It’s time for the annual Festival of Winter Walks! The Ramblers.org.uk Festival of Winter Walks is a 3 week event that has been running for over 25 years and is seen as an opportunity to get more of us out and about and exploring our wonderful countryside. Both beginners and experienced walkers are welcome and encouraged! Although COVID-19 has made it difficult to do that this year, there’s plenty of safe ways to go for a walk, and we’re going to explore some simple apps you can download to your smartphone today to support your walking – whether you’re new, or experienced!
AllTrails is a great app for finding a particular walk or hike. Curated by both professional and amateur mappers and walkers, it has a database of over 5000 treks to choose from, and you can create your own too. Each walk comes with a basic set of information such as a map, difficultly level, and weather forecast, as well as fantastic integration with Google Maps so you can get a fully functional live GPS route of your walk. Really helpful for people like me who get lost the moment we step outside the door!
Komoot is similar to AllTrails, except for one major difference – it’s all about you creating your own route. You set a start and finish point to your walk, and it will fully generate a map for you that covers all kinds of terrain, as long as you’re allowed to walk it. Even better, it’s able to create a difficulty and terrain map too. You can share these walks with the Komoot community, and set highlights on the map for others to see. Likewise, you can also use the routes of others who have saved walks. Once again, the mapping features integration straight with Google Maps to give you that all-in-one GPS navigation.
For fitness tracking that would support your walking, Walkmetre by Abvio is a good option. It uses GPS to measure the distance of your walks and hikes – and with that, all kinds of data such as speed and elevation. This data can be presented to you in several different ways, and it’s always nice to be able to see your progression over time. You can even compete against your previous times to see if you can beat them!
Some of you may be aware of the FitBit – a wearable watch-like device that tracks all kinds of things about your fitness. However, if you don’t have a Fitbit, it doesn’t mean you’re locked out of all FitBit services. An app by FitBit called MobileTracker is able to track your steps and GPS of your walking workouts simply using the motion sensor on your phone. All that data will link straight back into your main FitBit account too, so if you ever do get a FitBit, you haven’t done all that work for nothing.
Walking is a fantastic way to get fit and explore, and although we might see digital as a sedentary diversion, there are plenty of great tools out there to help us. You can check out the Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks at ramblers.org.uk.