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Friday, 12 February 2010

More walkers – more places to walk

More evidence that walking – and outdoors life in general – is climbing to new heights among the general public. A recent announcement from the National Trust revealed that the number of walks being downloaded from their site had doubled in 2009 as compared to 2008. To be specific there were 250,000 downloads of the Trust's 130 walks last year. Which is just great to hear about.

At the same time, a huge sales growth at one of the UK's biggest outdoor clothing stores, Go Outdoors, reveals an ever growing attraction for outdoors clothing and presumably (or hopefully) a desire for more people to get out and enjoy the countryside. Comparing an eight week period over the 2009 festive season to the previous year, sales of clothing, boots and equipment rose by 25.1%. These figures come on the back of amazing growth over the last year as the brand opened seven new superstores across Britain.

And, there are plans for almost 600 miles of new paths in the the Cairngorms National Park, one of two such parks in Scotland. The Scottish Government has now backed a proposal to develop and upgrade 579 miles of new pathways, including new and existing roads and tracks, that will open up the stunning area to even more walkers and visitors.

The scenic River Spey is to be the setting for the first designated core path in the park, which includes five of the six highest peaks in Britain and more than a dozen Munros.

David Green, convenor of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, believes that the development will offer "a more integrated network of paths for a wider range of people and abilities to enjoy the special qualities of the Cairngorms National Park".

So that's more walkers, more walking kit – and more places to go walking. Roll on Spring.

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