Countryside Wanderings

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out of doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

Some Hiking & Backpacking Magazines

After a very hilly cycle from Macclesfield to Buxton, the prospect of hill walking started to appeal to me. Looking at newsagent shelves then revealed a selection of magazines that caught my interest. Such is the way that I am that short feature articles feel more accessible than guidebooks, though they certainly have their place. The ones that I include in this selection are ones that you will find on sale in shops and not society publications like Irish Mountain Log from Mountaineering Ireland.

Track and forest beside Cumberland Brook, Wildboarclough, Cheshire, England

There have been subscriptions too with some continuing and others lapsing. Walking World Ireland has been one of the latter since it no longer is published and is missed. Its putative successor Mountain World Ireland only ever saw one issue. Some of these have been electronic with Zinio having a useful selection. For those preferring the feel of a paper magazine, there are portals like Great Magazines, MyFavouriteMagazines and Unique Magazines that complement the magazine websites that you find below and these may reveal other possibilities.

The Great Outdoors (TGO)

If I only was allowed one outdoor magazine, this would be my choice. Though there have been changes over the years, the writing quality remains and there is a brighter presentation with more and bigger photos too. The magazine once had such a strong Scottish influence that this was a draw for me but this slightly changed when Cameron McNeish moved on to other things. Roger Smith, the inaugural editor, remains a contributor as does Chris Townsend though so an element of continuity is retained. What also is interesting though is that magazine is including features on hiking excursions beyond the U.K. or Ireland. Life changes mean that such things are happening for me now.

Country Walking

Unlike TGO, routes featured in this magazine are more likely to take you by country villages as you wander through the countryside so it’s meant for a different type of walker. Still, it’s not all lowland walks with the hill route component having been beefed up in recent times too. It shares its website with Trail and Trial Running magazines so doesn’t get an online identity of its own and it could use one given the focus of those other magazines.

Scottish Walks

This magazine is a little different from the others on the page in that it mainly falls into the digital media category and is free of charge. You do have to register for it but that’s all there is to it. For those yearning for a subscription to a printed edition, there’s one available for just ¬£4 a year. That the magazine is edited by none other than Cameron McNeish means that it is a quality affair too with a great variety of ideas inside every edition. My collection needs plundering for ideas in advance of a Scottish escape becoming a reality.

Lakeland Walker

After a first glimpse in Booth’s supermarket in Keswick, I was hooked on this for about a year or so afterwards. In fact, I even became a subscriber though that lapsed when my interest waned. For a long while, I scarcely acquired an issue apart maybe from a visit to a Booth’s supermarket looking for some reading ahead of a journey back home again. There was a change of ownership and editor during that time and TGO’s former deputy editor, John Manning, took over the editor’s chair after Paul Sutcliffe left to do the same at Country Walking and that’s a magazine that struggles to hang onto its editors. The publishing frequency is now bi-monthly and it’s like a dream to me that it once was monthly. Maybe I am dreaming up that one but issues under John Manning’s charge have included more thoughtful pieces in them so something may have rubbed off on him from his time on the TGO staff.

Trail

There was a time when I was a regular reader of Trail but I grew beyond it when its various feature articles stopped appealing to me; there are time when it is too loud for my liking. That is not to say that I don’t pick up the occasional copy but it’s one of their extensive gear comparisons that will attract my interest rather than anything they feature on enjoying the outdoors. Even so, I recently found the route descriptions collected at the back of a recent issue were to my liking but it’s still not a regular read of mine. It shares its website with Country Walking and Trail Running.

Trek & Mountain

The publishers of Trek & Mountain launched their magazine in the middle of the Great Recession and it remains in existence in spite of this. They seem to be going after a more adventurous part of the market too with trips to places beyond the shores of Britain or Ireland. Now that my life circumstances have changed, the sight of European features may cause some copies to come into my possession from time to time and they did do a U. K. winter mountaineering special in 2010.

Explore

It is the pondering of Canadian hiking possibilities that caused me to come across this title and it has been going for nearly as long as Britain’s The Great Outdoors. So far, it is only the website that I have surveyed but the list of trails that it has included to mark its thirty-fifth birthday looks alluring even if the lengths often stagger me. The accompanying photos do the feature destinations no harm either. Just like its aforementioned British counterpart, it does delve into other ways to explore the outdoors and is all the richer for that.

Backpacker

As the name suggests, this American title features more than walking and such is the scale of wilderness areas in the U.S.A. that overnight camping often is part of the deal, hence the name. Backpackers still hike so that is what has got this added here. There is much to learn so one has to start somewhere and there is another web publisher called Backpacking Light should you not want to overload yourself while out on any trail, something that is too easy to do.


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