Today is the Solstice, the longest day of the year. I'm still not sure if we have already had our Summer; I hope I haven't missed my chance to go walking and cycling in the sunshine.
Google Maps and Canals
The most exciting news for a long time is that Google Maps are going to start mapping the canals and river footpaths and cycleways. It has been very frustrating using GoogleMaps to plan walks and bike rides along canals. At the moment google cannot see towpaths, so to get from point A to point B on a canal may take you via point C,D, and E, on the road. I look forward to planning bike rides and being able to quickly get directions and distances and times on an easily accessible website.
I have tried to create my own maps in Google of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. My maps are useful but they do take time and effort on my part and I am a naturally lazy person who gives up on things like this, which is why the maps are mostly incomplete. So to have Google do the hard work, and produce a more accurate map than me is a good thing.
This could however take a lot of traffic away from canal websites like mine and others who are based on helping people plan canal routes. And traffic is the life of a website. Not just for the advertising that pays for it, but for the interaction with other people who like canals and can be encouraged to use them.
Hopefully towpathtreks.co.uk and other sites can use the new google maps feature to continue to promote the canals and enhance our service.
Burscough Canal Heritage Week
This week is the Burscough Canal Heritage Week 2012. Last year the weather was hot, sunny with a couple of showers. The forecast for this weekend is not as optimistic. Last year there were a good collection of former working boat. Burscough Canal Heritage Week 2011 blog I intend to head up to Burscough on Saturday to see whats going on and take some photos. It is hard sometimes for heritage events not to look twee and irrelevant, but at Burscough Wharf the new development shows that canals are very much a contemporary feature in English life.
Other Days Out
Sunday is the Africa Oye in Liverpool so I will be there for that, weather permitting.
Next weekend I am off to the east end of London to have a walk and see what the canals around the Olympic site look like.
I have a medium sized bike ride planned around Runcorn Widness, and I am hoping for the weather to do that over the next few weeks.