Activity Essentials

Ordnance Survey Explorer Mobile Maps

Have you ever wished you could get your Ordnance Survey Explorer maps on your phone?  Well now you can.  Ordnance Survey are rereleasing their Explorer series of maps with a free mobile download included in your purchase.

How does it work?

It’s simple, just download the Ordnance Survey OS Maps app for Apple or for Android.

When you buy a map which is marked as “Now includes Mobile Download” on the cover, there will be a unique code inside the map (hidden with silver like a scratch card), type in the code to your app and then you can download the app to your phone.

What can you do with the app?

Obviously one of the most helpful functions of a map on your phone, is that you can be sure of where you are!  The app will show you your current location, you can plan and save a route for later and you can search for places by name.  The maps are saved down to your phone so you don’t need to worry about not having a mobile signal.

Which maps can I buy?

Currently Ordnance Survey have soft launched these new maps by just releasing Britains National Parks and the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but later in 2015 all explorer maps will be available and in 2016 Landranger too!

Don’t forget the map!

It may be very handy to have an OS map on your phone but at Procamping we never travel without a physical paper map, you just don’t know when your phone is going to run out of batteries!

Shop -

Shop for Maps at the official Ordnance Survey Website (Make sure you look for the blue “includes mobile download on the cover”

Download the app for Apple or for Android.

Activity Essentials

The Garmin Edge 510 and 810

Garmin have recently launched two new Edge cycling GPS systems.  The Garmin Edge 510 and the Garmin Edge 810.  There is a major difference with these GPS’s to any Garmin have launched before.  The Edge 510 and 810 both can pair with your smartphone to offer real-time online tracking of your ride.

Garmin are the leaders in Cycling GPS’ I own an old Edge 205 which I have put several thousand miles on but I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on an Edge 510 or 810 to try out the new features.


So what do the new Edge’s do?

  • Distance - As you’d expect using GPS technology the Edge system tracks your location to within a couple of feet giving accurate tracking of the distances you have cycled.
  • Speed - Again using GPS (so no wires!) track your current speed, average speed, fastest lap and more.
  • Elevation - Both the 510 and 810 Edge models track your elevation with a barometric pressure sensor.  This is much more accurate than GPS elevation so you’ll be sure how many feet you have climbed up the mountain!
  • Cadence / Heart Rate / Power - Check what comes in the box of the model you are buying both models can be paired with Cadence, heart and power monitors.  Generally Garmin sells these higher end models with a Heart Rate monitor and Cadence, but if you want to track your power you will need to purchase a separate ANT+ device.
  • Maps - This is where the two Edge models differ.  The Garmin Edge 810 has full street mapping capability, you can see on-screen the roads, turnings and even plan a route home on the go.  The Edge 510 does not have any mapping capability.  However you can upload GPX / CRS files to your device which will give you a dotted line route to follow.  I have used this on the old 205 in the past and found it very easy to follow.

The above are the standard features you will have found on Garmin GPS for many years.  So whats new?

New Features

  • Weather -  With the Smartphone connectivity you can get live weather forecasts and alerts as you’re out on your ride.
  • Activity Profiles - Customise data fields and device settings based on cycling activity, such as road, mountain or touring. Allows you to switch profiles with a tap of the screen, so you can get on with your ride quicker.
  • Personal Records - When you complete a ride, Edge 510 and 810 display any new personal records you achieved during that ride. PRs include farthest distance, most ascent gained, fastest 40k and best 20-minute power average.
  • Live Tracking - Let your friends and family follow your ride in real-time.  With Garmin connected to your phone they can see your real-time ride data on your Garmin tracking page.  Perhaps they’ll come out and join you on the ride!
  • Social Media - Aswell as tracking your ride on the Garmin connect site you can share your ride to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.  This means as soon as you finish your ride or race you can add a comment and link your social followers to the full stats of your ride.

Differences between Models

As mentioned above the major difference between these models is Mapping, the 810 has full streetmap style mapping (like you would find on a car Sat Nav) while the 510 doesn’t have this, but it still lets you follow a course with dotted line marking your route.

Other differences include

  • Screen Size - 2.2 inches diagonal for the 510 versus 2.6 inches for the 810
  • Weight - 80g’s for the 510 vs 98g for the 810
  • Battery Life - 20 hours on the 510 and 17 hours on the 810
  • Price - The basis bundles are priced at £249 for the 510 and £379 for the 810

Do you use a cycling GPS out on the road, let us know your thoughts, leave a comment!

Things to do

Tour of Pembrokeshire

Image from Tour of Pembrokeshire

The Tour of Pembrokeshire is an annual road cycling event starting in St Davids.  The ride is open to anyone and has three choices of routes, 50, 75 or 100 miles.  St Davids has several coastal campsites and in 2012 I enjoyed a long weekend camping and cycling the Tour of Pembrokeshire.  2012 was a great year with glorious sunshine and I’m hoping for the same in 2013.

