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…not just tents…a camping equipment blog too!

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Boats by the shore with hills behind

Two Harbours on Catalina Island. Source: Flickr by Chrissy Olson

If you ever happen to be in Los Angeles and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, an outdoor sanctuary is close at hand: only 22 miles off the coast is Catalina Island. This small island is 22 miles in length and 8 miles across at its widest point. Mostly undeveloped and with a year round mild climate, it offers excellent opportunities for camping, hiking, cycling and sailing.

Up until 1975 Catalina Island was largely owned by the Wrigley chewing gum family, before they deeded their ownership to the Catalina Island Conservancy, which has stewardship of 88 percent of the island. Most areas of the island are protected from development.

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One of the things that can make a hike of camping trip really special is being out in the open countryside and observing birds of prey circling high in the sky or watching them hovering against the breeze before diving earthwards hoping to catch some lunch. Some eighteen months ago we published an interview with John Loder about the RSPB Birds of Prey Campaign. This on-going campaign is highlight the threat to bird of prey populations caused illegal persecution, pollution and habitat loss. Many people are outraged by the situation and over 200,000 signed a petition calling upon the government to take action.

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The news that Lady laid three eggs in her nest at the Loch of the Lowes Reserve is a huge tonic for her fans and for the Scottish Wildlife Trust who all feared that illness would bring an end to this Iconic Osprey’s life.

Lady’s love affair with the Loch of the Lowes Reserve has seen her repeatedly summer at the Loch in the last twenty years and almost single handedly (shouldn’t that be winged?) help to re-establish the numbers of Ospreys in this country with almost 50 chicks hatched in her life time.

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On the 17th February, the government announced that it was to perform a
u-turn when it abandoned plans to sell 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland in England. This would have been a total of 85% on top of the 15% they are already allowed to sell off, when in the public need. This announcement came from Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman in the House of Commons, a speech in which she admitted to being wrong and apologised. A good many walkers and outdoor enthusiasts were then able to breathe a huge sigh of relief! So, are we out of the woods yet?

wakefield labour party

Mary Creagh MP

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In October 2009 we interviewed John Loder, RSPB Campaign Talks Officer, about the RSPB’s Birds of Prey Campaign. In many countries around the world wild birds of prey are under threat from habitat loss and systematic killing. In some cases reintroduction programmes are helping to restore bird numbers. For example, Red Kites in the Chilterns and Mid Wales and Hen Harriers in the Forest of Bowland.

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Last year we brought you an exclusive interview with John Loader from the RSPB highlighting the charity’s campaign to further protect and raise the awareness of birds of prey, we reported on the campaign and how successful it had become raising people’s awareness.

Amongst other advantages of having birds of prey in the eco system, John showed us how birds of prey helped local economies by bringing tourists to an area. In this year of cuts, doom and gloom it is nice to be able to share the success story of the Galloway Red Kite Trail where humans are working with nature, and poignantly the red kite being one of those birds of prey we highlighted with John Loader.

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The size of the Cairngorms National Park has been enlarged by one fifth. The park itself is relatively new, being set up in 2003. Since its establishment there has been an increase in the population, the number of businesses and the economy within the national park area. There has also been a decrease in unemployment. The new, extended boundary means that Highland Perthshire has now been incorporated into the national park.

The Cairngorms National Park now covers about 6 per cent of Scotland. With an area of 4,528 sq km it is twice the size of the Lake District National Park.

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When hiking, camping and climbing it is always great to see some wildlife. Birds can often be heard or seen out in the countryside. Keeping an eye out for birds can add another dimension to your outdoor experience. If you are going to do some birdwatching there is some additional equipment that you could take with you. The gear that you will need will depend upon the nature of your trip:

  • What time of year will you be going?
  • What are anticipated weather conditions?
  • What is duration of trip?
  • Where will you sleep overnight?
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Located on the south west coast of India, Goa is a well known holiday location due to its beautiful, golden sandy beaches. Yet there are also many hiking opportunities in Goa for people who like to explore the countryside on foot. Take a journey inland in this tropical region and the terrain becomes mountainous. The mountainsides are green, covered by moist broadleaf deciduous forests that support many species of flora and fauna. Goa is an area that is world renowned for its biodiversity.

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The UK has around 7,700 miles of coastline and features many different types of landscape. These include high, rugged cliffs, gently sloping sandy beaches, shingle embankments and marshland. These different types of landscape support a myriad of wildlife, in particular many species of birds. So it is no surprise to find that there are plenty of opportunities for excellent walking along the many coastal paths in the UK.

Pembrokeshire Best Coast Path

According to a readers poll in the BBC’s Coast Magazine The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is the best coastal path in the UK. The 186-mile walking route is located inside the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, in west Wales.

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