Blog updates are only on an
"ad hoc" basis when I have something to say and will not be
particularly regular. Latest entries first.
It has been suggested to me by several people that I should charge for my walk information and indeed I have had unsolicited offers of payment (declined) from people who have used my directions. I am flattered that people think the information is worth charging for but I have deliberately chosen to keep it free to encourage walking. If you want to be kind, you could make a donation to the funds to build a bridge over the River Wharfe via the Burley Bridge Association website at
I live in
this Wharfedale village, which is the only one in Wharfedale not to have a
bridge to link it to footpaths at the opposite side of the river. Crossing
of the river Wharfe, one of the fastest rising in the country, is currently
precarious and intermittent, over stepping stones. There has been one
campaign or another to have a bridge built for 120 years and finally, there
is now a chance, as both North Yorkshire and Bradford Councils' Rights of
Way Improvement Plans and the Burley in Wharfedale Neighbourhood Development
Plan, adopted by Bradford Council after the village referendum in May 2018,
are all in support. However £500,000 to £600,000 is needed to build the bridge and
provide a long term fund for maintenance. It will not be funded from council
A bridge will
link the south side of the river to footpaths stretching into the Nidderdale
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and beyond. Various fund raising events
have been held and more are planned but, as they say, every little helps!
27 November 2023
On various pages of my site, I host Amazon
links for various walking products, notably OS maps, to provide an easy link
for visitors to my site and save them having to do more searches. As an Amazon Associate I
do earn a small commission from qualifying purchases, which I use to
offset the costs of the website, so keeping the content free. The majority
of the links include an image to clarify what the product is. Unfortunately,
Amazon have decided to 'deprecate' (their word) this function with the image
and phase it out. In the meantime they have chosen to replace some of the
links, on a somewhat random basis, with a rather annoying, orange, flashing,
general advert to purchase books etc. This seems to primarily affect iPhones/iPads
to my knowledge but may affect other devices.
I am in the process of removing the image
links but as there are around 400 walks on the site, all of which have to be
visited individually, it is going to take me a while to complete the task.
All the map links on the walks will now take you to the complete List
of OS Maps, the links on which, to the individual maps, are unaffected.
pointed out that one of the links on my page for Footpath Closures had
ceased to work. I was grateful for that and took the opportunity to check
them all and indeed add some more. A lot had stopped working. Obviously, I
am not important enough for local authorities to keep me informed of their
website changes but it is annoying. I rely on YOU, visitors to my
site, to let me know if any links anywhere stop working. I just cannot keep
a watching brief on them all.
became obvious is that all local authority sites are slightly different. Why
can that not all use a common format? Some do not even seem to have a
Footpath Closure section at all. The West Yorkshire authorities seem
particularly poor. Even if there are no Right of Way closures in their area
currently, you should be able to find a page which says so easily.
I was very
sad to hear about some moron taking a chain saw to the famous sycamore tree
at Sycamore Gap in Northumberland by Hadrian's Wall, evidently causing some
damage to the wall in the process. It was not "just a tree" and it
was very important to many. It was an icon of the area used as an
emblem by businesses. Some people had scattered the ashes of loved ones
there. It was a very popular and much loved tree, reputedly the most
photographed in the country and in fact won English Tree of the Year in
2016. As I write, a man in his 60s and a 16 year old boy have been
arrested and investigations are ongoing. Given the popularity of the tree
and strength of feeling, I would not be surprised if any local people found
guilty, once identified, feel obliged to leave the area.
If any of the
visitors to my site are using the OS Maps Premium service, all my walks are
on there. You can download the GPX files on to your phone and use it to
guide you. It is extremely accurate. However be aware that it uses quite a
lot of battery in constant use. The age of the phone can make a big
difference as I found when I tried to use it on a five year old iPhone.
Essentially it was not practical to use it other than for a very occasional
check. I prefer generally to use my very old Garmin GPS receiver for the
bulk of a walk because it will run for hours on a set of rechargeable
batteries. However this does not have a detailed map so on the occasions
where I need a bit more accuracy (say on which side of a wall) I check on
the phone. However I still carry a paper map as backup.
particular walk on the OS website is not easy. To find mine, you need to set
it on "All Routes" and zoom into where the starting point is. If
you zoom in as far as you can, when you click on the icon, a list of walks
that start there should pop up. All my walks start with "Happy
Hiker walk", then the same name as the walk on my website.
Sad to hear
this week of the three deaths of people who fell from the Aonach Eagach mountain ridge
at Glen Coe. Take care out there.
23 July 2023
Cannot believe it is so long since I posted
anything but I have not had a great deal to report. Holidays so far this
year have taken me to County Durham,, Norfolk (where I climbed its highest
"peak"!), North Devon and Herefordshire. Herefordshire was
somewhere I had never been before, which was the main reason for going. It
is a lovely, rural place with some great little towns. I have walks to write
up from all these areas but I have got seriously behind with the writing up.
I did a little poll on Twitter to ask which area I should do first and
County Durham won. Therefore today, I publish my Mickleton to Romaldkirk
walk, the last of my Co. Durham walks from this year's trip.
I suppose one bit of news is that I have
bought a new car. My previous Kia Sorento, which I had from new, was 11
years old. I loved it and it was good for years yet but perhaps unusually in
a family, it was my wife who wanted me to get a new one. I think normally it
would be the man agitating. After much research, I opted for a Skoda Kodiaq.
