Personal News

I gather from some of the spam, abuse and trolling I have had on my RR sites since they were created in 2012 to remember my mum, that some followers are here for the personal information and not the outdoor content. I have tried and failed to signpost those people to the news section of my personal website since early 2014, so, very reluctantly I am posting this here on my blog, a paid for website which I hope is accessible to all.

Feel free to ignore this post if it doesn’t interest you, but trolls should realise that no amount of online stalking, trolling or spamming will make the following post any less true, or will prevent me from reporting offenders.

Stephanie (Rose) ๐ŸŒน

From 2000 โ€“ 2009, while my mother was terminally ill, I tried to clarify whether I could help the police and to report several crimes including an underage assault, firstly via a solicitor who did not have my best interests at heart, then via my brother who would not take my calls, and finally via a friend acting as a go between with the police. Shortly before my mother passed away in 2009, my go-betweenโ€™s Facebook messages were hacked. The net result of all this was that nothing was resolved while my mother was alive and a ton of evidence, involving several separate cases, went unreported. Following my motherโ€™s death, there was little incentive for me to become further involved with these cases, most of which should have come to light long ago, and in 2012 I created this blog to remember her amidst the devastation.

Anyway, I am gradually reporting some of the things I was prevented from reporting when my mother was alive in writing, as I feel able, including the underage rape. Although I have had absolutely no feedback on most of these reports, 2019 ended on a real low as I received the predictable news that the rape has not been crimed by Northumbria Police, meaning that not one prosecution has resulted from any of the reports I have made to this force since I was 12 years old (including two assaults and two rapes).

It seems to follow the same format each time I report anything from when I was a child. Northumbria Police firstly pathologizes me, then isolates me from my main witnesses or corroborators, sometimes for years, and seems to harvest them for information about me. In the meantime the accused says any old rubbish and the case is dropped. I have been through this routine before and am beginning to feel as if there is a formula at work.

As I have said to the investigating officer, depriving abuse survivors of contact with anyone who might support their allegation is a barbaric practice, which results in much unnecessary suffering for victims who donโ€™t understand why they canโ€™t speak to their closest family or friends, and that in turn results in failure to report other crimes. My own experiences (detailed on my personal website) are testimony to this.

I have begun to feel that it is just not worth the hurt and upset to keep making allegations which are not progressed or lost, so it is unlikely I will report any further cases to this force. I try to remain positive by kidding myself that people read the news posts on my website, and that they are accessible to all.

From a post on stephaniehakin.com dated December 8th 2019.

Highlights of 2019

Although my first complete year in Scotland has been a relatively quiet outdoor year, I think I have made the right decision to move here after living on the border for 10 years. I have had some great day walks, trips and life experiences, which only living in Scotland could have afforded me. I wish you all a very happy and successful year for 2020 and hope you will return to my sites in the new year.

Rose ๐ŸŒน

Season's Greetings

Wishing you all the best for the festive season and Hogmanay

I was sent this quotation by a friend and hope you will identify with it:

โ€œAbove all do not loose your desire to walk: everyday I walk myself into a state of wellbeing and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that I cannot walk away from it”.
Kierkegaard. 1847.

Rose ๐ŸŒน

Election Exercise

I have recently discovered that my long distance hiking has given me a certain amount of stamina, which I have finally found a constructive use for, delivering leaflets, letters and canvassing for the forthcoming election. It is nice to be able to combine doing something I enjoy, with something I believe in, so I am discovering the people, the tenements and the colonies of Edinburgh one staircase at a time.

While doing this I have developed a huge respect for the postal workers of the city, who climb the equivalent of a mountain in an average week. I have also discovered a secret side to the city I love in the many hidden gardens high up in the tenement blocks. I thought I’d share some of my urban explorations here to prove that you don’t need to be in the countryside to have an adventure, and that electioneering can be a unique way to get to know a place.

If you aren’t already registered to vote, it only takes 5 minutes on the UK government website to make sure your voice is heard.

Hostelling

The Youth Hostelling Association for England and Wales, the Scottish Youth Hostelling Association for Scotland, Hostelling International NI for Northern Ireland and the many private hostels & bunkhouses springing up around Britain can be a hidden treasure.

