Tuff Maps, laminated Ordnance Survey maps with a detached cover

It says on the sleeve, WRITE ON WIPE OFF!
I've not tried that yet....
I’ll start this blog with the old saying, “Never keep all your eggs in one basket!

I will use whatever means of mapping that is available and suitable at the time.

That might help to explain up front, that this blog, is in no way intended to contradict my previous blog about Toughprint Waterproof paper.

Like many people, no matter what their hobbies are, I’m keen to try new ideas, innovations and variations of existing ideas and kit.

These views and are my own and no one else’s.

If you haven’t read my previous blog, may I suggest you do. It will explain why I’m, eager to use as compact and convenient mapping as possible.

As part of my quest to use a map conveniently and easily, I’ve ditched the everyday paper map and waterproof map case, in favour of compactness and ease of use.

I accidentally stumbled across Tuff Maps, while browsing through an outdoor shop in the Peak District. Curiously, I opened the package up and out fell one laminated map, with the cover still in the plastic sleeve!

At first, I thought the map was either damaged or faulty. However, after looking at the map more closely, it suddenly clicked, it was an Ordnance Survey Lamfold, but with the cover page detached.

I thought, “Brilliant idea”.

I quickly reached for my credit card, grabbed two copies, one White Peak and one Dark Peak Tuff Maps, and paid for them.

Tuff Map sleeve, cover and map

In my previous blog, on Toughrpint Waterproof Paper I raised the question, “How often has it been a pain to fold a map, stuff it in a map case only to find you need to get it out, refold it for another stage of your hike?

This took me from the good old paper maps, stuffed in waterproof cases, on to Ordnance Survey Lamfold Maps, which sometimes, can be just as bigger nuisance to fold as the old paper maps, particularly where the cover, which is larger in dimensions, than the folds of the map, get in the way.

I have used Lamfolds successfully for some considerable time. Especially as over time, the maps became used and abused, would start to fold more easily no matter what part I was using.

So I started to use my White and Dark Peak maps with great ease, folding them just as I wanted, no forcing a crease, particularly where the cover was concerned.

Good bye old faithful map and waterproof case
You've served me well over time
This is brilliant; I can fold the map just as I want and need, depending on the area of my walk. Folding is a synch, no great fiddling to try and make the map cover fold against its will. No messing around when refolding the map to cover the next stage of my walk, my days walk, or night hike, became so much easier.

I was hooked; I wanted to replace my all current Lamfolds with these Tuff Maps. But it would be costly. So I would start with the maps I use most, two of which I’ve already got, the White and Dark Peaks, then next purchase would have to be OL17, Snowdonia, another area I frequent.

Now the fun, searching the web, to try and find who sold them, was proving difficult.

So I contacted Ordnance Survey, because I was under the impression it was one of their products.

I had a genuinely, very helpful reply from OS, who advised me that Tuff Maps were not one of their products, but happily provided me with contact details for the company that prints the Tuff Maps under licence.

Nice and easy to fold and the elastic band holds it all in place
Sadly, this company, Trail Card, doesn’t have a web page, but the gentleman who I spoke to, was extremely helpful.

I managed to obtain a list of suppliers, one of whom was reasonably local to me, with a chain of stores across the country, others that I visit when I’m in the area.

OL17, was coming my way very soon. I phoned my nearest stockist, who had just one on the shelf and reserved it for me. I just couldn’t wait to go and buy my new map, especially as I was heading up to Snowdonia in a couple of weeks time.

Annoyingly, I had only a few months previous, replaced OL17. But, it just had to be done; my new Lamfold OL17 was relegated as a reserve map, where my old 2004 copy of OL17, which had been relegated as a reserve map, was now really tired, could be retired gracefully.

So the opportunity came, to use my newly acquired OL17 Tuff Map, on the Northern Carneddau, a first outing for both me and the map.

Once again, folding the map to expose the area I was walking, while making the next stage easy to find without too much fumbling.

I just loved this, it was so much easier, no map case to get in the way or to be gripped tight in windy conditions and no awkward covers to try and force fold. Things are just so much better with these maps.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m hooked, but budgets dictate, a gradual replacement of maps over to Tuff Maps.

You might consider, as I did, cutting the covers from your existing Lamfolds. No I haven’t cut any covers off, but I had wondered about it.

The side of a Lamfold cover, is glued to the map before laminating.
DON’T do it. The cover of a Lamfold map is attached to the map paper and effectively laminated all in one. If you cut the cover off a Lamfold map, it will leave a gap for water ingress, reducing the lifespan of the Lamfold map in adverse conditions.

On the image to the right, you may be able to see the point where the cover is attached to the main Lamfold map.

One thing I’ve not tried with on the Tuff Map, is writing on them, and then wiping it off.

Just to summarise, as part of my quest to use maps in as compact and convenient form as possible, while I like Lamfolds, they are tough and hard to destroy under reasonable use, I do find that Tuff Maps have the edge, with the detached map cover.
You may initially wonder, what if the cover became mislaid, how would you quickly identify the map?
The map title at the top centre of the sheet
Not a problem, as with all maps, they have the title on the top margin centre and to the top right corner, is the sheet reference number.