The 2013 Tour of Pembrokeshire takes place on Saturday 27th April 2013 or for families there is a shorter 8 or 16 mile ride on the Sunday.  The route starts at Oriel y Parc, St Davids.  In 2012 I found a very efficient registration process, and included a free Torq energy rhubarb and custard gel.  Normally I hate the flavour of energy gels but I have to say this one was the best I have tasted.

The ride itself starts by taking in the coast, as you crest a hill you get a magnificent sight of the bay below… and the next hill to climb, for 50 miler’s it works its way as far as Fishguard, 100 milers go as far as Cardigan.  Along the way the route is extremely well signposted (though if you own a GPS you can also download the route from the Tour Website) and there are several feed stations offering energy drink refills, bananas and other energy foods.

Then once you’ve finished the ride why not stay in St Davids and spend the Sunday exploring the coast and the UK’s smallest city!

Camping - We stayed at the Porthclais Farm Campsite which is right next to the coast in St Davids, in 2012 we found the campsite almost deserted so no queues for the showers!  It had a basic but ample shower and toilet block.  Priced at £7 per person per night, and only around a mile away from the centre of St Davids it was easy to cycle to the starting point of the event or after in the evening walk into the city for a pub supper!  Also from the campsite you can directly access the cliffside walk which is nice to walk down to in the evening and watch the sun go down.

Have you done the Tour of Pembrokeshire or are you considering it?  Leave a comment and share any memories or tips!

Books & Guides

LEJOG - The End to End Cycle Route

Perhaps one of the cycling challenges Britain is most known for is LEJOG - Lands End to John O Groat’s.  This manual from Ciricone Guides is the perfect guide to plan and embark on such a trip.  The first thing to note is that this guide was published in March 2012, so it is pretty much as up to date a guide as you will currently find for the route.  However we always recommend you plan ahead and book accommodation or at least check everything is open.


The book is split up into the following chapters

  • Overview map
  • Introduction
  • Things to see
  • Getting there
  • Accommodation
  • Getting back
  • Which way and when to go
  • Health and safety
  • Training fitness
  • What to take
  • Food and drink
  • Using this guide
  • The Route
  • Stage 1    Land’s End to Fowey
  • Stage 2    Fowey to Moretonhampstead
  • Stage 3    Moretonhampstead to Street
  • Stage 4    Street to Monmouth
  • Stage 5    Monmouth to Clun
  • Stage 6    Clun to Runcorn
  • Stage 7    Runcorn to Slaidburn
  • Stage 8    Slaidburn to Keswick
  • Stage 9    Keswick to Moffat
  • Stage 10    Moffat to Loch Lomond
  • Stage 11    Loch Lomond to Glencoe
  • Stage 12    Glencoe to Inverness
  • Stage 13    Inverness to the Crask Inn
  • Stage 14    The Crask Inn to John o’ Groats
  • Appendix A    Route summary table
  • Appendix B    OS maps covering the route
  • Appendix C    Accommodation
  • Appendix D    Tourist information
  • Appendix E    Cycle repair shops en route
  • Appendix F    Other useful resources
  • Appendix G    OS grid references

The first section of the guide discusses everything you’ll need to think about for your ride - Things to see (it’s no point cycling head down if you don’t see the sites along the way) accommodation be it campsites, B&B’s or Hostels.  How to train, what to take and more.

The ride itself is separated into 14 stages, with each stage averaging around 70 miles.  The route is a tried and tested route designed to avoid the busier A roads as much as possible and follow minor roads and cycle paths taking in the sights and scenery of Britain.

Finally and most essentially the book contains an appendix of guides including cycle repair shops!

Amazon customers rate this book 4.9 out of 5 stars, their comments include

If you are looking for a clearly written, pedal by pedal guide to ‘LeJog’ I don’t think you could better than this book. With precise instructions on every turn in every road, gradient profiles and clear maps and photographs this has obviously been a labour of love for the author

If you’re even vaguely curious about attempting this ride, then this book is simply a must buy. There are some other great guides out there, but the author has clearly poured his heart and soul into this book

I was lucky enough to ride the end-to-end under the guidance of the author (Nick) in 2011. He was undertaking the ride for the eighth or ninth time and was constantly searching for ways to improve his guide notes. This book has contains the notes written by a man who can now cycle this great trip from memory!

Clearly the author has put his all into this book making it a must have reference book while planning and cycling LEJOG.  Have you done the Lands End to John o’Groats?  Leave a comment and tell us how you got on and your best memories.


Find Land’s End to John o’Groats at Amazon