Any advise please
Oh. Did we not get whiteouts before, say, 1930? Damn bad luck for anyone in the sheep business if we did...
<But let's say it was none. Would these exceptions somewhere mean that maps are always "essential" throughout the whole of the UK? There's no shortage of tracks in lowland England where the waymarking is fine, so neither maps or guides are needed.>
I maintain that, with a few exceptions listed below, a map or guidebook is essential in lowland countryside to navigate a specific route from A to B on public paths competently and without trespassing. This is based on the assumption that you are not familiar with the area.1 Not all public paths are signposted from roads despite it being a legal requirement.2 Signposts rarely indicate the destination of a path.3 Waymarks, even where they exist, merely show the direction of a path. If you come to a junction of several waymarked paths you will not know which one will take you to your intended destination.4 Public paths are not always visible on the ground and it is easy to be misled into believing that a tractor trail or a wide headland is a public path.The only exceptions that come to mind are:1 National trails which are normally exceptionally well waymarked with the acorn symbol which will indicate that you are following the correct route.2 Some recreational routes are also well waymarked with a distinctive symbol.3 if you are content to wander aimlessly without a specific destination in mind and also providing that the local waymarking is sufficiently consistent to prevent your trespassing.4 If you are one of those rare persons with what is popularly known as a 'photographic memory' I suppose that it is just possible that you may be able to memorize the map sufficiently well to recollect the route as you walk. Even so, you would have used a map even if you did not take it with you.
The only exceptions that come to mind are:<snip>
Sorry Hugh, but if you're going to use "only" then it doesn't make sense for your pool of exceptions to be enormous! (Number 2 is a particularly big "but"). It's a bit like saying "no new cars at all, except the ones with metallic paint"...
You'll typically find me with a map or guide and I maintain they are a good idea, but that's not the same thing as "essential".
There are approximately 120,000 miles of public paths in England of which national trails account for a mere 2,500 miles. The total mileage of well-waymarked recreational routes is probably not known but in my experience they can only account for a modest fraction of the total mileage of public paths. I have found that the waymarking on many of the recreational routes marked on OS maps leave lot to be desired and require to be navigated with a map or guidebook in hand.
The total mileage of well-waymarked recreational routes is probably not known but in my experience they can only account for a modest fraction of the total mileage of public paths.
A "modest fraction"... let's guess at 1% just to be pessimistic. 1% of ca. 120,000 miles is still plenty of scope for plenty of people to go for a dander without a map. As is a "mere" 2,500 miles. of national trails It might be a small fraction of the whole path network, but it's still a lot of miles.
Redscotti is quite right, we have strayed a long way from the subject raised by the OP and I apologize for my part in this diversion. This will be my last comment on this subject but feel it is important because I would not like a newbie to be misled by some of Pete's assertions.I concede that it is may be possible to follow some routes through lowland countryside without maps and relying solely on signposts and waymarks but, in practice, it is not and it is unwise to attempt it as the following examples will demonstrate.Some years ago I was following a short section of the Ridgeway National Trail which I knew so well that my map was in my rucksack. I arrived at the high-level, 100-metre long pedestrian bridge over the A41 near Tring in Hertfordshire to find that the night before thieves had stolen the metal metal railings and the police had closed the bridge. There were, as yet, no diversion signs in place so without a map it would have been impossible for me to work out how to continue my walk.A few weeks ago, I was following the Thames Path National Trail which had been diverted near Dorney to allow the construction of the Olympic rowing lake. There were diversion signs but they were not at all clear and I believe that I might have gone astray had I not consulted my map.Some recreational routes follow roads for as long as a mile or so. Without a map or a guidebook how long do you follow the road before you begin to wonder whether you have passed the path that turns off the road? Signposts can go missing or are badly sited and not easily seen. A map will indicate how far you have to follow the road before reaching the path.In some places, notably the Chilterns and the Surrey hills, the path network is so dense and complicated that there can be half a dozen waymarks on a single post directing you along, a couple of footpaths, a bridleway, a circular walk, a nature trail and a recreational route so that it is often difficult to ascertain which path you want for your route.What if the pub at which you had planned to eat has closed? Only a map will show you whether there is another nearby. Finally, how do you know which of the numerous recreational routes are sufficiently well waymarked that they can be followed without a map?My advice is always to take a map and enjoy peace of mind.
I walk around our local woods without a map - even into parts I've not been into before. It's not waymarked. A lot of the other paths around here are, such as the Red Kite Trial. I've bever seen any walkers locally with a map out that I remember.
If I did the Red Kite Trail I'd take a map to save the inconvenience of taking the wrong route if signage is missing, something which can easily happen close to urban areas but could probably get away without it.
So Hugh, Peter is of course right. Your advice is however spot on & more relevant & any newbie reading the thread is unlikely to make any decision on carrying a map or not on one pedantic viewpoint so I'd rest easy & give your keyboard a rest.
If they do, that's life I guess & also another of the ways we learn stuff.
Perhaps to clarify...
my point about nothing much being "essential" was in response to Waldo asking for a list of what of what was "essential", and moving on from ed's suggestion that implied it's not necessarily about stuff.
That had got beyond the realities of whiteout navigation, as noted.
My advice is always to take a map and enjoy peace of mind.
That's why I typically carry a map. But preferable for certain modus operandi and essential for all aren't the same thing. Otherwise that way lies crampon capable boots and full waterproofs to amble round a country park on a nice Sunday afternoon, and condemning practically all our hobby's pioneers as irresponsibly under equipped.
The important bit is knowing what you can do and if it's enough for the job at hand. If what you can do includes reading a map and the job at hand is made much easier with a suitable map, take a suitable map. But don't take a map just because of a blind assumption that "a map is essential". Rule #1 is "engage brain", not "pack a map".
> Rule #1 is "engage brain", not "pack a map".
Or, put another way:
Q: What kit is essential?
A: It depends...
LEKI are pole specialists - making poles is what they do
No matter your idea of fun, the new CNX footwear range is made for play
Become a fan of OutdoorsMagic
Follow us on twitter
Sign up to our free newsletter
Meet partners in our forum
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk