Since I started all this walking, and since the weather started making it more pleasant (before summer was stolen from us again), I've started hearing friends making noises about starting to walk more often themselves. I, of course, think this is a wonderful idea so I thought I'd give anyone who was interested a little insight to planning the perfect walk. I'm going to apologise in advance that this might be a little London-centric.
For A-B walks and circular walks
For a lot of my walking activity, I use walkit.com to plan my routes. It's great for finding A-B routes and will tell you how far it is, an approximation of how long it will take you, and a whole host of other stats. You can also choose less busy routes which will take a bit longer but keep you away from the traffic.
Recently they launched a circular route finder, which I find really useful for weekend training when I don't really have to walk anywhere in particular. Circular routes are chosen by start point and how long you want to be on your feet - anywhere from 15 mins to 4 hours - and can be adapted according to how fast you walk.
They're not quite country-wide yet, but they cover a good number of cities across the UK. I particularly love Walkit for short trips - it's saved me a lot of tube and bus journeys over the years.
For longer walks and to find out just how far that walk was
When I've gone off on a bit of a ramble with no fixed route, or when I have an idea of where I want to go and want to plot something around a number of fixed points, I use either MapMyWalk.com or good old Google Maps.
This method takes a bit longer, but there's a lot more flexibility to the route as you're building it yourself. Both will give you a running (or, er, walking) total of how far you will be or have been travelling so, if you're wanting to reach a certain distance, you know when you can sit down.
However, it's worth noting that mapmywalk.com will only let you print out maps if you have a paid subscription with them.
For London Walks and footpaths
Without WalkLondon.org.uk I would not be doing this challenge. For a start, I probably wouldn't have heard of the Capital Ring and I almost certainly wouldn't have had the maps to guide me around it.
But it's much more than just the Capital Ring, there's also the Thames Path, and the Jubilee Walkway, and the Green Chain, and the and the and the. There are great PDF maps and guides to download on each of these. If you're London based or bound, I'd really suggest that you start exploring this site.
For almost London Walks
I bought this book when my distance training started going beyond 8 miles and I decided that I'd quite like to get out of London occasionally.
All of the walks are within a short train ride from the city and are graded according to difficulty. What's nice about them is that they've been written by a keen occasional walking group (the Saturday Walkers' Club) so they're already tested.
The Saturday Walkers' Club also have a website. There are lots of free walks on there, and you can even join them on a ramble if you like. Their site is the one that provided our Walton-on-the-Naze to Clacton walk a couple of weeks back (Walk 52, reversed)
For long walks anywhere in the UK
The Long Distance Walkers Association keeps a list of long distance paths and walks in the UK. Just so you know, a long distance path is a path over 20 miles in length. They also host group and challenge walks for members.
I haven't used the LWDA much yet, but imagine that I will be very soon.
And that's my list of useful resources for now. If I discover any more I'll be sure to share them.