This weekend sees the return of the Cardiff NHS Hackday and I’m going to make the plunge. Last year I was an interested observer, and produced a few posts about what happened (available here). This year I’m hoping to make a pitch. This might be a completely daft idea, so I’m testing it here first, what could possibly go wrong?
So here it is….., my idea for a visual tool for getting people to walk the Wales Coastal Path. All comments very welcome.
The Wales Coastal Path – A Visual Tool for Sign-Up and Completion of Walking Stages. Supporting Groups to Participate in Walking the Path.
Why Walk the Wales Coast Path as a Group?
The health benefits of exercise are well-known and considerable effort and resources are directed towards encouraging people to participate in a wide range of physical activities. Walking is a form of exercise that is many positive features which include; relatively easy access to the activity, low-cost of participation (you don’t really need expensive equipment) and above all, the ability to get easy access to very many excellent walks in Wales. One of the most interesting and potentially challenging of these walks is the Wales Coastal Path, all 870 miles or 1400 km of it.
The prospect of walking the whole length of the Wales Coastal Path is daunting, even for the most experienced and enthusiastic walker. There are however groups of people who are interested in tackling challenges, as a group. The popularity of events such as the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge organised by Charities such as Ty Hafan clearly demonstrate this. One of the benefits of tackling a challenge as a group (apart from the principle of ‘many hands make light work’) is that people are able to provide support and encouragement to other group members. Peer pressure, for a positive purpose, can help people achieve impressive things.
This Hackday pitch is to create a visual tool that allows groups of people to sign up to walk the Wales Coastal Path; then commit to walking a specific section(s) and register completion when they have walked that section(s).
How would the Wales Coastal Path Visual Tool work?
- The ‘front end’ part of the tool (the part users see) would be a map of the Wales Coastal Path. Users would able to download the tool for specific use with their own group.
- At this point the whole of the route of the Coast Path is highlighted as RED – unassigned.
- The route of the Coast Path is divided up into units of walking. These could be 5km units, to encourage ‘entry level’ participation or they may be based upon other distances which are determined by the difficulty of the terrain or accessibility. For example 5km stretches in the flat urban areas of North and South Wales are probably more feasible than remote areas of the Llyn Peninsular or rural Pembrokeshire.
- Members of the group would select their walking section based upon their own abilities and preferences.
- Once a walking section has been chosen, that part of the Coastal Path map turns YELLOW.
- A Wales Coastal Path map progressively turning yellow would act as a good visual stimulation and will encourage peer support amongst the group.
- As members of the group complete their walking section, they register this and that section of the map turns GREEN. Again the visual elements of this will encourage peer support amongst the group and acts as a record of achievement.
- Just to be clear – this is not a detailed navigation tool for the Wales Coastal Path – there are plenty of commercial providers of this information – from paper Ordnance Survey maps to real-time digital GPS navigation tools. This is an overview that allows scheduling and sign off for groups.
- Beyond this being a tool to visualise sign up and completion, there are very many opportunities to enhance the basic version, for example:
- The ability to post photographs of the walk,
- Links to social media feeds to share experiences,
- Links to local services such as public transport or accommodation and
- Links to fund-raising activities.
Some Questions that Need to Consideration.
- Does this tool exist already? (I’ve looked but found nothing)
- How easy is it to get a digital version of the route?
- Will this ‘tread on the toes’ of Wales Coastal Path?
- How easy is it to split up the walking sections?
- Are there any liability issues?
Any answers to the questions would be very much appreciated. I’m unlikely to be much help with coding, but I can talk a bit about walking some of the coast path. Hopefully see you at Hackday.
Picture and Information Sources: