Saturday, 11 March 2017

All mapped out

Hello. A bit more on walking today. Some of you are interested in trying longer walks, perhaps not as long as mine, but a bit further than you normally go. Obviously where you live makes a difference, I cannot give advice for those who live outside the UK as I don't know what your roads and paths are like, or the type of maps you have, so this is mainly for the UK readers.
To start off it might be a good idea to make yourself a measured walk like I have with my three miles, setting off from your front door. If you are on a busy road you might be better to drive to somewhere close by which is quieter and use that as your starting point. 
There are a few sites which will calculate distance, I use  If you find yourself on the home page click course creator, but this link should take you to it. In the box on the bottom right corner put your starting point in the Find UK Place/Postcode box. From home I use my postcode, if I'm away I use place name. 
You want to be working from the OS map on the right but it is a bit small, so to enlarge it click on Toggle Map Sizes. 
Then it grows bigger on that side, and the other side shrinks. Get your start point in the middle, and left click on it, a green marker will appear. You may need to zoom in or zoom out, use the plus and the minus on the top left hand side, to get the scale you want. Then use your mouse to click along the proposed route, it will add the distance up for you, which will appear in the box on the left. If you make a mistake or want to go back and change direction, click Undo. Or if you want to start again click Clear Route. I can't help you if you access the internet with a smaller hand held device, I am not familiar with them.

If you carry a paper map like I do, and mark the route you have walked with a felt tip pen, you can check the distance with this. Bikehike probably has a lot more features, you can show elevation data if you do a lot of hill walking, but I only use it for checking distances. 
I suggest you might want to buy a paper OS map of where you live, and study that. It will give you all the footpaths, tracks, bridleways and roads. It has landmarks like pylons, churches, buildings, bridges, hotels, and tourist information. Start with a one mile route, then increase the distance. 
What you could do when you become more confident in finding your way around, is to get a bus from your house, check the distance that it travels, get off, and walk back. We have a bus which goes to a village five miles away, I sometimes get off there and walk back. Take a map and look for stiles in hedges and walls, between houses, tracks along fields, country roads, and use these to find your way home. I did a post about map reading here. 
The question always arises about safety of walking alone in unfamiliar places. To be honest I have more chance of being run over by a bus or attacked in a town centre than I do in the countryside. Sensible precautions should always be taken, like always being aware of your immediate surroundings. Looking behind to check no one is following. Look to each side in case there is an oddball in the bushes. 
Look at people's faces, if there is anything a bit dodgy looking about them, keep moving, turn a corner, skidaddle. Walk with an air of authority and confidence. If you look scared someone might pick up on it and see you as an easy target. People do speak to me along the way, if I feel a bit uneasy about the person I will say, must keep going, and carry on walking. That very rarely happens, everyone I meet is generally nice and chatty. 
I am probably more confident than a lot of women because of the job I have done. Working with men teaches you a lot of things, like sticking up for yourself. I have a right to walk wherever I like, except private land of course. I will not allow my freedom to roam be curbed by fear. In the years I have been walking alone I have not been attacked, accosted, or approached by undesirables. 
Now I must get some lunch, I am hungry, then I'm going to town for a few things I need. I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon. 
Toodle pip


  1. I love an OS map! It's nearly as good as an interesting novel! I now get quite a buzz too after completing a new route to find out how far I have walked, again thanks to your recommendation using BikeHike. Hope that doesn't sound too sad!

    Well said about not been too afraid to walk on your own. I think common sense and confidence (and a mobile phone in your pocket!) are what are required.

    Regards, Vicki

  2. What an excellent link. A great tool. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for the Bikehike link and instructions. I have been plotting some routes and just found that the walk into town is further than first thought! Good advice on walking too. Thanks. Sarah

  4. in my experience there are more good people in the world than the media would have us believe. I think fondly of strangers who have taken us into their homes or allowed us to camp on their land, when we have been on cycle tours and haven't been able to find a place to stay. I now reciprocate if I see cycle tourists looking lost or needing help.

  5. Thanks or the bike hike info,I'm right on it measuring my walk today. You inspire me. Susan

  6. Good to know you are back home safe and well and in one piece :) Looking forward to reading more about this latest adventure.

  7. Thanks for all this info Ilona, it is helping me to plan a couple of walks. Myself I do worry quite a bit about personal safety, as I am not a very confident person generally and can be easily intimidated. A few years ago a dodgy bloke came up behind me on his bike when I was walking on a beach, he was very threatening and I ran back towards some other people as fast as I could! But I was younger then and could shift myself quicker than I could now. Ever since I have been nervous about people on bikes behind me when I am walking. I think it's good to be aware and I suppose it's just a matter of common sense really. It's not a problem for me as I will just pick routes where I feel safe and comfortable. I picked up an OS map of my area for 50p in a charity shop, so v pleased with that! If anyone is looking for maps I do suggest charity shops, we get loads of them in the shop where I volunteer and they are rarely more than £1 when new ones might cost up to £10 or more.

    1. I get nervous going out.I'm not a confident person,never have been.I bought a personal wrist alarm.If I have seen riff raff nearby I pretend to be talking to someone on my mobile phone and march off.If its an old broken one and someone snatches it or I lose it ,it doesn't matter,keeping better one safely in my pocket.Before I open my front door I take a deep breath low in my tummy,release slowly,put my sunglasses on and go for it x

  8. Hi Ilona, enjoyed following your latest trek ! I was interested in your view of safety , town verses countryside. I remembered Dr. Barbara Moore who walked from Cornwall to Scotland years ago. You probably remember her. I was taken aback a bit when I read that she died when she was hit by car whilst doing a walk in the U.S.A. aged 73yrs. Maybe they don't expect walkers on their highways. Hard to believe with all her experience. So please take care and keep on the grass verge ( even if it is lumpy grass.) lol. The rest of your post is sound common sense, as usual.

  9. Thank you for all this information Ilona - and for your answer to a question I asked in a previous post. You always have a lot of good, sensible advice for us.

  10. Dear Ilona x my hubby is getting ready for a colonoscopy and your walking video cheered him up immensely x thank you so much and congratulations on your fantastic achievement!


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.