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Review: Northwest Territory Peak walking boots

The "Peak" walking boots by Northwest Territory come in both leather and nubuck (suede) finishes.   As this is a blog about walking in muddy places, we're reviewing the leather ones here.   These are budget leather waterproof walking boots comparable to the HiTec Eurohike or Trespass Walker boots.  As with similar boots from rival brands, they need very little "breaking in" and are comfortable in all seasons. Compared to other brands, the laces are a bit on the thin side, however, in practice they seem strong enough and we've had no problem with them breaking.  A spare pair of laces are included with the boots which is nice. Aesthetically, when first taken out of the box they possibly look a bit cheaper than competing brands but in real-world use they seem to hold up just as well.  After a few months of heavy use, this is how they are looking: The all-important waterproofing seems solid and has held up fine over several months of constant use.   So far, they
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The changing seasons

You might have noticed that the natural history information in the iWalk Cornwall app is not only relevant to where you are on the walk but also what time of the year you are there.   If you've done some walks in May you might have noticed some wild garlic and bluebell facts.  Now these plants are dying back, the facts in the walks have now been replaced by other things, which may themselves change again later in the year. As we go back to re-check the walks, we're continually adding more seasonal layers so the richness and subtlety will continue to increase over time, even for walks you bought several years ago.  We're also learning about new things all the time ourselves so we'll be sharing this within the walks. Also to help with planning a walk for a different time of the year (e.g. for a holiday) or to just find out more about the natural history, there's an option on the settings screen to display the points of interest for all seasons.  This will then show th

New footpath signs for inland paths

Cornwall Council have collaborated with us to get a grant to procure and install some new footpath signs and waymark posts for some of the inland paths connecting to the coast path used by our routes. Obviously there are still a lot more footpath signs on the inland paths in need of replacement but it's a positive step in the right direction. The new signs/posts are hardwood so they should last a bit longer than the ones they have replaced. They are now in place on the following walks: Port Quin to Port Isaac Mount Edgcumbe to Kingsand Sennen Cove to Land's End Mevagissey to Portmellon Widemouth to Bude Mousehole to Lamorna Cove

Starting a walk part-way round

A question we often get asked is whether it's possible to start a circular walk from a location part-way round the route with the app. The answer is yes. When you first reach a direction point on the route, the app will offer to navigate from here. You can then follow the walk until you reach what is normally the end of the route. Once you reach the normal end of the walk, make your way to direction 1 (note that in some cases e.g. where there is only one way out of the car park, the start/end of the walk and direction 1 will be in the same place so this step won't apply). Tip: This is most easily done with the help of the map screen as the hand-written wording for the last direction will be based on how to get back to your car to end the walk at the normal location, not how to get to direction 1. Once you reach direction 1, the app should detect that you didn't start at the beginning and offer to continue the walk from direction 1. You can then continue using t

Review: HiTec Eurotrek boots

The Hi-Tec Eurotrek range have been our main workhorse boots over the past 10 years for testing the iWalk Cornwall walks, primarily because they are reliable and affordable. The upper parts of the boots are made from leather and have good waterproofing. They don't need excessive amounts of "breaking in" but are a little rigid at first.   After the first couple of walks they start to become more flexible.  They have been a few different versions of Eurotrek boots over the years but the latest is called Eurotrek Lite Wp (there is no non-lite version so you can read "Lite Wp" as "Version 4"). The soles on the first version of Eurotrek had really good grip but a switch to longer-lasting Vibram soles in versions 2 and 3 came at the expense of grip.  Eurotrek Lite has ditched Vibram and features a two component sole with better grip (though still quite not as grippy as the originals). V2 with the old eyelets The first and second versions of Eurotrek had eyel

"Check for updates" vs "Restore Purchases"

On the "More options" menu of the app, there's a "Check for walk updates" option and on the home screen of the app there's a "Restore purchases" button. As they are fairly similar, you may wonder what the difference is. Each has a subtly different purpose. "Check for walk updates" is normally the one you want. It will check: For any walks purchased on another device on the same platform into the same Apple ID (Apple) or Google Account (Android) For any purchases from this device delayed with Apple/Google that haven't been delivered to the app yet For each of the walks in My Walks, whether any updates to the walk content are available "Restore purchases" is a belt-and-braces for things "check for walk updates" won't fix. It gets a list of everything from Apple or Google and then re-downloads all your walks in My Walk again, regardless of whether each is up-to-date.  If a walk gets corrupted on the device (e.

Quieter walks

By using data about which walks have been downloaded, we've created a mechanism to help distribute people across our circular walks in Cornwall to assist with social distancing and footpath wear. We've done this by starting with a list of walks in generally quieter locations and then combining this with some automated spreading mechanisms so that there isn't a rush on a particular walk: The starting point is a list of walks which are off the beaten track These are shuffled into a different random order for every person to reduce the chances of any flocking on any one walk Anything that starts to float up into the most downloaded walks over the last 7 days is automatically removed from the list until it quietens down It's also worth noting that the circular routes are written in a single direction only so the chances of meeting people walking in the opposite direction is minimised. Note that being in rural locations: from June onwards, the footpaths may get overgrow