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The signs are there...

In the past I’ve eulogised about OS Maps which are simply the best in the world. As walkers in the UK, we’re blessed not only with marvellous maps, but also with good waymarks, whether that’s traditional wooden signposts, circular disc arrows, or a reassuring line of cairns to mark the way (as pictured here on the summit of Cairngorm in the Scottish Highlands).  But it’s not the same everywhere you go…

Some European countries have long had a culture of hiking and walkers are well-catered for with neat, prominent signs and frequent colourful paint marks along more remote or rugged sections where traditional wooden signposts are impractical.

In others, however, where walkers are often viewed with surprise (and even incredulity!), any waymarking that exists is generally down to enthusiastic volunteers who have been out with a pot of paint to daub the way – though I am pleased to say that this is gradually improving as the financial benefits of encouraging outdoor holidays is gradually becoming more apparent.

Needless to say, when walking in these countries, reliance on our detailed route notes becomes absolutely vital, as these counties also tend to have poor maps, too.

Have a look at the following images and see if you can guess which European country they are from (place names removed for obvious reasons, though the scenery may give a few clues):
Walking holidays in Europe


Walking holidays in EuropeWalking holidays in EuropeWalking holidays in Europe[Answers, from the top: England and France; Spain and Italy; Norway and Germany; Greece and Switzerland.]

The last pairing shows the contrast in painted waymarks you may come across – in Switzerland (right), standardised stripes, prominently and regularly displayed; in Greece, a couple of seemingly random yellow dots on the ground, which have to be searched for. Not that this should put you off from travelling to such places – the waymarking is there, though you sometimes have to be a bit more vigilant to see it. Keep your eyes on the trees, rocks and even the ground – markers sometimes appear in the most surprising places.

The important thing to remember is that you can always rely on your walking notes, as these will guide you safely to your destination, the waymarks you pass merely confirming that you are on the right route. Reassuring, if sometimes fleeting, companions…

Posted: 28/09/2012 08:49:36 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: competitions, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, opinions, Spain, Switzerland, UK, walking


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