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On-trend with new walks app

Written by Fiona May 12 2011

I like to be on-trend (even if I might be getting on a bit) and this week I realised I am actually keeping up with the teenies. Albeit in my own small way. The on-trend subject matter is “apps”. According to Apprentice last night (and who wouldn’t believe the business experts on this show?!), apps are the new and bright way forward for entrepreneurs. Cheap, easy to launch and if you have a great idea they could earn you masses.

Maybe you don’t know what an “app” is? As I understand it, it’s a downloadable software application for your computer or phone. Apps are designed to help the user perform a specific task. There are masses of them out there and they can be useful, silly, outlandish, funny or whatever. Some are free, some cost money.

The G-Force and I have made good use of a “maps app”. This offers detailed OS map access on his iphone. It’s been really handy for travel and while on the hills. I know I must be old when I hear myself saying things like: “Gosh, that’s such awesome detail on such a tiny phone.” The zooming-in facility is brilliant.

Now I’ve come across another app just recently that I think sound pretty good, too. One of my favourite walking websites Walk Highlands has teamed up with GPS mapping website ViewRanger to bring out an app that offers quick access to a range of local walks. The detailed routes and maps can be downloaded straight to your phone.

The addition of nearly 1,300 Walkhighlands routes to ViewRanger’s downloadable trails database makes the app one of the UK’s most comprehensive mobile sources of expert guided walking trails and cycling rides with almost 10,000 routes nationally.

This is what the blurb says: “Every expert guided route can be browsed and downloaded to a smartphone with just a few taps of the screen. The ViewRanger app can then be used to guide and navigate the user along the mapped trail. Embedded within each of the routes, the user can access a wealth of local expertise, for instance, many of the Walkhighlands routes even feature audio clips giving the correct pronunciation for place names.”

This is what I think: The ViewRanger Walk Highlands app is great for a range of situations. Perhaps you’ve already planned where you want to go walking. In this case you can download the exact map and route details to your phone, turning your mobile phone into a handy GPS walking aid.

Or you might arrive somewhere new for a holiday and then want to head out for a walk. This app will offer you a range of local walking options. There’s no need to search the internet or buy a book. You simply download a walk from the Walk Highlands range of thousands of tried-and rated walks and then pull on your boots and go. (Of course, a phone app should never be relied on if the weather turns nasty. Always take, and know how to use, an old-fashioned map and compass just in case of an emergency. Eg your phone runs out of charge.)

The cost: Walkhighlands routes are available to download on ViewRanger at £1.50 per route. The app works on Apple, Android & Symbian smartphones.

Just so you know, ViewRanger GPS is the award-winning mobile phone application which delivers GPS navigation, mapping and location-based content to a wide  range of outdoors fans. It’s useful for walkers, runners, cyclists etc.

The G-Force and I plan to try a couple of the walks apps this weekend when we head to the Inverness area and then to Durness. I’ll report back to tell you how we get on with them.

P.S. A message for Lord Sugar: How about producing a “You’re fired” app? Surely this would be better than those terrible Slangatang and Ampiapp apps produced by the Apprentice teams.

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