If there are rooms available when you need them, hostelling can enable you to stay in or near places where accommodation prices are at a premium, as well as places which are only accessible on foot. In comparison to the blandness of some budget hotels, hostels embrace a cornucopia of styles and periods, from humble cottages to grand mansions.

The Sill Entrance
Entrance to The Sill YHA, Northumberland

Unfortunately there has been a recent tendency towards whole hostel letting by the YHA which has had the effect of sidelining individual and family customers like myself.

Coniston Coppermines
Coniston Coppermines YHA, Cumbria

In spite of the name, I am told that you do not have to be young to stay at a youth hostel. Apparently the remit of the YHA is aimed at people of all ages.

Windermere YHA
Windermere YHA, Cumbria

There is no such thing as a “typical” hostel which is why they can be such a pleasure to stay in.

Berwick YHA
Berwick upon Tweed YHA, Northumberland

Hiking can become an expensive hobby by the time you have spent money buying your kit, paid high season B&B prices & possibly employed a courier. I was told by many hikers that camping was the answer, and to some extent it is. Keeping open the option to camp will mean that you are never stuck for somewhere to stay.

Langdale YHA
Langdale YHA near Elterwater, Cumbria

However there will sometimes be days, even when you camp, when you need some rest and recuperation, as well as some first world facilities such as warmth, power supplies, hot showers, laundry facilities, cooking facilities, meals, a bar, wifi and even an en-suite private room. These are some of the facilities sometimes on offer when rooms are available.

Berwick
Restaurant at Berwick YHA, Northumberland

Haworth YHA
Dining room at Haworth YHA, West Yorkshire

Some routes and areas are more generously appointed with hostels and bunkhouses than others. The Pennine Way and the Lake District for example, because of their popularity, are very well provided with excellent places, but Northumberland has very few.

Butharlyp Howe YHA
Butharlyp Howe YHA at Grasmere, Cumbria

One advantage of joining one of the hosteling organisations is that you can get a discount on the cost of a room and membership of the International organisation Hostelling International.

Greenhead
Greenhead Hostel, Northumberland

In addition to YHA hostels, a huge range of independent hostels and bunkhouses can be found on the independenthostelguide website. They are sometimes easier to get in to than the YHA hostels.

Rothbury
Rothbury Bunkhouse, Northumberland

Kendal Hostel
Dining Room at Kendal Hostel, Cumbria

I was quite a late starter to hostelling, so in case you are like me, here are some pointers about what to expect when you stay at a hostel:

What to expect.

  • Rooms are sometimes only available at weekends or in high season for individuals and families because of block booking.
  • You will usually have the choice of a shared dormitory room with bunkbeds (usually but not always single sex) or a private or family room.
  • You may be expected to make your own bed up when you arrive and put your used bedding in the laundry baskets when you leave.
  • Youth hostels sometimes close during the day from about 10am until 4pm for cleaning so it is unwise to arrive during these hours.
  • You may have the choice to self cater or eat meals provided by the hostel. It is worth indicating your intention before you arrive
  • There are usually lockers available on request for your gear.
  • There is sometimes a curfew time when the doors are locked but you should be given a key or code which will enable you to get in after hours
  • Three things which are often useful in shared dormitories are a little torch for creeping in after other people have gone to bed, an extension lead as there are sometimes not enough sockets for recharging if the room is full, and ear plugs if you are easily disturbed during the night.
  • Staff are normally knowledgable about the local area and are happy to suggest facilities, walks or climbs nearby.
  • You can wash and dry clothes and boots at most hostels and they are usually willing to hold parcels for you until you arrive.
  • Wifi is available in most hostels except those in remote locations.
  • Most hostels are relaxed and friendly but the ethos is fairly DIY.

Kirkby Stephen Hostel
Kirkby Stephen Hostel lounge, Cumbria

This is an updated re-issue of a page originally published in 2013 following a couple of years of using hostels on long distance walks and some shorter trips.

Revamped Reviews

As a great consumer of outdoor films and books, I began writing reviews for this site some time ago. I hope regular readers have enjoyed the selection of outdoor reviews, which include British, European, Asian and American adventures.

