Saturday, 10 March 2018

Share your special places

This is the 125th Anniversary year of the Geographical Association, and the conference in Sheffield in April will be very special.

One of the projects I'm doing (and have been doing for some time) is to tweet out a 'top tip' a day for 125 days on the GA Secondary Phase committee twitter feed. This is coming to a climax on the first day of the conference.

As part of the plans for the GA's celebrations, and connecting with my OS GetOutside Champions Role for 2018, I'm going to start collating a list of 125 inspirational places to visit in the UK.

We all have places from which we draw inspiration... This could be a beach, a particular walk, a historic building, a bench overlooking a viewpoint, a landscape feature or something more esoteric. 

The reasons behind the inspiration may relate to family members, an emotional reunion, or sad passing; they may be places that are visited often, or which left a lasting impression from a single visit. They may be places we remember fondly from childhood, or which we discovered later in life.

This project is connected to the 125th Anniversary of the Geographical Association in 2018. One of the projects which the association wants to develop is a list of 125 Inspirational Places to visit in the UK: human and physical landscapes and locations which sum up the best the UK has to offer.

The project also links to work being done by Alan Parkinson as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion during 2018, and the production of a list with further guidance on visiting the places on it will be a project for Alan to complete.

There is also a joint project underway between Alan Parkinson, and Peter Knight of Keele University, who are working to produce a resource for teachers exploring Inspirational Landscapes and Changing Places at 

Here's an example for you:
Surprise View, in the Peak District
A bend in the road where the Hope Valley, Hathersage and Castleton and Mam Tor beyond suddenly come into view spread out below you - the light varies throughout the year, but the view is always exciting - one of the best in the UK
Be careful when driving! Park up and take in the view

OS Grid Reference: SK249800

I've produced a Google form which you can link to here, and help me out with if possible. Feel free to share the link to the form as well.

Protecting nature

This tweet from the writer Melissa Harrison, of whom I'm a great fan, struck a chord earlier as I was flitting from one project and deadline to the next to keep the plates spinning, and thinking about some writing I have pencilled in for the Easter holidays.

Norfolk coast fieldtrip

Earlier in the week, it was out to the Norfolk Coast to explore the area around Sheringham and Overstrand.
We followed the River Glaven along parts of its route, and then headed for the coast at Overstrand to see an active slump and the measures in place to stop it happening.
Here's a few of the images I took which I quite like - click for biggery

Images: Alan Parkinson - shared under CC license

Friday, 9 March 2018

New GPS from the OS

The Ordnance Survey is launching a range of handheld / cycle mounted GPS units, which make use of Ordnance Survey mapping. We were shown the details at the GetOutside Champions launch a few months ago, but the details are now emerging on the OS Leisure Blog.

Our four new handheld GPS devices come with advanced navigation yet simple functionality. Designed for hiking and off-road cycling, they’re rugged, water-resistant and come with all the accuracy and detail of our world-famous large-scale leisure maps.

Not only that, they’re packed with features to keep you on track with your performance, and let you and others know exactly where you are. You can also sync with other products to plot and share routes, or monitor your heart rate, energy and speed.

Find out more details HERE. Sign up to get the news on features and pricing.

I am hoping to get my hands on one for a while, to trial them for use in geography fieldwork and similar contexts.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Nan Shepherd and the Cairngorms

Lovely to see the story that went into creating the newly redesigned Scottish banknotes featuring Nan Shepherd. She was someone who has inspired a great many writers with her tales of the Cairngorms.
A few years ago, I used Nan's book, and Robert MacFarlane's description of walking in her footsteps in 'The Old Ways' as the basis for a workshop at the Scottish Association of Geography Teacher's conference.

Access the resources here.

You can see the story of the notes here:

Sunday, 28 January 2018

The power of walking

I liked this piece by Kristina Olsson, on the Coast to Coast Walk that she did as a 'reward' for spending five years writing her book.
She needed to get away, and in doing so found out something about herself...

This theme of getting outside is something I shall be exploring more of in the year to come. I'm freshly back from two days in the New Forest with Ordnance Survey. We were asked to come to Brockenhurst to a nice hotel, where we were to meet with the Ordnance Survey team that supports their core #GetOutside initiative. As you may remember from an earlier post, I applied to be involved for 2018/19 and was delighted to find out some weeks ago that I was going to be taking part, and also that Dan Raven Ellison, who applied independently, was also going to be going along.
A very early start and a long journey on 4 trains was needed, with Dan joining me in London.
Registration, coffee, and some chats to faces that I knew, including Sarah Outen.

Through to the main meeting room, where we were made very welcome and introduced to the scheme, and given new jackets and boots and various other things. We found out more about OS Maps, and the whole #GetOutside campaign.
We heard from previous and ongoing Champions, and also met Ben Fogle and Kenton Cool, who talked about their plans to climb Everest. Not something that most people can manage, and therefore my work will be far more down to earth, and even below sea level... with an educational emphasis.
We had a photo call: group and individual, and enjoyed some excellent food. In the afternoon, we were set a challenge, and I enjoyed working with the folks on my table: we were placed on a table for the day with other Champions, and some of the other partners involved. I had the chance to speak to Dave from Camping and Caravanning Club's membership magazine, and also Pip from 'Country Walking', which has been leading the #Walk1000miles campaign, which I've also blogged about previously.

We had a challenger treasure hunt to take part in, and we managed to cover the longest distance by running relays back and forwards for part of the time. Thanks to my team, who are pictured below, and there are also links to their twitter feeds for you to follow.
I'm looking forward to working over the coming year to encourage everyone to spend more time outside during 2018. It's certainly galvanised my own plans for getting outside more. In fact, when I finish this post I'm off out to the local common to get some pictures...

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Digimap for School Resource revamp

Over the last few years, I've written a number of Secondary resources to accompany the Digimap for Schools service. My colleague Paula Owens wrote a whole tranche of Primary resources too.

The resource area has now had a revamp so that it is easier to access particular resources from the archive.

The new look page can be accessed HERE.

It has resources for a range of subjects, not just geography, which is a reminder that if you are thinking of getting a subscription for your school, you should make a point that it is not just for geography, and have it paid from general budgets rather than your own budget...