This Walk Distance Calculator determines the straight-line distances between points and allows these to be added cumulatively to provide an overall distance for the walk. The program also provides the bearing for each leg ideal for use with GPS systems.

The grid references of all the major peaks and many other locations are included within the algorithm and for many walks it is just a matter of selecting them from the list and submitting them. Grid references may be in 6 figure (estimated), 8 figure (more carefully estimated), or 10 figure (GPS measured) format. I am not suggesting that the GPS is accurate to the nearest metre but I have, on occasion, achieved reproducibility of less than 10 metres. In some cases pertinent waymarks have been named after local features. For example, there is a point where the path coming up the valley from Glenridding splits, with one branch leading over Sticks Pass and the other going towards Keppel Cove. This particular point has been named after the nearby hamlet of Greenside. Clarification of such matters can be obtained by checking the grid reference on a map.

There is also the facility to input your own grid reference data which can be labelled if you so wish.

The algorithm copes with crossing zero lines on the grid i.e. it will calculate the distance from 990000 to 010000 as 1.24 miles (2 km) and not 60.89 miles (98 km) and can therefore be used for any similarly based grid of any area, with the proviso that individual leg distances are no more than about 30 miles.

new A facility is provided for outputting a file, in Gardown format, of the walk you've outlined, suitable for uploading to a Garmin GPS. Tick the box marked "Output GPS data file" and "SUBMIT" again. The file will be downloaded for saving.

  • Most browsers will ask the user to save the file to disk but where the browser displays the file note that it must be SAVEd (from the file menu in most browsers) as if an html, not a text file, or the format will be corrupted.
  • Note also that in the latter case it cannot be cut and pasted without corrupting the format.
  • You will need to give it a name of your own unless you really want it to be called ldwalks.rou: the writer continues to use the .rou suffix.
  • The file is correctly formatted for immediate upload to your GPS and includes the description of each location for display on your GPS. It will appear as the active route (route 0).
  • Note that the route file is accurate only for the area SD 000700 to NY 600400.

The accuracy of the result depends the accuracy with which one can simulate the walk with straight lines. The writer has tested this method on the Catstye Cam and Dollywagon Pike route with the following results:-

(if given)
Grid. Ref.
NY or SD
Dist. of Leg
Dist. (miles)
point1 Glenridding 386170 - - -
point2 Greenside 362173 277 1.5 1.5
point3 Brown Cove 343162 240 1.36 2.86
point4 Catstye Cam 348158 129 0.4 3.26
point5 Helvellyn 342151 221 0.57 3.83
point6 Nethermost Pike 344142 167 0.57 4.4
point7 Dollywagon Pike 346131 170 0.69 5.09
point8 Grisedale Tarn outflow 352123 143 0.62 5.71
point9 Ruthwaite Lodge 355136 13 0.83 6.54
point10 Lanty's Tarn 384162 48 2.42 8.96
point11 Glenridding 386170 14 0.51 9.47

This compares with the author's value of 9.7 miles obtained using a map measurer.

The Walk Distance Calculator program was created by the author of the Lake District Walks Web Site

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