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H-App-y Hiking…

 

hikinghead

We’re lucky enough to live right on the edge of the countryside but, other than taking the dogs around a couple of fields, we never really taken advantage of it. There’s loads of footpaths leading off our usual dog walk and we wanted to go exploring, so I started looking online for maps of local footpaths…and I stumbled across an app called ViewRanger GPS

To start out with we were only using the free maps on ViewRanger to plan our walks (hikes, rambles, slogs through the mud…call them what you will) on public footpaths and bridleways, but there’s a lot more to it than just maps (although I didn’t know this at first).

I wanted to track our route and see how far we were going, so I downloaded Map My Walk (an app I’ve used before to track my walk to and from work) to use alongside the maps…

It tracks you every step of the way and at the end of your “workout” it highlights your route on a map (predictably) and gives you a whole load of information once the “workout” is done…how far we’ve walked…how long it took us…where we went…approximately how many calories we’ve burnt (it doesn’t know we’re lumbering through mud, climbing over stiles, battling dogs and carrying babies on our chests)…how quickly we walked each kilometre…the elevation of the hills we’ve climbed up and down…and I’m sure it has loads of other features that I’m neglecting to use/mention.

It was only recently that I discovered you can do pretty much all that using ViewRanger itself…

It’s not a spectacularly easy app to use, but after taking a bit more time to look around it properly (i.e. when sat on my sofa, rather than being pulled through mud by an overly enthusiastic Cockapoo) I figured out that I can use it to record the route as we’re walking (and later look back at how far we’ve come, the speed we went at, and the hills that we have walked up and down), follow a previously recorded route, and even plot a route for future walking. This last feature is interesting as (with a bit of practice at using it) I’ll be able to properly plan a route and know how far we’ll be walking before we walk it.

You can also follow tracks that other users have recorded (some are free, others cost a nominal fee to access), which might be useful when we’re not so close to home.

Getting out in the fresh air and (sometimes) the sunshine has done wonders for my low mood, and I’ve found that just making this one change has helped me to make changes elsewhere. Not only do I feel like I’m achieving something, but I’m more motivated to do things around the house and I feel fitter, more capable…it’s amazing what some fresh air and beautiful views can do.

hikingend

We’ve had some really lovely walks, even when they’ve been hard work…and some have been harder than others! Stiles are hard enough as it is when you’re:

  1. overweight
  2. carrying a baby in a carrier on your chest

…but when you are having to lift a 20 kilo Staffy and an 11 kilo Cockapoo over them too it starts getting a little bit silly. What’s even sillier is when someone (me) says “Don’t worry, they won’t ALL be like this…” and then six stiles later that same someone is apologising profusely to their fellow walkers and the poor confused dogs. I was very glad that my little sister was with us for that particular expedition. We won’t be walking that track again…

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Days Out, Life

 

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