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Friday, June 23, 2006

On British National Parks

Unlike U.S. National Parks, the British National Parks are not government or public property --- they are a collection of land under private ownership that has been designated as National Parks, so are under certain building restrictions. Hence, most of the land you’re walking through is public property where walkers have been granted rights of way either by common law or by agreement.

To keep the rural feel, British National Parks do not have proper signposts or destination markers on their footpaths. (This is a silly policy, if you ask me, but it’s their National Park) I didn’t think a GPS was necessary before I left, and I did manage with just a map and compass, but I now think that was foolhardy. If the weather had been worse, we could have easily gotten really lost. You still need to be a good navigator with map and compass (and I’m a reasonable one, despite being years out of practice), but if the fog comes down you’re not going to be able to orient yourself with landmarks.

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