By: Blonde Two

I have to say that OS Maps, Ordnance Survey’s online mapping software, is the only thing that I always have open on my home laptop. I have found that to close it (and I am tidy and like closing things) is a really silly idea because it won’t be very long before I need to open it again.

I found a very interesting use for OS Maps this week and it wasn’t anything to do with walking. I was plotting routes as usual, but this time the routes weren’t on land, they were on the water. I am not sure if this means that I was doing ‘charting’ instead of mapping, but whatever it was, it was good fun… and taught me a thing or two.

You see I am planning to apply for a ticket for this year’s Outdoor Swimming Society Dart 10K swimming event (I can’t call it a race because that would be far too scary). This event does exactly what it says on the label and involves swimming for 10 kilometres in the River Dart. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it, but to date the furthest I have swum is 1 kilometre and that was in a swimming pool. Now to be fair, after 1 km I always felt like I could do more but  pool swimming can get a bit boring after half an hour or so.

So I am in training just in case I do get a ticket (it is my birthday present from Mr B2). The training is not going that well because although I swim in the sea most days and am definitely adapting to the cold, I am not really getting the distance in. That is where OS Maps has been helping (or worrying) me, take a look at the two routes below and make some comparisons:

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

This first shows my current training route (you might need a magnifying glass to find it). I generally swim it in both directions (one way is always harder than the other) but by then my body has gone so cold it feels a Ready-Brek glow of warmth which tells me it is definitely time to get out. If you don’t know how to measure distance on a map then I will confess that the purple line you can see only represents 150 metres.

Copyright Ordnance Survey 2017

Here, on the other hand, is the route of the Dart 10K (always presuming I don’t swim in the wrong direction). I keep counting the squares in the hope that it isn’t actually 10 kilometres from Totnes to Dittisham but I haven’t made it any shorter yet. I do at least know this part of the river quite well because I have canoed, kayaked, camped and sailed on it (and all of that was quite hard work!) I know it is deep, muddy in places and wide enough surely to count as a small ocean?

I am not alone in this mad venture, I have a training buddy and we both have husbands with kayaks and lots of support from friends but we sure do have some training to do before September!