View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Viewranger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Viewranger. Show all posts

Friday, 29 September 2017

Roundabout Ringheye Recce, Tues 26th Sept 2017

I’m due to lead a walk for the good folk of the East Lancs LDWA in October, and as with all such things a couple of pre-emptive recces are deemed important.

The route I plan to take isn’t original although there are a few tweeks and alterations chucked in to confuse the innocent and unwary, so here goes…


Sunrise from my bedroom window

I had foresaken my early morning run which was a shame because it was a lovely start to the day – but a 4.5 mile run followed by a 17 – 18 mile walk probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.

The actual walk will start in Hale, close to the River Bollin, but as friends Andy & Lynn had kindly offered to join me on the recce I drove to their home in Knutsford to start the circular route from there.

We set out around 10.30am and walked through the town, famous for Cranford, Knutsford Royal May Day…


….Penny Farthing races…..


…..the shortest river in England…


……and King Canute

Leaving the town we had to resort to tarmac for a mile or so but we were soon back on the wet, grassy field footpaths. My feet, inside NorthFace ‘Waterproof’ walking shoes, were soon wet through. I’ve had two pairs of these shoes now, they’re very comfortable but completely useless as waterproof footware


We walked NE out of Knutsford to skirt around the northern edge of Mobberley, there was a gloriously autumnal feel to the day.


We left the environs of Mobberley to continue NE alongside Manchester Airport’s main runway and then picked up the Bollin Valley Way which routed us under the runway via the River Bollin culvert – that never fails to impress me:


Our lunch stop at the southern end of the runway was a bit noisy but we had great views of aircraft taking off and landing:



Andy & Lynn at the high point of the route…a whole 60m metric metres ASL

It must have been a climb although we didn’t notice it….perhaps we’re just very hill fit. Although maybe not in my case.


Invasive species around the River Bollin, Himalayan Balsam abounds

Hale is the home to many large and expensive houses - particularly those that back on to the Bollin Valley. Not all blend in to the pleasant surroundings:



By early afternoon my feet had eventually dried out – perhaps my shoes are only waterproof one way: water can get in but it can’t get out.


More Bollin Valley invasive species: Giant Hogweed reaching for the skies


Not invasive

We head south past Rostherne, along a permissive path that’s not marked on the OS map. There are nice views over the mere, the autumn colours are glorious:




Rostherne Church…and a coffee & knee tablet stop


The next leg took us to Home Farm on the Tatton Estate. It’s a dead-straight ‘church path’ – well it should have been, but a large field was being ploughed and seed was being spread so we followed the field edge.


Home Farm amongst the trees


Hand-powered fuel pump at Home Farm


Andy posing with the piglets…and Mummy Pig


More autumn colours


Melchett Mere, Tatton Park


Tatton Mere


Not Very Nice Algae in Tatton Mere


One of Tatton’s residents, just chillin’


The one was more interested in pigging-out on acorns, he just wouldn’t pose.

We walked through Tatton Park towards Knutsford, keeping to the west side of Tatton Mere, exiting the park at it’s southern road gate. From there it was just a few hundred yards back to Andy’s house and my car.

‘Twas a good day out and a nice little stretch. I’ll be back next week to tweek the route a little further but in the meantime I’m fairly happy with the route as it stands.

If anyone fancies coming along on The Big Day, details are here

Where we went: Around 17 miles and a bit – it will be nearer 18 miles on the day. There’s some ascent but not a lot.


Note that the ‘proper’ walk doesn’t start in Knutsford, but in Hale at SJ773858 at 9am sharp on Sunday 15th October.

All the photographs were taken using my Lumix TZ70, any photo editing was with Photofiltre.

The route was recorded using my old Samsung S3 Mini with Viewranger installed. It has a far clearer display that my crappy SatMap 10 and battery life is similar if not better.

Thanks to Andy & Lynn for their company and very helpful suggestions on route tweeks. And the tea. They make very nice cups of tea!


It’s the old name for Ringway, the site of Manchester Airport.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Testing the new ViewRanger app

The good folk at Viewranger have improved their already very good navigation app. In order to make sure that it ticked all the right boxes a number of guinea-pigs were recruited to drink coffee, play with the new app, go for a nice little walk…and to drink some beer.

Oli, of Viewranger fame, had arranged this little jolly that had a select group of outdoorsy-types gathering in Castleton at the unearthly hour of 11am….that’s the 11am in the morning, in case you were wondering. Oli, being a sensible sort of chap, had brought reinforcements from Viewranger in case the group decided to revolt at some point during the day. The reinforcements happened to be quite expert on all aspects of the app and they were able to answer any questions we may have had. Like ‘when do we stop for lunch?’.


