Monday, 17 August 2009


One of the odd things about the ride I did yesterday was that it crosses four different Ordnance Survey Landranger maps. My "home" sheet (Reading & Windsor) would have got me as far as Slough, though I shouldn't need it for such a familiar route, and it didn't come out of the bag.

From there to the top of the Wey Navigation is on the West London sheet (176) and I checked that one a couple of times, but along the canal itself it only took me as far as the point where the M25 crosses.

Then I was on the Dorking and Reigate sheet (187) almost until I reached Newark lock (in the picture). After that I would have been following the route on the Aldershot & Guildford sheet (186) except that I didn't have a copy of that one.

Not that it particularly matters along a canal of course. Even at my most vague and woolly, it would be quite an achievement to get lost on a towpath. Except for one thing.... approaching Guildford there are a couple of different options, and I suspect I didn't pick the best route into the centre.

Getting home from the centre of Guildford was another matter. My planning for the day had been bit sloppy to put it mildly. Basically I knew that if I headed north I would end up somewhere familiar, and I hadn't given it much more though than that. I've got the OSM cyclemap on the GPS, and since that now has route finding I was pretty relaxed about getting home.

In the event, though, the distance from Guildford to home proved a bit too much for the GPS. I fiddled around with partial routes for a while without too much luck, and in the end I realised I didn't have time to drift much off a straight line, so I went and found a book shop, and bought a copy of the local OS sheet.

That got me as far as Bagshot. Not that it needed much checking since I was now following a main road, with plenty of signposts. From Bagshot I was back on the OS sheet that I had started from, but more importantly, I was on familiar ground, and the GPS route finder was coping, and ticking down the remaining distance. So from Bracknell I was able to call home and let them know (more or less) exactly how late I was going to be.

Unfortunately slippy maps on the internet don't function too well out on the road. The GPS is wonderful, but it isn't really up to finding 20 mile routes on the bike yet (though it is getting there). I am trying to make a convincing case to myself that an Internet tablet with GPS and Maemo Mapper would be just the thing (without much luck). So in reality I suspect that I'm going to be carrying bundles of landranger maps for a while yet.

It seems a bit ironic that all this came to the fore along a canal route call the "navigation".

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