Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Top 10 Presents for Pub-Walkers

What Pub Walkers Want for Christmas - My Top 10 List

Looking for last minute gift ideas for your pub-walking friends or partner? Well, one of the things I love about pub walks is that they combine so many different interests into a single hobby. Clearly we all enjoy a good walk and a good pub but for most of us there is so much more to it than that.

It's true the walk may simply be some exercise ahead of a calorific indulgence; more likely though it reflects a love of fresh air and the outdoors with a real interest in nature in all its forms and seasonal variations. Likewise, the desire to help preserve our precious pub tradition is often linked to a deep-seated passion for other aspects of our national heritage.

So, all that gives a good variety of things to choose from when buying Christmas presents for pub walkers: from real ale to Ramblers membership, natural history books to National Trust membership, OS Getamap to good pub guides!

If you'd like to see my Top 10 list of gift ideas for pub walkers for 2011 then here it is. Perhaps if you share the list, your friends may take the hint and buy one of these for you too! You may have other ideas in which case then please add a comment and share - we'd all love to see them too :-)

1. Ordnance Survey Getamap Service
This is a great new service from Ordnance Survey which earns my top slot for pub walkers. It gives online access to all OS Landranger and OS Explorer maps and allows you to plot, save and share your walking routes. By paying an annual subscription of £19.99, you also get to print unlimited A4 maps, and add waypoint photos, customised route styling and use a full screen view of the map window. Even better, it is linked to the Good Pub Guide, so perfect for creating your own favourite pub walks!
Click on Ordnance Survey Getamap for more information.

2. National Trust Gift Membership
Did you know the National Trust owns or manages 38 pubs and inns? Of course they are better known for their commitment to the preservation of our coast, countryside and historic buildings, with their extensive tracts of land offering great walks and spectacular scenery. Right now, Gift Membership offers 25% off the normal price plus an extra free gift of a pair of National Trust binoculars, making it our favourite Christmas present!
For more details go to National Trust Gift Membership, click 'Join Online' and then select 'A gift for someone else'. Costs start as low as £17.63 for someone up to age 25.

3. Good Pub Guide, Good Beer Guide or AA Pub Guide

Although the Good Pub Guide may historically have been the most popular pub-goers bible, its independent status is now being debated since starting to charge pubs for entry for 2012. So this year why not try the Good Beer Guide instead which also gives general comments on the pubs beyond the quality of the real ale on offer. It too is densely packed with information in text form so if you prefer something easier on the eye (albeit covering fewer pubs) then the AA Pub Guide has many colour photos and feels better quality for a book to enjoy browsing. All are updated annually.
You can buy any of these from via The Pub Walker's On-Line Store which showcases Amazon products of interest to pub walkers.

4. Walking Socks
OK, I know that socks as a present for a man are the butt of many jokes but forget the stereotype as a pair of really good quality walking socks make a great gift for him or her! Cold feet can be a misery and this present could make a real difference to your walking companions in terms of both comfort and warmth.
To see a good selection try the Cotswold Outdoor site.

5. Bottled Real Ale
Much as we must use our pubs, or lose them, there are evenings at home when a glass of bottled real ale really hits the spot. If a pub walking friend lives some distance away then why not surprise them and arrange to have a few bottles delivered to their door by such companies as Ales by Mail.

6. Compass!
If you do your pub walks with someone who does not have a compass than you should get them one, seriously. Apart from just being able to check it occasionally to ensure they are heading in the right direction and avoid retracing steps, it may open up a whole new world to them of exploring new routes (and pubs).
Click on Compasses at for the ideal stocking-filler as they have a wide range starting from less than £2.

7. Yaktrax Walker
This is a great new product for anyone who wants to still get out and enjoy walking when there is ice and compacted snow around. A simple and lightweight accessory that fits over boots, shoes or trainers, it provides extra grip and makes the perfect winter gift for pub walkers as well as keen joggers, commuters, outdoor workers, dog owners, the elderly and indeed anyone who has to or wants to walk on icy pavements. What's more it uses coils rather than spikes so cannot damage the pavement, or you!
Click on Yaktrax to find out more.

8. Garmin GPS for Walkers
Much as I am a fan of the traditional OS map and would always carry one, there is no doubt that a handheld Garmin device adds a new dimension to your walking experience - record your routes and share them with friends or publish online; and upload your own routes or those of others to the device before you set off. There can be many other features depending upon which model you choose and in fact there are some great offers in the run up to Christmas.
Click on Garmin devices for some of the best offers I could find.

9. Gamma Head Torch
I have to admit my walks often take somewhat longer than I expect, sometimes even arriving at pubs after food has stopped being served - at lunchtime that is! And with darkness descending earlier every day almost until Christmas and cutting short our walking time, I think this powerful head torch is a great idea. Voted best value head torch in Trail magazine, the Gamma head torch also has numerous positive user reviews on-line. At £12.50 it is definitely on my list.
To buy this, go to Alpkit Gamma head torch.

10. ??? What do you suggest?
No-one wants a Top 9 list so can you help make it a Top 10? If you have a suggestion for my final last minute gift idea for Pub Walkers then please add a comment below and share it with us all!

As many people know, our website uses free pub walk downloads and links to promote the best of our pub heritage to a hungry and thirsty walking community. Some of the links above are affiliate links which pay a % commission which help to pay for the costs of running the site. So if you like any of the ideas and want to help us support our community pubs then please do click through using the links above. Either way, we hope you find the gift ideas of interest and a help if you are buying for someone who shares our passion for pub walks.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my pub walking friends!

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  1. Anonymous8:26 pm

    No 10 A lift to somewhere within a good walk of the Talbot at Knightwick - the best pub to walk to (in fact the best pub period)

  2. I have always resisted the whole GPS thing... I think it spoils the enjoyment of getting lost which always happily adds at least another hour or so onto my walking routes!!!

  3. Walking - I know what you mean about GPS, a mixed blessing I agree. Probably depends upon how remote your walks are. So far, touch wood, I have usually managed to find the pub I'm looking for as the walk usually starts from there...

  4. Anonymous12:58 pm

    I agree with the GPS thing, I have never used one but so perhaps I am one sided, but I love just rambling along, if I feel I am slightly out of my comfort zone, I find a point and use a map and compass to get me home. Plus, when people like above and beyond sell OS Explorer Maps cheap for £5.19 why spend 100 times that?