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Open moorland walking technique


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I'm sure people here have the skills and experience to help me with this, I am buggered if I can find anything useful online.

Wife and I went out onto the Brecons last Saturday to look for one of the crashed WW2 bomber sites. Because aircraft rarely have the decency to crash right next to a footpath, that means at some point you have to leave the footpath and head off across open moorland. My problem is that I have no experience or skills in walking this kind of terrain, so within 50 metres I'd already nearly broken a leg by stepping into a hidden ditch. I managed to make slow progress after that just by treading far more carefully and really studying the ground in front of me, although I still had a couple more incidents where I could have sprained an ankle.

Wife, however, turns out to have some sort of phobia about soft ground, so any time she puts a foot on something and feels herself sinking, she practically shits herself. End result was we spent far too long covering a tiny amount of ground, and I ended up deviating from my chosen bearing to try to pacify her with what looked like easier terrain to cross. Unsuccessfully, I might add. I believe divorce was mentioned more than 50 times.

Does anyone have any tips or can point me to a resource about how to walk safely and at a reasonable speed across this type of terrain? I would have sworn blind there would be masses of youtube videos on it. Now I can't find any it makes me feel like we are the only two people who ever found it challenging. The only search results I seem to get are people saying things like, "It's a nice easy walk across open moorland" - which does not accurately reflect what we encountered.

Any help would be much appreciated, right now it feels like wife will not be coming with me on any such walks in the future unless I can show her how to do it more confidently.

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Snake Plissken
1 hour ago, Fully Detached said:

I'm sure people here have the skills and experience to help me with this, I am buggered if I can find anything useful online.

Wife and I went out onto the Brecons last Saturday to look for one of the crashed WW2 bomber sites. Because aircraft rarely have the decency to crash right next to a footpath, that means at some point you have to leave the footpath and head off across open moorland. My problem is that I have no experience or skills in walking this kind of terrain, so within 50 metres I'd already nearly broken a leg by stepping into a hidden ditch. I managed to make slow progress after that just by treading far more carefully and really studying the ground in front of me, although I still had a couple more incidents where I could have sprained an ankle.

Wife, however, turns out to have some sort of phobia about soft ground, so any time she puts a foot on something and feels herself sinking, she practically shits herself. End result was we spent far too long covering a tiny amount of ground, and I ended up deviating from my chosen bearing to try to pacify her with what looked like easier terrain to cross. Unsuccessfully, I might add. I believe divorce was mentioned more than 50 times.

Does anyone have any tips or can point me to a resource about how to walk safely and at a reasonable speed across this type of terrain? I would have sworn blind there would be masses of youtube videos on it. Now I can't find any it makes me feel like we are the only two people who ever found it challenging. The only search results I seem to get are people saying things like, "It's a nice easy walk across open moorland" - which does not accurately reflect what we encountered.

Any help would be much appreciated, right now it feels like wife will not be coming with me on any such walks in the future unless I can show her how to do it more confidently.

If there is any path around at all , then use it , even if it seems a longer distance, it will be the best way through by far. When walking moorland or other rough uk ground you can find yourself walking into a really boggy area then having to back track or walk around until you find a way through. Big boots and gaiters help but even then sometimes your leg might go down quite far. If its really bad ground it can be quite tiresome and not much fun. Otherwise try and look ahead as much as possible to avoid the worst of it. Has your wife any walking poles ? They can help with rough ground and give confidence.

 

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Transistor Man
4 hours ago, Fully Detached said:

Any help would be much appreciated, right now it feels like wife will not be coming with me on any such walks in the future unless I can show her how to do it more confidently.

Only way I know I know is to step from the middle of one tuft of grass to the next. But it always goes wrong in the end. I’ve been on many similar walks looking for aircraft crashes in Snowdonia. 

Snowshoes? 

image.thumb.jpeg.5d8421115ce5fa34cea18d5fb5b5f031.jpeg

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Fully Detached
9 hours ago, Snake Plissken said:

If there is any path around at all , then use it , even if it seems a longer distance, it will be the best way through by far. When walking moorland or other rough uk ground you can find yourself walking into a really boggy area then having to back track or walk around until you find a way through. Big boots and gaiters help but even then sometimes your leg might go down quite far. If its really bad ground it can be quite tiresome and not much fun. Otherwise try and look ahead as much as possible to avoid the worst of it. Has your wife any walking poles ? They can help with rough ground and give confidence.

 

I did buy her some poles and she's promised to give them a go next time - actually more to help with descending steep slopes than anything, but I did also think it would help her gain confidence in uncertain ground. We did try to take a longer route to find better ground, but not really knowing what was what it was all a bit of trial and error. So I guess practice is the key.

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Fully Detached
5 hours ago, Transistor Man said:

Only way I know I know is to step from the middle of one tuft of grass to the next. But it always goes wrong in the end. I’ve been on many similar walks looking for aircraft crashes in Snowdonia. 

Snowshoes? 

image.thumb.jpeg.5d8421115ce5fa34cea18d5fb5b5f031.jpeg

Yes I read about this technique, and most people seem to have the same experience. I think snowshoes might be a little too tiring though!

I find the crash sites fascinating, and have book on all the ones in the Brecons. I'm hoping I can get the wife back on track so she will come out looking fr some others with me.

