Our website, www.sulmonavalleywalks.com, is mostly about the collection, publishing and downloading of descriptions of walks in the Sulmona Valley area. So, let’s begin there…
We started with the idea of building an electronic library of walks we have enjoyed over the past 11 years in our lovely corner of Abruzzo – at least 20 to begin with. Next step was to describe and document each one so that others could discover them too. And, finally, to make it really easy to let people have copies of their own and for us to keep them up to date. At the heart of it, then – the (ever growing) walks catalogue.
It comes in two parts – a map of the Sulmona Valley with marker pins showing, roughly, the start (and end) point and a summary of each walk and, below the map, a list of the same walks – each with some data to categorise it and, most importantly, a button to put it in your basket to buy and download the description. Simple as! See the Walks page.
Descriptions are actually two files – one (the big one) is a pdf document that is the description of the walk and the other (the little one) is a gpx file, which is the coordinates of the waypoints of the route that you can display as a route line on a device like a smartphone or a handheld GPS.
We try to tell you everything you need to know to have a great day. Each pdf description is about 5 pages long (depends a bit, obviously, on how long the walk is) and follows a standard format:
- an overview of the walk;
- vital statistics (how far, how much up and down, how long, how hard, where’s the start, is there any water and where’s the nearest bar…);
- how to get to the start;
- any alternative ways or shortcuts;
- anything specific you should know (like which printed map to take);
- a sketch map of the route with numbered waypoints;
- an altitude profile of the route;
- and, lastly, a detailed stage-by-stage description of the walk itself.
All interspersed with some lovely photos to tempt you to do it! The best way to get a good feel of a description is to download Walk 1 which is free!
Grading walks for difficulty is a subjective exercise though we apply standard criteria to help bring self-consistency, at least, across all the walks in the catalogue. We opted for easy (1), moderate (2) or hard (3) – go any finer and you end up heaping subjectivity on opinion and it all gets a bit spurious. It’s not perfect and there might be some you don’t agree with but our aim is simple – to give you a realistic idea of what to expect so that you choose a day out that will be memorable for all the right reasons! (There will be a separate blog post soon that looks at grading a little further. And one on how we plan to gain and share your feedback!)
The download process is straightforward. In the walks list, choose the one you would like and click the ‘buy’ button next to it. This will put it into your basket. You can put more than one walk in your basket. When you have selected all those you want, go to the Checkout page. You’ll just need to check the order summary and enter your name and email address so we can send you the download link. Payment is by PayPal (you can make an account if you don’t already have one). When payment is made you’ll see a confirmation screen and receive an email with links to download all the files you have bought. The links only work for the next 48 hours so best do the download straightaway.
Once you have your files then do as you wish with them. The pdf file may be printed or put onto your smartphone or tablet. Editing the gpx file is strongly advised against (or you may find that your walk up to San Pietro goes via South Dakota…)
A final word (for now). We decided to launch the walk catalogue before we had stocked it with all the routes we plan to publish in 2018. In fact, we launched it when it had 10 in it (half full for this year). We think it makes sense – it takes quite a while to check things on the ground, write descriptions, make gpx files, get photos sorted out etc. and we would rather people were out there walking while we get on with ‘finishing’ the job (well, there’ll always be more we want to share!)
If you want to know more about how things work then use the Contact page to get in touch or comment on this post below.