Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

An alternative choice

1st August 2010

Today, I was in a shop when I overheard someone moaning about the less than exciting weather that has been with us for much of July. Many have very optimistic hopes for the summertime so that sense of frustration was understandable. It's why it's best to spread those aspirations around the year instead. Nevertheless, some spouts of sun this evening added some cheer and there may be a window of better weather latter in the week to break up things.

Maybe I should have made better use of the dry though grey day but I ended up doing some clearance at home instead. It was that activity that caused me to come across a map that I bought in Dublin in May. Surveying outdoors blogs can leave you with an impression that some have a soft spot for certain types of outdoors equipment. For on, it's stoves and another does footwear. For me, it seems to be maps, probably because they are so good at opening up any location awaiting exploration.

The map in question was produced by an alternative producer of Irish Maps, EastWest Mapping. For a while now, they have produced maps for Walking World Ireland to accompany pieces on walking routes in the island of Ireland. There was a time when they sold all sorts of outdoor maps and guides, including OSi and Harvey maps, but that seems to be over now. Nowadays, they use their website to sell only their own wares instead of those from others.

So far, those include three maps for the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains along with map guides for the Wicklow Way and the Táin Way, a circular trail starting and ending Carlingford on the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth (incidentally and perhaps ironically given it features in a Celtic myth regarding cattle rustling, it was the only part of Éire affected in the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak; the disease was not allowed to spread any further). All can be ordered over the web and payment is by using PayPal. Regarding the maps for the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains, they are divided to cover the following areas: Dublin & North Wicklow Mountains, Lugnaquila & Glendalough, West Wicklow Mountains. There is another in the offing to complete the quartet and that will be for the eastern Wicklow Mountains. Currently, it is possible to by three of the intended four as a set from the website though that should become a quartet when the final map is released early next year. The scale is 1:30000 and overlap between each of the maps is generous so things look promising.

Returning to that map bought last May, it covers the Dublin and North Wicklow Mountains and I seem to remember that it needed discipline to leave the others after me at Eason's in O' Connell Street. Looking at it now, I have to say that there is a good deal of detail though I'd have to try it out on a real walk and not an armchair one to reach a definitive verdict. As well as claiming to be waterproof or water resistant on the cover, the paper used in the maps seems to be like what Harvey's use in their SuperWalker series so it should stand up to the occasional wetting, even if I wouldn't go opening the map up in a downpour like I got on the way home last Friday evening. Though my work circumstances have changed since the purchase, any excuse for more walking in my native Ireland has to be good. After all, any excuse to return to a area with pleasing hill country has to be good.

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