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 Walking Magazines

Here are a collection of walking magazines that I have been known to peruse and I either have or had subscriptions to all but the last two in the list. With Walking World Ireland sadly no longer published and its successor Mountain World Ireland only managing one issue so far, the Irish content has all but disappeared though a membership of Mountaineering Ireland ensures that I get issues of Irish Mountain Log and that is some compensation. Otherwise, the list is largely a British one and I have been known to subscribe to a few of these too.

The Great Outdoors (TGO)

If I only was allowed one outdoor magazine, this would be my choice. A major redesign in 2011 made for bulkier issues that are not as travel friendly. Nevertheless, 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 that is not what it was now that Cameron McNeish has moved to other things. Roger Smith, the inaugural editor, remains a contributor as does Chris Townsend though so there is an element of continuity from what went before. What also is interesting though is that magazine is including features on hiking excursions beyond the U.K. or Ireland. With the possibility of excursions elsewhere no longer being rejected like they were when my late parents were there, these are attracting more interest than they once would.

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. Paul Sutcliffe, formerly of Lakeland Walker, is the editor these days and the magazine’s presentation got a welcome refresh with more photography as part of the package. 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

A recession might not sound like the best time to be launching an outdoors magazine and that exactly is what the publishers of Trek & Mountain went and did. They successfully seem to be going after a more adventurous part of the market too with trips to higher places beyond the shores of Britain or Ireland. Now that my life circumstances have changed, European ones 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 hear. There is so much to learn and one has to start somewhere.


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