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Lake District Outdoor Atlas
Lake District Outdoor Atlas
This Outdoor Atlas combines in one volume detailed maps of the Lake District, including the whole of the National Park. It is waterproof, a handy size for carrying in a pocket, and spiral bound for ease of use. The scale is 1:40,000.
Spiral bound paperback.
Maps are boon companions on long walks. As you stride manfully out, covering the furlongs, climbing ever upwards, heading for the summit of one of the highest peaks in all of England, you stop, merely for a moment to catch your breath, and examine the map.
Massive strides on land are reduced to miniscule movement on paper. The ground that has flowed beneath your feet is reduced to a millimetre or two of a broken line, the upward ascent is nothing but the traverse of a contour line or two.
If you look upwards to view the expanding vistas, your pre-determined summit and the surrounding hills, the map encapsulates the landscape, names and shapes the hills, tells you where you are in the wider world.
For years, the Ordnance Survey map has been the walker's indispensable companion. Their original purpose, to provide the military with an accurate picture of the country in anticipation of a French invasion, has now given way to supporting the tourist in discovering the countryside, swords have been turned into hiking boots.
Harvey's have now produced a map book of the Lake District that promises to be a serious rival to the OS map. Almost the whole of the National Park is contained on ninety pages of maps in a spirally bound book that is much the same size as a folded map, making it ideal for the anorak pocket, and suitable for being kept open on the map that is being traversed. The pages are made of waterproof paper, and if the inevitable should ever happen, the sodden book, we are told, can simply be hung up to dry.
The all-important scale is 1:40000. Not as good as the 1:25000, or 2½ inches to the mile of the OS Outdoor Leisure maps or the green Pathfinder series, but better than the mile to the inch, 1: 50000 of the Landranger series. It means you have to walk faster to cover the same amount of paper.
The contour lines are drawn at fifteen metre intervals. They are not so densely crowded as the ones on the OS map which are marked at twenty-five feet intervals, but it does not make the ground any the less steep. Where the ascent is even steeper, the brown line becomes grey, indicating that you are faced with a scramble up some rocks.
Footpaths are very clearly marked and precise distinctions are made between the various qualities of track and path. A dotted line indicates an 'intermittent path' that may not be readily identifiable on the ground and if that line of dots is in red it represents a public right of way. Similar care is taken in distinguishing features such as large boulders, crags, spoil heaps, sink holes, and so forth, and field boundaries are shown on the higher land. The Pathfinder maps show all the field boundaries that are so characteristic of the English countryside.
Other symbols show that you can obtain a welcoming frothing pint of beer in Hesket Newmarket and a warm cup of tea in Caldbeck, but churches are no longer marked.. The Pathfinder not only indicates all places of worship but identifies which ones have a tower, spire, minaret or dome.
Land is coloured according to usage and height. This gives the maps a pleasing appearance and makes them very easy to read. The shape of the countryside, the areas occupied by the hills and the valleys can be apprehended immediately. This should make it easy to look at the nearby hills and features and identify them immediately. But the small area shown on each page means that it is very difficult to survey the wider landscape and identify distant summits and the hazy blue of barely discernible lakes.
A set of plans of the main Lake District towns was a good idea, but they are drawn on such a poor scale that they offer little in the way of helpful detail for the weary traveller. The precise location of the pubs needs to be indicated.
I've yet to road-test these maps. They look good. They're easy to read - Wainwright's summits are named in red - and they are very user friendly, but they lack some of the detail of the trusty OS maps and I do like to see the whole landscape spread out before me, even if, on the top of Skiddaw, the map does get blown away in the process. - Steve Matthews, Bookcase.
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