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23 million visitors per year to the Peak District, that includes quite a number of walkers, some of whom will be considering the use of technology out on the hills ...
To get started on walking in the Peak District of Derbyshire, simply buy yourself some maps (White Peak or Dark Peak 10% discount to users of this website via these links, or up to 36% discount on waterproof versions) and make up your own walks/runs or buy one of the many good guides to walking in the Peak - see the 'booksales' section of this site or try Pub walks, tea shop walks or classic walks (in association with Amazon). Click here for views from walks (large files so will be slow - you have been warned!). If you are looking for somewhere to stay, try our accommodation section for a selection of self catering and bed and breakfast holiday accommodation.
Outdoors in the Peak District:
Wrist worn devices for walkers are becoming more widely available as prices drop. A popular one is the altitude meter. This can be quite helpful when navigating in difficult mountain terrain - or can it? First of all, it has to be set at the start of the walk, if you forget, then you you have only an approximation of your height gain. Because of the size of the altimeter, it is not 100% accurate anyway, even if the reading is within 1% of the actual pressure, for a 3000 foot increase in height you could be up to 30m above or below the height indicated on the device, so again, you only really have an approximation. These devices work on the assumption that atmospheric pressure has not changed during the day, that is not necessarily the case so again, you cannot be certain of your height. So, do not rely solely on your altimeter, read your map and your surroundings and that will keep you on track! Conclusion - a great toy to have if you can spare the cash, but bear in mind the shortcomings.
Would’nt it be great to have a portable weather station on your wrist, yo uy could then tell what the weather was about to do and make informed judgements on your walks. Lets face it, most people can do that anyway, without needing to take a reading of the air pressure and always remember that mountain or hill weather can change dramatically in short time periods. The disadvantages are that barometers are set for a specific temperature, at temeperatures other than that, it will be inaccurate. Air pressure decreases with height so you have to subtract 34mb/hPa for each height gain of 1000 feet (Ah, at last, a use for the altimeter!) and finally, weather is never as predictable as you might hope, it is not unknown for there to be rain and cloud in a high pressure system. Conclusion - another great toy to help you to keep up with (or get ahead of) the Joneses.
Technical notes - High pressure is caused by cool air masses sinking and therefore warming. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air so clouds do not form that is why high pressure regions give fair weather. The opposite is true of low pressure areas. So, where the pressure is changing, up means good weather and down means it is deteriorating.
Great for those of you who never really got to grips with map reading - it can enable you to go to places that you would never have dreamed of going if you needed to rely on a map. The downside is that they are not yet indestructible, so make sure you take a map, at least that won’t break down.
For serious map-based navigation, you need to know how far you have travelled. The usual way is to know the length of your stride and use this to measure out 100m or 50 m or whatever distances. The step counter that I am thinking of is hand operated, click it after the right number of steps and you have a double check on your mental counting. They are a great way to avoid critical errors, although there are alternatives, for example tie knots in a thin cord, tie the cord to your rucksack and for each 50 or 100m etc push another knot through the strap - if you lose count, just check how many knots you hav pushed through your strap. Cheaper too!
Discalimer (probably not necessary but here goes ...): This is the opinion of the author and is not intended as a buying guide. We cannot accept any responsibility for your actions, if you choose a particular course of action afdtre reading this article, that is up to you, we make no recommendations, only observations.