happyhiker logo



Privacy & Cookie Policy

My Walks

List of
Ordnance Survey Maps

Walking Time Calculator

Hiking Store


Finding Your way



Right to Roam

Footpath Closures


About Me/Site




Famous Walkers/Hikers


John Kelly
All Rights Reserved


Feedback button

Kindle Books

20 Yorkshire Walks with only one map OL21

Kindle book - My Lanzarote. 10 walks and a personal view

Kindle Book And A Pub For Lunch

20 Walks in the Yorkshire Dales with only one map OL2

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Mobile Phones

Smart phones nowadays are a technological marvel and there is not much you cannot do with them. Almost everyone has one. As they have the ability to know where they are in the World using the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, it did not take the brain boxes long to cotton on to the idea of creating Apps. to record routes electronically, then in conjunction with the GPS, guide you on your walk.

As far as my walks are concerned you can download the .gpx files shown on each walk. To do this you will first need to download one of various Apps. available. The best known is probably Viewranger, which is well respected by Mountain Rescue Teams. Do not use Apps. which rely on being connected to the mobile network to function as route guides.

So who needs a dedicated GPS receiver, map or compass? Well, the answer is you do! Whatever some smart phone enthusiasts may tell you, it is very risky to rely solely on a smart phone. Mountain Rescue Teams have probably lost track of the number of rescues they have been called out on, to walkers lost and/or benighted, because their phone ran out of power. Depending on the model, your phone may seem to hold plenty of charge but if you are navigating out of range a mast, or have switched data off to save your allowance, the phone (assuming you have set it up properly) will  obtain its location signal from satellites. This uses a good bit more power than when it locates itself over the data network. Constant searching for networks in areas with a poor/intermittent signal also uses more power. For that reason, please carry a map and compass and have at least a rudimentary idea of how to use them, even if in practice you always use your phone (or GPS receiver).

There is also the danger too of course that if you actually run out of all power, you might also lose the ability to call for assistance in the event of an emergency. Consider carrying a supplementary Power Pack to top up a phone if you have to. Most smart phones do not allow you to change the battery.

Also, make sure you know how to switch between using data and GPS. I was once led on a walk by a friend using his phone. It gobbled all his data allowance and we had to revert to map and compass because he had only just got the phone and had not worked our the GPS side of it.

Another consideration in respect of mobile phones is how will yours stand up to inclement weather? Apart from any water ingress causing electrical issues, handling them with gloves on can be a problem, unless you have obtained special gloves with conductive fibres in the finger. The function of the glass touch screen relies on a tiny electrical circuit through you! Water droplets on the screen can cause chaotic responses. I also believe very cold fingers can make screens unresponsive.

Personally, to navigate electronically, I would always go for a dedicated GPS receiver. They are more robust if dropped and weather resistant.

Since getting a new iPhone in 2023, I have started using the OS App. It is very accurate and gives to access to 1:25000 maps for a modest annual charge. You can download my gpx files. All my walks are also now on the OS Website, though to find them you need to go to "All Routes" and zoom in closely to the starting point. I have started the title of all my walks with "Happy Hiker walk - (name of walk)" to make them easier to identify as there are so many.

Having praised the OS App, I would still not rely on it fro the entirety of a walk for fear of running out of power. I use it for an occasional check as necessary.

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.