Those of the gathered throng that didn’t have iPhones or iPads (we were testing the Apple version) were issued with appropriate phones or tablets. After a quick chat to describe the new features and to make sure we were all sufficiently up to speed with the app we were released onto the Peak District’s unsuspecting hills using Viewranger to navigate Oli’s route.

If you’ve already got Viewranger you can view the route here , it’s a nice little route that was designed to test out the new features of Viewranger.


A fine pair of knees and the ‘new’ Viewranger screen

Viewranger ‘Skyline’

One significant additional feature of the new Viewranger are the abililty to be able to identify hills and other features simply by activating the device’s camera and pointing it in the direction of the area of interest. They call this feature ‘Skyline’. This is done using the button on the top right corner of the screen – the one with a question mark. The result is something like this (but without my reflection):


I’m afraid the image above doesn’t illustrate the facility too well. In reality it’s really good and makes Viewranger an even more valuable aid to navigation. The diagonal labels on the screen indicate the various tops, their height and how far away they are.

The little window on the bottom right corner of the screen selects various filters: Peaks, Places, Points of Interest, and Water. Water filters are good.

Another additional feature is the little arrow at the top left corner of the screen. This comes into play when following a route on the app; it points you in the direction you need to be travelling. Good eh?

It’s also possible to grab a screen shot which could be saved, emailed or whatever.


It was hot in Castleton, not as hot as the previous day’s 31degC, but still very hot. With this hotness in mind, the route had been tweaked* slightly to avoid the risk of heatstroke, premature exhaustion, dehydration etc.

* tweaked = shortened


Getting to grips with the new app


Oli indicating The One True Way. Uphill.


Hollins Cross


The Vale of Edale


My Samsung S3 Mini running the ‘old’ Viewranger, an iPad running the ‘new’ Viewranger

I didn’t find much difference in the performance of Viewranger operating under Android or Apple (IOS?) although the much larger screen size of the iPad made the app easier to use – and the maps considerably easier to view.

The screen of a smart phone is infinitely clearer than most dedicated GPSs – certainly better than both my SatMap10 and Garmin Etrex20. 

The Skyline facility is certainly far more than a gimmick, it’s a really useful navigational aid. It enable the easy identification more distant features. It’s also possible to customise Skyline. From what I’ve been able to deduce, points of interest can be added to a map or route and these features will be indicated on the Skyline. In addition it’s possible to add route notes, such as ‘Steep decent ahead’, ‘Dragons be here’ etc.

This latest version of the app is initially only going to be available for Apple devices but the Android version is due for release around October.



The old Stockport to Sheffield road, closed due to repeated landslips since 1979. I last travelled this road in the early 1970s on my old Triumph T90. Happy days!


To misappropriate a Bradburyism: ‘The final assault on the summit’ of Mam Tor


The gash in the landscape that is Winnats Pass


Mam Tor, ‘Shivering Mountain’


Mam Tor from Speedwell


Winnats Pass from Speedwell


Chilling at the apres debrief


Oli’s description of the route:

Starting from the Castleton National Park Visitor Centre, this walk initially follows the stream of Odin Stitch with great views of Mam Tor before breaking right towards Hollins Cross and the Great Ridge.
A left turn at Hollins Cross provides some wonderful high-level walking that eventually leads to the 517m summit of Mam Tor.
The descent route leads through disused mines and past the impressive caves of Blue John, Treak Cliff, Speedwell and Peak Caverns on its way back to the pubs, shops and cafes of Castleton



I’ve played with Viewranger on and off for a few years but not spent much time learning it’s ins and outs, prefering to stick with my Garmin Etrex20. With Oli and his Viewranger buddies being on hand I soon discovered that the app is really quite straightforward and easy to use – and it’s very useful.

What’s even better, Viewranger is free – you just buy the mapping, eg: All GB National Parks, 1:50K @ £8.50, All NW England 1:50K @ £8.50. I’m looking forward to the release of the Android version of the update, I’ll certainly be making use of it.

Thanks to Oli and his team from Viewranger for a pleasant few hours wandering around, the teas, coffees, beers etc – and their good company.

I was home in time for tea.

Fireworks Avoidance, Bonfire Night 2019

…or Five go Adventuring Again Lucky The Dog really doesn’t like fireworks, not one little bit. It didn’t take a huge amount of badgering t...