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Royston

It probably takes years of experience but I can generally identify the boggy areas or patches of rough broken ground hidden beneath the heather pretty much instinctively now, and I'll often avoid them without even consciously being aware I'm actually doing it, just from the lay of the land and the vegetation, in particular rushes on wet ground and old leggy heather on rough ground.

I agree snowshoes might be a little ott and get you some strange looks... a bit like the time I saw a couple setting off for a walk up Kinder Scout with ice axes and crampons dangling off the back of their rucksacks... in June, and to top it off when I went back passed the car park less than 2 hours later their car had already gone, that's some expedition they embarked upon!

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Those tussocks can be real ankle breakers.

When I've been on the moors (Dartmoor or Bodmin Moor down here) I try to find online routes others have taken as when on the ground it's sometimes not obvious where the path is if it's not that well trodden recently, and often animal tracks are the nearest thing to cutting through the worst of it.

So see if there are any official trails nearby on the OS mapping (OSMaps.com) or if have access to Strava or Garmin Connect they provide heat maps of activity to see where others have gone so can see the more popular ways around an area. There may be others online resources like Plotaroute.com that offer similar route ideas.

There may also be blogs of othes who have visited the same spot and may offer tips on routing and perhaps even a gpx or similar route map to download and use.

If you have a drone you could use that to look at the land from up high to see easy ways through, or just rent a landrover to access all areas. xD

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swiss_democracy_for_all
On 12/04/2022 at 22:50, Fully Detached said:

I'm sure people here have the skills and experience to help me with this, I am buggered if I can find anything useful online.

Wife and I went out onto the Brecons last Saturday to look for one of the crashed WW2 bomber sites. Because aircraft rarely have the decency to crash right next to a footpath, that means at some point you have to leave the footpath and head off across open moorland. My problem is that I have no experience or skills in walking this kind of terrain, so within 50 metres I'd already nearly broken a leg by stepping into a hidden ditch. I managed to make slow progress after that just by treading far more carefully and really studying the ground in front of me, although I still had a couple more incidents where I could have sprained an ankle.

Wife, however, turns out to have some sort of phobia about soft ground, so any time she puts a foot on something and feels herself sinking, she practically shits herself. End result was we spent far too long covering a tiny amount of ground, and I ended up deviating from my chosen bearing to try to pacify her with what looked like easier terrain to cross. Unsuccessfully, I might add. I believe divorce was mentioned more than 50 times.

Does anyone have any tips or can point me to a resource about how to walk safely and at a reasonable speed across this type of terrain? I would have sworn blind there would be masses of youtube videos on it. Now I can't find any it makes me feel like we are the only two people who ever found it challenging. The only search results I seem to get are people saying things like, "It's a nice easy walk across open moorland" - which does not accurately reflect what we encountered.

Any help would be much appreciated, right now it feels like wife will not be coming with me on any such walks in the future unless I can show her how to do it more confidently.

This splendid lady will probably give you less trouble than the missus (well, during the walk at least) and could probably assist you in improving your technique at all sorts of things. However given her recent health issues, she may be a little less willing to, ahem, stray off the path than before.

Julia Bradbury | May 11 132/366 I was a very lucky boy today… | Flickr

 

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Fully Detached
8 hours ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

This splendid lady will probably give you less trouble than the missus (well, during the walk at least) and could probably assist you in improving your technique at all sorts of things. However given her recent health issues, she may be a little less willing to, ahem, stray off the path than before.

Julia Bradbury | May 11 132/366 I was a very lucky boy today… | Flickr

 

I don't know who she is but I'll take her.

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swiss_democracy_for_all
48 minutes ago, Fully Detached said:

I don't know who she is but I'll take her.

Really? A Dosbods favourite, Julia Bradbury. Most walking men’s fantasy mistress/wife, her career has been presenting various things on TV, from memory she started with holidays, but she now presents a series of walks round Britain, nearly always wearing inappropriately sexy leggings that wise women walking on their own wouldn’t wear, but good to watch and she genuinely seems to like the walking.

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Fully Detached
12 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Really? A Dosbods favourite, Julia Bradbury. Most walking men’s fantasy mistress/wife, her career has been presenting various things on TV, from memory she started with holidays, but she now presents a series of walks round Britain, nearly always wearing inappropriately sexy leggings that wise women walking on their own wouldn’t wear, but good to watch and she genuinely seems to like the walking.

Ah yes I know Julia Bradbury, I just didn't recognise her there.  Fine woman. Fine.

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It's called moongrass in the trade and wastes a lot of grunts trying to be special.

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Routefinding.  Study the terrain.  None of it is virgin.  That bomber site is fairly popular so well trodden in places.  Only off piste when required which for us is luckily almost never.

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On 13/04/2022 at 08:29, Fully Detached said:

I did buy her some poles and she's promised to give them a go next time - actually more to help with descending steep slopes than anything, but I did also think it would help her gain confidence in uncertain ground. We did try to take a longer route to find better ground, but not really knowing what was what it was all a bit of trial and error. So I guess practice is the key.

Poles are very popular in Europe and make a lot of sense generally, especially if not sure footed or carrying a load.  You can cover ground a lot faster overall.

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Straingone
12 hours ago, Fully Detached said:

Ah yes I know Julia Bradbury, I just didn't recognise her there.  Fine woman. Fine.

I thought it was the German woman from TopGear who drove a transit round the Nürburgring.

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Fully Detached
8 hours ago, Straingone said:

I thought it was the German woman from TopGear who drove a transit round the Nürburgring.

Sadly, she won't be walking anywhere any more.

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