It seems the next essential gadget for all hillwalkers will be an MP3 player.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is the latest to adopt podcasts to guide visitors to the outdoors to its attractions.
Ribblehead viaduct and Batty Moss (above right) : the audio guide will help visitors to the area
The authority has produced a nine-minute long audio tour which can be downloaded and then taken on your personal MP3 player on the route of the walk, which takes the visitor round the environs of Ribblehead.
The area is a site with lots of historic interest, from its time as a shanty town during the construction of the viaduct carrying the Settle and Carlisle Railway. There are also workings from previous industrial and agricultural use. The audio guide takes the walker round 15 points, at which details of the archaeology of Ribblehead can be followed.
There’s a downloadable PDF map available to print out so you can follow the route more easily. The walk is on low-level terrain, never more than about 400m from the railway and viaduct.
The YDNPA’s Interpretation Officer Karen Griffiths said: “The authority decided earlier this year to try to reduce the number of new interpretation panels – boards placed on site explaining the immediate surroundings – being installed in the national park because of the visual impact they have on the environment.
“Instead, we were looking at other ways of helping visitors understand what they see around them and we decided to try virtual interpretation.”
The 8.38Mb podcasts are available for download from the authority’s Out of Oblivion website or from the Settle-Carlisle Partnership site. Visitors are encouraged to use the railway to visit the site, which is only 300m from Ribblehead station.
Drystone Radio, an Internet community station based in Cowling, near Keighley, has helped produce the podcast.