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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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Which on-line walking route planners are the best? In the second part of our guide we are reviewing five websites that include walks in particular regions of the UK. In this particular review we are going walking in the city with Walkit.com.

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Which on-line walking route planners are the best? In the second part of our guide we are reviewing websites that include walks in particular regions. For this review we are walking in Scotland with Walk Highlands

www.walkhighlands.co.uk

General / Searching for a Walk

If you are planning a walk in Scotland then look further than Walkinghighlands.co.uk. This walking route planner contains an enormous data base of free walking routes, 1,104 at present.

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In the first part of our guide to the best walking route planners we reviewed five websites which offer hiking routes throughout the UK. The were:

www.go4awalk.com
www.walkingbritain.co.uk
www.walkingenglishman.com
www.countrywalkingroutes.co.uk / www.trailroutes.com
(now rebranded on www.livefortheoutdoors.com)
www.walking-routes.co.uk

Walkers in the UK Mountain Countryside

Is this footpath on the best walking guide? Source: Flickr by The Ancient Brit.

Region Specific Walking Route Planners

In this, the second part of the Guide to the Best Walking Route Planners we have reviewed five websites which each cover a specific walking region within the UK. The reviews will be posted over the next week or so. The hiking websites that will be featured are as follows:

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Photo of Nant Gwynant Valley, Snowdonia on CNP Flyer.

Campaign for National Parks Flyer featuring Nant Gwynant Valley, Snowdonia. Photo K.J. Richardson.

Recently, when opening a copy of Summit magazine, out popped a flyer on which was a scenic photograph showing fields, trees, a lake and mountains. Printed at the top was a bold proclamation: “keep beautiful places safe.” Usually flyers that pop out of magazines are lucky to even get a cursory glance before going straight in the recycle bin, but this one piqued my curiosity. It turned out to be advertising the Campaign for National Parks (CNP). Not to be confused with NCP, who like to cover place with over priced car parks, the CNP is an organisation that aims to protect our National Parks. Being a regular visitor to National Parks such as the Peak District and the Lake District, I was surprised that I had not heard of this organisation before.

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Adventure racing is gaining popularity. Worldwide there are more and more events that combine multiple disciplines such as trekking, running off-road, sea kayaking, mountain biking and road cycling.

Scotland Coast to Coast

Taking place on the 18th and 19th of September 2010, the Nokia Coast to Coast journey starts off on the North Sea, crossing Scotland along the sides of Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy before finishing up on the Isle of Glencoe and Ballachulish.

The starting point of the race is Nairn, north east of Inverness. The stages are as follows:

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If you’re thinking about walking up Ben Nevis this could be the most important post that you will ever read!

At 1,344 m, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and the UK. As such it is a very popular mountain for people to climb. It is often attempted by inexperienced hikers who have no idea of the scale of the task or of the potential dangers involved. Many people attempt the summit of Ben Nevis without taking proper outdoor gear.

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Extreme Sports Map LogoHave you ever been climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, skateboarding and found a great new place for some exciting action? Perhaps you’ve found a place that’s not the best but its close to home and offers the opportunity to get a bit of practice in, just to help keep your skills up to speed? Or maybe you’re going somewhere new and looking for the best place for some extreme sport action? If you want to share your favourite places or find something new then one place to look is Extreme Sports Map!

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There are plenty of excellent countryside walking routes in the UK. Source: Flickr by eamoncurry123.

There are plenty of excellent countryside walking routes in the UK. Source: Flickr by eamoncurry123.

When you fancy going for a hike or walk there are plenty of route planner websites on the internet that can provide help and inspiration. Whether you are going to a particular part of the country for the first time or looking for a hidden gem in your own backyard, there are plenty of on-line walks to chose from. But which is the best walking route planner to use? The amount of detail, advice and number of walks in a particular region vary from website to website. Here at CheapTents.com we have been examining the various walking route planner websites to find out which are worthy of being your walking guide and which you would not rely upon to give you directions to the house next door.

There are several criteria by which the walking guide websites have been judged, as follows:

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