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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

"A map? No I don't have a map"

I have always loved maps. In primary school I used to draw imaginary islands, with contour lines and inlets. My father taught me to use a road atlas as my mother couldn't. I always have an OS map with me when I am walking. The drawback of walking in other countries is their lack of the detail and accuracy in our OS maps.

So the comment above that I often get when I am doing a voluntary ranger patrol for the North York Moors National Park, www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/, never ceases to amaze me. Some people do have a print out from a website or a piece from their local paper, some of which are quite detailed. However last Saturday I met two walkers who had a piece of A5 paper which showed the whole coastal stretch of the Cleveland Way, each mile squashed into a few millimetres.

This might be adequate in the summer and in dry, sunny weather; but as the evenings draw in and the weather deteriorates it could be dangerous. Last winter I met a couple who were going to walk on to a village with no bus service and who then wanted an alternative route back to their car with no map to help them find one!

There are many debates about how much signing the Park should provide for people who come out without a map. I am beginning to think that we should provide more. If we are going to encourage people to walk more, for their health and because the National Parks are there for all of us, then maybe there should be more practical help to do so. The Park puts on guided walks, publishes leaflets, so maybe some more directional signing in the more popular areas would be a logical extension to what is already being done.

Enough of all this theorising and back to what my small society has been doing over the last two weeks! Well, short stop lassn.org.uk, has been very quiet, no one last week and just one, a very young woman from Syria, this week. However with hosts on holiday it took me several phone calls to place her safely off the streets.
the view from our BBQ

Coasties has continued building steps and then this week in the alum works catching up with clearing some of the old industrial works of months of nettles and other weeds. However the best of all was our annual BBQ, held as usual in Ravenscar, site of so many of our tasks. Excellent food and company as ever, culminating in badger watching and then, very late, a bat walk.