can’t be bothered typing in a lot of detail, and
- The whole point of going for a walk is that you think for yourself: plan a route, keep an eye on the weather, make changes if you see something interesting or if the going gets too hard. For example, walks that say “at the edge of the forest take the stile over to…” quickly go pear-shaped when the forest gets cut down (common in D&G) or when the bracken is too high for you to see the stile.
At the end of each walk post I put a summary: basically a way for people with short attention spans to work out whether they would like the walk or not. It’s a bit like the Michelin star ratings that restaurants get except that, obviously, I am open to bribes.
Most summaries have this icon at the start. Click on it to open a window showing a map of the walk, usually the location of the car-park or the summit of the hill.
So what do these ratings mean? Obviously these are totally subjective but rest assured that Jazz and I have discussed it at length on the way home after a walk and agreed on the final result. We break it down into various parts:
|Scenery:||This is a rating out of 5 based on what we like. Obviously your tastes are not as well honed as ours but this will give you a idea of the “wow” factor for your eye-balls. Think of 1 star as a petro-chemical refinery in a wet February; with 5 stars being Glen Tilt in the snow under a cloudless sky.|
|Effort:||Another out of 5 star rating. Clearly people who get winded getting off the couch for another bucket of chips aren’t going to use the same scale as an athlete such as myself. To help you calibrate: 1 star is not even out of breath; 5 stars means “just leave me here Jazz: I want to die”.|
|Do It Again?:||Again, this is a rating out of 5 that tries to summarise the whole walk. Again, to help you decide if it matches what you are looking for: 1 star is “I’d rather listen to politicians” with 5 stars being “I’d rather do this than drink red wine” 1. This is probably the best overall rating for the walk.|
|Distance:||This is expressed in kilometres 2. This may not be the direct route but is what I did (including off-piste photo detours etc). Naturally, Jazz usually did a whole pile more by heading up a nearby hill doing a grouse census but we don’t count this as the official distance of the walk.|
There’s also a bunch of extra features I want to mark on a walk. These use “tags”: short words that describe something. You can then find all the walks with a particular tag by clicking on the “tag cloud” in the margin. The tags will be a growing set but I’ll start with things like:
- This walk is in areas where there are deer so we need to be careful of stalking and other deer management. This is people’s livelihoods: be considerate and check before you go, e.g. the Stalking Hotline during the deer stalking season.
- This walk climbs one or more Donalds.
- No, not a comment on my mental health, but a walk that has some of these weird and spectacular boulders left by the last glacier to pass through.
- This walk should be on your “do before you die” list. 3 This really is the full-fat cream of this collection and only a few make the grade. You’d be an idiot to ignore this recommendation, and you don’t look an idiot 4
- Something went wrong with our normal routine here: Jazz and I were joined by friends for this walk. Being a gentleman I won’t be giving their full names to avoid their public ridicule. Some of these people are obviously slow on the uptake and come back for more. This category also includes people I’m related to, even by marriage.
- This walk includes parts over grouse moor and so should be avoided during the season and dogs on a lead during the breeding season.
- Jazz isn’t allowed to play with livestock (sheep, deer, cows and goats (feral in Galloway)) so is on the lead for at least part of this walk. Shame for her, but better than getting (rightfully) shot.
- We got eaten alive with Culicoides Impunctatus: make sure you have lots of DEET 5 or equivalent during the months of May to September.
- This path is part of the Southern Upland Way, Britain’s first official coast to coast long distance foot-path. It runs 212 miles (340 km) from Portpatrick on the south-west coast of Scotland to Cockburnspath on the eastern seaboard.
- Either this walk involved some odd weather or I’m moaning about weather forecasts.
- The place was alive with wildlife so take your binoculars.
- A staggeringly high level, I’m sure you’d agree. ↩
- I know “miles” sounds more British but everyone younger than me learned km at school and it’s what my little map distance device uses, so that is what we’ll use. It also sounds so much more impressive when your feet ache after a long day. If you are too innumerate to convert kilometres to miles (or leagues or chains or whatever archaic unit you prefer) then I can recommend lots of web sites for the hard of thinking. ↩
- Forget the tosh you read in those coffee-table books of this ilk: this is way better than swimming with dolphins or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro before all the ice melts. ↩
- Well, not in a darkened room with the light behind you. ↩
- Other high-performance insecticides are available ↩