As the national lockdown (number 3!) has got us all in it’s grasp again, it’s not all doom and gloom.
We can’t all run and exercise together as a group which is hugely disappointing for us here at Let’s Go, we can only reminisce about our last Sunday run out together. A stunning day, chilly but calm and the dogs and humans thoroughly enjoyed a longer run over to Duckpool and back via muddy trails and coastal paths.
We are lucky enough to live in an area that almost invites you out meanwhile our dogs are essential motivators for us to explore more….but where?
Do you walk or run the same paths as you’re not sure where that other trail leads? Do you worry about livestock or try to keep to well-trodden paths, I know many who run with me say they’ve never taken this route/ that trail before because they didn’t know where it went to.
Even though I can’t lead a group now, there are many apps and tools that you have at your fingertips, on your phone, to enable you to explore more, even within our local area.
Within this blog, I’m going to detail 5 of my most used apps to create new routes, in the hope that it will also help you to explore more with your dogs. Take your canicross kit, hook on and explore more with your canine companions, you’ll feel better for it and feel free to share your adventures with us on social media. Tag us in via Facebook or Instagram, we’d love to see where you head to.
My Top 5 Navigation Apps.
OS Maps App – this is my go-to app currently. There is currently £5 off the annual subscription to this app using ONEYEAROUTSIDE at checkout, making a years subscription £18.99 for 12 months. I’ve used this app for the last 2 years and used it plenty of times both near and far. It is invaluable for me to create and plot routes before heading out as well as making sure I have them downloaded on my phone for use offline. I also use the gpx route to sync it to my Fenix 3 and use it whilst navigating on the go within the watch. It will let me know if I start to stray off route, a real bonus for having that to hand I can assure you!
ViewRanger – another app that has the huge bonus of being able to have your routes downloaded so that they can be used offlline. As many areas here I struggle to get signal and would be without navigation otherwise. It’s also got a community feel within it, you can follow others route sharing as well as creae your own routes within the app. You can also record a route within the app too so it can be stored for another use.
Komoot – this is a fairly new app to me over the last 6 months but I’m enjoying finding new routes further afield, for when we can travel a little more. It’s got a great communiy spirit to it as you can follow others, take a look at some routes that inspire you and highlight areas within your tours for others to see. They also showcase recommended tours from your previous selections or for areas you specify within the app. It also allows me to sync it with my Garmin device and log all my run and walk routes within it, adding photos and notes about my own tours. You can find me there by searching for Lara | Lets Go Canicross
AllTrails: Hike, Run & Cycle – again a fairly new app for me as I’ve been immensely impressed with OS Maps and haven’t been seeking many more out until recently. What I do like about AllTrails alongside Komoot is that they recommend top trails nearby. There are plenty of routes on your doorstep that can be accessed through the free app. To download them for offline use you need to subscribe as with most of the other apps.
iWalk Cornwall – the key feature that I absolutely love about this app is that the app tracks your position around the walk as well as pointing out highlights and features as you walk. You really can’t go wrong when you follow a walk through iWalk Cornwall. Another feature, which is invaluable for me as a dog owner, it evaluates the walk in terms of how dog friendly it is. Whether stiles are dog friendly or whether the dogs need lifting, whether there are likely to be livestock grazing and also the time of year you will encouter ground-nesting birds breeding so dogs need to be on leads.
Whilst out on the trails, I ensure I have downloaded the route so that I can work offline as needed, just in case we take a wrong turn or find ourselves going off-piste a little! I also export my route to my GPS watch. I bought a Garmin Fenix 3 three years ago after completing my first ultra marathon, mainly for the battery life it offers but it’s got so many other features that I use. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve made for adventuring and for taking groups out.
It not only allows me to track my routes and record them (I use Strava to log all my runs and hikes) but I can create routes in the OS Map app and then download the gpx files directly on to my watch. As I start a route, I switch on the navigation within my watch and follow the course I’ve imported. If I go off track, it alerts me so that I don’t find myself wandering into unwanted territory, It’s been known many a time without my tech with me.
I also recommend ensuring you have the What3Words app downloaded in case of any mishaps or emergencies along the way. A while ago, I twisted my ankle pretty badly whilst out running with Tilly (not her fault, I just landed badly on a rocky path) and needed to be picked up as I was over 3 miles from home and not able to put pressure on it. If I was in an area unknown to me, I would have needed the help of What3Words to locate myself and to let my “taxi” know!
I wouldn’t recommend straying too far away from home currently (during lockdown) as this could put extra pressure on individuals or even the emergency services if you did need help BUT there are so many amazing trails hidden within your local area, I can assure you you’ll find some that will be new to you.
I always use my canicross kit whilst running or trekking my dogs, it allows me to walk and run hands-free whilst ensuring I can keep both myself and the dogs safe. Both dogs wear their DogFit canicross harnesses whilst trekking and running and I use my DogFit canicross waistbelt, bungee line and splitter when I keep them on lead. Whilst they can free run in places, the canicross harnesses sit snug to their body and I’ve never had any issues with them getting caught up in anything (and my two are EXTREME explorers!).
I take my backpack with me too. I’m currently using the Montane Via Fang vest, which I take on canicross runs as well as hikes. It fits snug to my body, doesn’t move whilst I run and has a plethora of pockets to store everything from poo bags to treats for both myself and the dogs. It has two pockets upfront for my soft flasks (especially handy in the summer months to hydrate both myself and the dogs) which also double up as a safe place to store gloves, keys and even more snacks in the winter months!
Please do enjoy the great outdoors as much as you can. It lifts your mood, enhances your love for your local area as well as being a fabulous way to keep those gorgeous canines of ours exercised and tired!
Do share your adventures with us by tagging us in on on Facebook and Instagram and using the hashtags #letsgocanicross #youllneverrunalone #youllneverwalkalone
Enjoy your adventures together.