While I prefer to use one of those thick elastic bands to keep the map folded, they are supplied with a plastic sleeve, in which you can slide the map ready folded to view the area you are interested in.

The Tuff Map in its sleeve. it will go fully in,
I've just left it part out to demonstrate
However, I felt that the sleeve would eventually tear, particularly if the folding wasn’t compact enough or I was a little rough. Personally, I would rather use the sleeve to keep the map and cover together while on my map shelf, ready and waiting for the next time I need to use them.

You may be wondering about the cost of the Tuff Maps, from all the suppliers I’ve visited, they are extremely comparable to OS Lamfolds.

In my opinion, while you can put a financial value on most things, to put a real value on anything depends on how well it serves you with respect to what you need that item for. With that in mind, I think the Tuff Map is worth having.

Tuff Maps are available as either 1:25000 Explorer series or 1:50000 Landranger series.

Finally, happy rambling and thank for reading.

Peak Rambler

Alport to Stanton Moor; Sunday 4th March 2012

The route; start Alport, pick up the River Lathkill by the phone box, Youlgreave, head southeasterly to Harthill Moor, Robin Hood’s Stride, Birchover, Stanton Moor, Stanton in the Peak, Harhill Hall, Alport, a distance of approximately 7.3 miles
This is another walk, one of many I hope to complete this year, in the Peak District.

The day, being wet and the forecast not showing much sings of improvement, actually started out as a walk to break in some new boots and try out Toughprint waterproof paper for mapping.

I will add at this point, I always carry a spare map, usually a Harvey’s, Ordnance Survey Lamfold or Tuff Map. Tuff Map in case you are wondering, is basically the OS Lamfold, but with the cover detached, making folding a lot easier.

However, I hadn’t waxed my boots, a new pair of Scarpa SL’s, and I wasn’t about to start doing so this morning. (BTW, they are now waxed and ready for their second outing, sometime soon)

So I packed my trusty old Scarpa SL’s and headed off to Alport in the White Peak to complete a walk I had only been looking at a couple of days beforehand.

Arriving in a wet Alport, I kitted up and headed off to the phone box to follow the River Lathkill southwards towards Youlgreave.


Bridge over the River Lathkill, Alport

A rain splattered path along the River Lathkill

One thing I’ve noticed over the years in the White Peak, there are some very ornate, if that is the right word, bridges, spanning the rivers. This particular bridge, just to the south east of Bradford (SK 215 640), was particularly so.

The Bridge over the River Lathkill

It looks very much like it might have been a sheep wash bridge, of which there are many in the Peak District. Probably one of the most well known, is the sheep wash bridge over the River Wye in the pretty village called Ashford in the Water.

However, there was no sign of a holding pen for when the sheep came out the other side.

Continuing on towards the River Bradford, which runs through Bradford Dale, I crossed the river and headed down the road in a south westerly direction to pick up the Limestone Way. From there, I continued in a southerly direction, for Harthill Moor and Castle Ring (SK 220 628).

Looking back to Youlgreave


Castle Ring, Harhill Moor

Castle Ring today
Castle Ring had been some form of fortification. However, today it’s just a field, surrounded by a dry stone wall with a ditch around it, typical of early fortifications.

The rain was still pouring well; my waterproofs were keeping me dry, as you’d expect, and the Toughprint waterproof paper just looked like it did at the start of the walk, in perfect condition, no smudging, no blotting, no signs of any degradation whatsoever.

From Castle Ring, I walked around Harthill Farm, picking up the farm drive, leading the road which I needed to cross, to pick up the footpath towards Robin Hood’s Stride

Robin Hood's Stride just ahead

By now, the rain had turned to sleet and it wasn’t long before the sleet became snow. My map, never once saw any cover from the weather, the idea was to see how it would hold up against the weather.

I arrived at Robin Hood’s Stride (SK 224 622), somewhere I had driven past many times and often thought I must walk up there. Well, I’ve finally got there.

Robin Hood's Stride, or, Mock Beggars Hall

Robin Hood’s Stride is nothing too spectacular, just a small grit stone outcrop. However, as the name suggests, it is supposed to have links to Robin Hood. One very interesting piece of information around Robin Hood’s Stride, is also has another name; Mock Beggars Hall!

I suppose from a distance, the two rocky towers could resemble the chimneys on a manor house or hall.

I had to have a minor scramble, if you could call it that, just to say, “I’ve done it”.

The west column of Robin Hood's Stride

The east column of Robin Hood's Stride

From Robin Hood's I was rewarded with a nice view over to Stanton Moor, and that unmistakable monstrosity of a TV mast......

Stanton Moor on the horizon, from Robin Hood's Stride
While up on Robin Hood’s Stride, I noticed a set of four stones towards the south east. This is the Nine Stones stone circle, of which there are only four stones still standing.

Nine Stones Stone Circle, of which only four stones are still standing

While these sites fascinate me, I’m far from very well informed on them, so I’ve included some links from the Megalithic Portal; http://www.megalithic.co.uk/

I continued down the tarmac path towards the B5056, linking Ashbourne with the A6 which runs between Bakewell and Matlock.