Since returning to my blog, I have added quite a few book and film reviews as well as introducing sections on Global adventures, Autobiographies and Guide Books to the mix. If you have suggestions on things for me to read or watch, or you would like to send me a review copy, please use the contact form on this site.

reviews

Thanks for reading and watching

Creating a walk

Having created a long distance route from a map for a challenge event, I was reminded that following pre-existing routes with signs, guides, waymarks, apps and other hikers for company is reassuring and even soporific at times. However as you may know, once you can absorb the information contained in a  map, it becomes easier to create a route of your own. If you have ever looked at Foul Weather Alternatives or taken a short cut, then you have created your own walk.

OS Maps
OS Maps

My background has involved following a lot of other people’s routes, and a helpful spell of route checking for the Ramblers. Their training covered areas such as safety, legality, accessibility, topography, themes and focal points on routes. There are then two stages involved in the process of creating a route. One involves looking at the route on your map and in satellite view (which can reveal inaccuracies in the map), and the other is to reccy the route on foot with all these issues in mind.

Maps
Harvey Maps

What should a good route involve?

The legality of a route is essential if you are offering it for other people to follow. It is therefore good to familiarise yourself with the symbols which denote what type of track it is; right of way, bridle way etc and any rules and exemptions which apply.

Camping Signs
Route signage

Safety is a crucial issue so it is important to be aware of any potential hazards such as river’s in spate, slippery rocks, eroded tracks or obstructions such as fallen trees. You should then try to incorporate these into your route data. 

tree trunk
Fallen tree

In case of access issues and the use of wheeled vehicles, it is helpful to mention any steps or stiles on the route and a note on the condition of the tracks i.e whether they are full of potholes or overgrown.

Boardwalk
Boardwalk

Focal Points

The received wisdom when I trained was that a good walk should involve a focal point/s. This could be a view, or historic, natural, sacred, architectural or topographic features in the case of a day hike. In the case of a distance hike there is the opportunity to introduce a theme or feature such as the Pennines (Pennine Way), historic landmarks (Hadrian’s Wall), Abbeys (Borders Abbeys Way) or geographical features such as a river (Speyside Way). A walk could also follow a person’s life (John Muir Trail) or encompass a pilgrimage route (Camino di Santiago).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Steps on St Cuthbert’s Way

Questions

When working from the map, the following questions could be considered when creating a day hike:

Are the start and finish accessible?

Is the walk is do-able?

What are the gradients like?

Has it got a gradual start?

Does it have variety?

Does it include suitable rest places and shelter?

Are there any avoidable eyesores?

For a distance hike you could add these questions to your list:

How far apart are the resupply points?

Where are the water supplies?

Is there a variety of accommodation?

Is it possible to backpack the route?

Are refreshments available?

Summary

This is just a sketch of some of the issues and questions to bear in mind when walking somebody else’s route or creating your own. It can be interesting to evaluate the decisions which have been made for you on pre-existing routes, and to try and improve on them on your own walk. This can become the first step towards creating your own.

With thanks to the Ramblers for the experience, opportunities and training.

ViewRanger Top Publisher Award 2018

I have been digging my old trumpet out from the top of the cupboard and dusting it off to receive this very exciting ViewRangerย award, alongside 9 other distinguished recipients.

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Craig Wareham, Co-Founder and CEO at ViewRanger, describes the annual award as follows:

‘The Top Publisher Award recognises people, organizations and publishers creating interesting, engaging, and high quality trail guide content.ย Each year, just ten outdoor organizations and authors receive our top award for contributing outstanding digital content, including route descriptions, turn-by-turn directions and photos to share with the growing ViewRanger outdoor community’

Press Release Image
All 10 of the 2018 Top Publisher Award Winners

By way of acknowledgement, ViewRanger has dragged my blog out of the dusty filing cabinets and card indexes where it was created, and into the digital present. The ViewRanger App provided me with exactly the tools I needed to make my routes accessible to a wider audience and to communicate directly with users.

Thanks to my followers and all at ViewRanger for making it happen for all my Rucksack Rose sites.

rravatarsa4
Rucksack Rose – Avatars