The world of routes in particular, has become more complex than it used to be. Personally I like to have paperback route books rather than ebooks, which I tend to read beforehand to save weight. However, I usually read my fiction, adventure and technical books on my e book reader.
Regarding navigation, I prefer to keep my options open and switch from one method to another as and when the need arises, having lost maps and had phone battery run out. I explore maps, route books and apps to get ideas for my walks as well as downloading and recording routes on Viewranger. At times I have relied entirely on digital GPX routes, but I am finding that maps and books remain important resources for me. I now try to ensure that I have a map and a digital route back up on all walks, but I am happy with either on it’s own.
It is a strange hybrid world that outdoor users live in now, with proponents of different methods debating which is best. Recent discussion has turned to the unreliability of some downloads by or for inexperienced users.
In acknowledgement of the good use I have put my day route books to, I thought it would be a timely moment to mention a few of the old school route reference books I use as well as the downloads:
- Townsend, Chris. ‘World Mountain Ranges – Scotland’ Cicerone. 2010
- ‘The UK Trailwalker’s Handbook’ Eighth Edition. LDWA. 2009
- Bagshaw, Chris et al. ’50 Walks in Durham and Northumbria’ AA. 2010
- Baker, Edward. ‘Walking the Cheviots’ Sigma. 1996. Out of print.
- Baker, Edward. ‘Walks in the Secret Kingdom’ Sigma. 1998. Out of Print
- Brooks & Conduit. ‘Northumberland, The Borders and Hadrian’s Wall’ Pathfinder. 2000
- Hall, Alan. ‘Walking in Northumberland’ Cicerone. 2010
- Hallewell, Richard. ‘Short Walks in Northumbria’ The Ramblers. Collins. 2011
- Hall, Alan. ‘The Border Country – A Walker’s Guide’ Cicerone. 2010
- Jackson, Peter. ’25 Walks. The Scottish Borders’ Mercat Press. 2009
- Turnbull, Ronald. ‘Ben Nevis and Glencoe’ Cicerone. 2007
- Scotways. ‘Scottish Hill Tracks’ Scottish Mountaineering Trust. 2011.
My go-to sites for digital downloads are:
- LDWA website (Long Distance Walkers Association) for long distance walks in Britain (downloads only available to members)
- Walkhighlands.co.uk for long distance walks and day walks throughout Scotland
- Viewranger navigation site and app on which I upload and download routes.
If you would like to recommend any new or interesting route books, sites, apps or maps, please let me know.