It is petrol, automatic and a 4x4, my first automatic. I suppose I am
pleased with it but hardly excited. Cars do not interest me as they did when
I was young. I need a 4x4 because I tow a caravan and often stay on farm
fields. Having been stuck in the past, I did not find that a lot of fun!
Electric was out of the question because I
often drive to the other end of the country for holidays with my caravan.
Charging facilities are not remotely at a quantity which is sufficient for
EVs generally and not likely to be for years yet. Also, the ranges quoted by
the manufacturers are basically lies and you can imaging what sticking a
caravan on the back will do to them!. Hybrids do not appeal because once the
electric power is exhausted, you burn more fuel than if it was not a hybrid,
because of the extra weight of the electric motor and batteries. I do not
think they are very green at all.
On a more cheerful note, I have had more
emails of appreciation for my walking routes and some people seem to be
working through them, which is nice to hear.
I have written on two occasions to the
relevant footpath officers at local authorities to report problems with
footpaths, one blocked and one signposted but does not exist! I would
encourage all walkers to report issues. The officials responsible have huge
areas to cover. They cannot walk the paths all the time to check on them,
there are just too many. The only way they will be aware of issues will be
if someone reports them so please do your bit.
16 March 2023
You may have noticed, like many other
websites, happyhiker now has an annoying pop-up which you have to click
before accessing. It starts by saying:
happyhiker.co.uk asks for your consent to use your personal data to:
Personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development
Store and/or access information on a device
It ends with an option to "Manage
Options" or "Consent".
This notice is being kindly provided by
Google to meet the conditions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
There is more information on this on my Privacy
Policy page. I find these pop-ups annoying and indeed have ignored the
requirement for long enough. Too long really, not least because I needed to
get my head round the process for installing it. I always just click
"Consent" on these pop-ups and have never noticed anything
untoward as a result but there are a fair number of options under
"Manage Options" if you want to be bothered.
Happy Hiker itself - i.e.me! - collect no
personal information at all about anyone who visits my site. The only
information I have access to are anonymous statistics in relation to
visitors to the site and which adverts (income from which helps offset the
costs, rather than me charging for information) are used.
I fear that whilst there is an obsession with
data privacy, such pop-ups will remain with us. Sorry but there it is.
nothing more frustrating that planning a walk involving the use of stepping
stones, only to find that when you get there, they are under water. It is
especially frustrating when the stepping stones are half a mile from their
nearest access point. The stones at Burley in Wharfedale are a perfect
example. To help resolve this problem, I reasoned that the river level
recorded at the Government measuring station only some 4 miles upstream, at
Ilkley, where live data is available, must have a bearing. I therefore
carried out a study.
In short, the stepping stones at Burley are just passable with care, if the
river level at Ilkley is 0.17m or less. Anything more and some of the stones
are likely to be under water, with attendant risk of slipping. The Ilkley
river level can be seen at https://check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk/station/8106.
Do not under
estimate the danger when this river is high. There have been fatalities in
21 February 2023
There is a long ongoing saga about a disputed
access from Open Access land at Mill House in Barbondale on the west of the
Yorkshire Dales (see Annex
to Calf Top Walk and Leaving Access Land at Mill House). Although there
is a Right of Way via a public footpath south west from the property, the
owner claims there is no Right of Way from the Open Access land to link with
this footpath, even though it is a matter of only a few yards. What is now
believed to be a substantial gate and notice seek to deter walkers. A local
resident, Mark Braithwaite, who lives not far from Mill House, believes
there should be a right of access to/from the fells at Mill House. He is
applying for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) and is anxious to
receive information from any one who used this route anytime earlier than
2010 or if anyone had used it without challenge. If you can help, please
contact him directly at email@example.com.
He has confirmed he is happy to
have his details published.
interest that Natural England are beginning a project to uncover the secrets
of Holloways, sunken lanes that can be rich in historical and cultural
value. Holloways are lanes/paths that have become 'sunken' through centuries
of erosion, due to repeated use by people, animals and carts. Some even go
back as far as the Romans. They usually have hedges or trees on each side
often leading to a tunnel like effect, especially if the trees on each side
become intertwined overhead. Some are as much as 10m deep.
Most of these
lanes have become overgrown and are forgotten and unexplored whilst others
have become part of the public footpath network. Many have detailed
carvings/graffiti carved into rocky sides.
project in Dorset it is hoped will be completed by the end of March 2023.
project is inviting people to share pictures and details of their local
ancient paths via twitter using #sunkenlanes
will be interesting to see what they come up with and whether it will
provide additional walking opportunities.
GPS Receivers/Mobile Phones to Navigate
a different topic, I noticed recently that a
recent survey by Mountaineering Scotland found that of 4000 who took part,
87% used mobile phones or GPS to navigate on hills and mountains. 40% of
those said that their device had stopped working while using them,
presumably mostly through running out of battery, though possibly
malfunctions or breakage might have played a part. If my maths is correct,
that means that 1392 (or 35% of the 4000) were potential Mountain Rescue
call-outs! This really is not fair. Mountain Rescue teams are volunteers and
are real people with lives of their own, which should not be unnecessarily
put at risk.
God's sake, always carry an OS map and compass and maybe occasionally use
them to keep your hand in. OS maps are only around £8. This is probably
less than the cost of a round of drinks for two, which I suspect most
walkers would not hesitate to spend. Here is a full list of OS
can get a serviceable compass
for under a tenner.
All information on this
site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.