Tag Archives: landscape

Travels in Virtuality: Death Valley

Chris Townsend’s recent wonderful photos and descriptions of his recent walk through Death Valley have inspired me to recall my own pathetic attempt to get there in 2002. I wrote about it in my memoir/travelogue of cyberspace, ‘Hello World: Travels in Virtuality’ (2004).

Last week I re-published the chapter in which I tell the story of my ill-fated trip. The lesson I learned  was that reality – and indeed virtual reality – should not be confused with the products of the imagination.

Read Travels in Virtuality: Death Valley at Medium.

The latest Nordic television hit: live-streamed sea | The Guardian

Stressed out by a fast-paced daily life and binge-watching the latest hit TV shows? Norway may have the answer with its latest slow TV instalment: watching the ebb and flow of the sea, for 12 hours, without interruption.

Since 2009, the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK has been experimenting with live, slow-paced programmes, broadcasting a seven-hour train journey across the country from east to west, a six-day trip by cruise ship from south to north, and 12 hours of knitting – and it all started with a show on shearing a sheep.

NRK will air water feature on Saltstraumen maelstrom

The programmes have proved popular with viewers, so the latest idea is to live broadcast the world’s strongest tidal current, called Saltstraumen, near the city of Bodoe, about 50 miles (80km) north of the Arctic circle.

“People will experience the calm of watching the current,” said Gisle Forland, one of the two presenters of the show, due to be broadcast on 20 May, from midday to midnight.

“It will be in the same style as the other (slow TV shows). We will show nature, with the camera rolling and a little music, and people who tell the history, geology and nature of Saltstraumen,” he said.

Saltstraumen is a narrow strait linking two fjords, where sea water can flow through at speeds of up to 25mph, creating maelstroms famed at least since Viking times.

Lights, camera – and not much action, in this “current affairs” show.

Source: Norway introduces the latest Nordic television hit: live-streamed sea | World news | The Guardian

Note: Apologies – I couldn’t find a link to the show on NRK’s website. Can anyone help?

Google Trekker takes to the British countryside. First stop Surrey.

If you’ve rambled across Britain in recent years, you may have noticed fellow walkers wearing strange contraptions on their backs. This new addition to the UK wildlife scene is the Google Trekker Street View Camera and it’s being used to map 2,500 miles of ancient trails crisscrossing the UK. Here’s how it works (via The Guardian):

The first trail went live this month, March 2016. It covers the North Downs Way and is broken into sections. Here, for example, is Farnham to Guildford. Just click on an arrow to start moving. If you haven’t used Google Street View before, here’s a simple guide to get started.

The aim is to recreate all of the UK National Trails

  • Cleveland Way
  • Cotswold Way
  • Glyndwr’s Way
  • Hadrian’s Wall path
  • North Downs Way
  • Offa’s Dyke
  • Peddars Way and Norfolk coast path
  • Pembrokeshire coastal path
  • Pennine bridleway
  • Pennine Way
  • South Downs Way
  • South West coast path
  • Thames path
  • The Ridgeway
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way

Get more people walking

This project could, says The Guardian, hugely increase the number of people walking these trails.

If “the Google effect”on Britain is anything like “the Wild effect” in the US, there will soon be unprecedented numbers of people walking the national trails that traverse some of the most beautiful countryside in England and Wales.

Wild‘ was the name of a book in 2012 and, two years later, a film about writer Cheryl Strayed’s life-affirming journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, the longest walking route in the world, stretching more than 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada. Before ‘Wild’, only a few hundred hiking permits were issued for the trail every year. Last year it was more than 4,500 – and the number who walked the whole route quadrupled.

Are you inspired to get involved? Google says that if you’re a tourism board, non-profit, university, research organization or other third party who can gain access and help collect imagery of hard to reach places, you can apply to borrow the Trekker and help map the world. Start here.