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!

Better late than never

14th May 2013

If you are a magazine publisher, it helps if you can do so to a regular schedule. Walking World Ireland has fallen foul of that more than once within the last year and it has taken five months for the current issue to arrive, both to subscribers and to shops. Last year’s annual featured multiple walking routes taken directly from Collins Press’ series of walking guides instead of coming from regular contributors such as Dennis Gill and Tom Hutton. That left me wondering if financial troubles were the cause of that though the content wasn’t any less useful as a result.

For any struggling magazine, an irregular publishing schedule is the sort of habit that needs breaking. It also was one that afflicted the now defunct Cycling World magazine and it leaves a gap in the marketplace these days. If you were after a magazine that prioritised route features over cycling kit, then this would have been the one to have. Now that it’s gone, it seems that coverage and reviews of new bikes and other pieces of equipment is what sells and that the experience of getting out in the countryside to clear your head is playing second fiddle.

Thankfully, walking is more about the experience of being out of doors in the countryside than about the kit that you use. The result has been that we are keen to read about new routes and the experiences of others. Walking World Ireland has done well on both counts for as long as I have known it and gives prominence to a country whose countryside deserves it. Reassuring, the latest late edition has something of the character to which I have come to expect of the magazine. There are two routes from a long-standing regular contributor (Tom Hutton) and Andy Callan is doing gear reviews. EastWest Mapping still supply route maps so things feel as if they may be returning to normal.

However, there are changes afoot too and these are described in an otherwise apologetic editorial. The publishing frequency is set to go from bimonthly to quarterly and a digital edition is planned too. Hopefully, that will be available for Android tablets (there is a Nexus 7 in my possession) and that blinding by iPad isn’t witnessed as has been the case for other magazines. It sounds as if the last few months have been difficult ones for a magazine that has been with us since 1993 so I hope that it has a future in uncertain economic times. Hopefully, the ample amount of satisfying Irish walking will continue to have a place on new stands because it is more than deserved. With subscriptions priced now from €18, the offering looks more attractive than it ever did.

Update 2013-05-20Cycling World magazine has turned out not to be as defunct as I thought that it was; the May issue is out now and I have a copy in my possession after a visit to the Macclesfield branch of W H Smith on Saturday. However, the Walking World Ireland website is down as write these words so that’s not a happy harbinger for its continued existence after there being a troubled year for the magazine.

Update 2013-06-09: Walking World Ireland has got its website up and going again so all is looking more promising. Now, let’s hope things stay that way for them…

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