Walking up the road, in a north easterly direction, I joined the footpath to Birchover. As no doubt you would expect with the weather on the day, the footpath was extremely muddy ascending the hill in to Birchover.

On arriving in Birchover, I was treated to a plain, but picturesque water feature in the Vicarage. I have a passion for water features. We have a small pond in our back garden, which I enjoy sitting beside on a sunny day, watching the fish and other pond life, pass their time away.

The water feature in Birchover's Vicarage
I continued up the path, I came across Birchover’s St Michael’s Church. I’m not religious, but I do find the architecture of our rural churches is one of our countryside’s many beauties.

Approacing St Michael's Church, Birchover

St Michael's Church, Birchover

Continuing one, I came to the Druids Inn, Birchover’s only public house. I had to refrain from calling in, mainly because I had a long drive back home and with muddy boots, to even contemplate entering what looked like a very tidy pub.

From there, I picked up the footpath leading up in to Dungeon Plantation, still heading north easterly, towards Birchover Quarry. 

Once I had arrived at the road, with Birchover Quarry directly opposite me, I turned left and continued up the road towards Stanton Moor. 

It had been a while since I last visited Stanton Moor, in fact, I think it was November 2010, when there had been quite a snow fall. 

Access to Stanton Moor
I noticed that the style that had been there for many years, even decades, had been replaced by a kissing gate, but the old notices were still there. 

Stanton Moor ahead

One of many information boards on Stanton Moor

Continuing along the path on the moor, I arrived at the Cork Stone, which you can see from the photo, how it got the name. Many is the time I’ve climbed the Cork Stone, but today, walking solo, it was cold and wet, the snow was coming down nicely now, I didn’t really want to chance any accidents.

The Cork Stone, Stanton Moor

An old photo of me on the Cork Stone

From the Cork Stone, I followed the trail in a north easterly direction, heading for the Trig point, then on to the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, sometimes called the Nine Maidens. 

Walking along Stanton Moor

Stanton Moor Trig Point

Nine Ladies Stone Circle, looking towards the king Stone

The King Stone, from the Nine Ladies Stone Circle

The legend of the Nine Maidens and the Fiddler

Legend tells that nine ladies were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath and the King Stone was the fiddler.

Hmmm, nice story, but, I’m not a believer.... 

Stanton Moor is an old favourite of mine. Often I would go there for an afternoon’s stroll or a chill out, or even to try out new kit. Strange, but this time, I’m trying out kit, a waterproof paper map! 

The map by the way is still looking as good as when I started out. 

The map, still looking good

Sadly though, Stanton Moor is becoming a victim of its own beauty, with motor cross bike tracks, so called wild campers leaving their tell tale signs and people just generally leaving tell tale signs that they’ve been there. 

To my surprise, considering that I hadn’t seen a sole all morning heading up towards Stanton Moor, the moor was quite busy at that point, with lots of folk passing through, some with dogs, others just enjoying a walk. 

Being the sociable chappie I am, I had a chat with folk, asking where they were from, where they were going and wished them a safe journey. 

I actually felt over dressed, rain and cold clothing on, pack on my back, fully kitted out, and these people out as though they were strolling around a local park.  

I paid my respects to the nine maidens and fiddler, and then found a crudely sheltered spot to have lunch. Not easy when all the vegetation had been cut back and natural foliage had died back as it does for winter. 

Well, the, the tuna salad batch was most welcoming, followed by a nice hot golden vegetable cup-a-soup. For a cold moorland top, it was a great warmer. 

But who cares, I didn’t, I was enjoying my walk, I was warm and dry inside with another 3.5 miles to go before getting back to Alport.

Well, lunch over, I packed my stuff back in to my pack, checked I was leaving nothing and headed for Stanton in the Peak. 

Stanton in the Peak, like many villages in the Peak District, is tied to an estate, Stanton Estate. Stanton Estate is owned by the Thornhill family. 

Stanton in the Peak

Stanton in the Peak is one of those villages which I’ve only ever driven through, but not this time. I actually walked through what is a very pretty village and as you can see from the photos, a very well kept village. 

Downhill now, leaving the village, past yet another appealing church, Holy Trinity Church, Stanton in the Peak and a neat little war memorial, then, just a little further down the road, the village pub, called the Flying Childers Inn. 

Trinity Church, Stanton in the Peak
Stanton in the Peak's Pub, "The Flying Childers Inn"
Whether the name is ancestral (it dates back to Anglo Saxon times), or meaning Children, or more likely, something to do with horses, looking that the horses head on the pub sign. 

My money is on the Flying Childer being a horse, from the locality, and Wikipedia backs this up.

I wonder how many people when they first saw the pub name, misread it for Flying Children’s Inn? 

Potting shed?

Once I had left Stanton in the Peak, I took the footpath just past Park Farm and headed for Harthill Hall. 

As I was approaching the B5056, there were some steps leading down to the road. Give or take a couple, I counted ninety two steps. 

Once I arrived at the road, headed in a southerly direction to pick up the country lane to Harthill Hall and the tail end of my enjoyable walk back to Alport. 

This was quite a pleasant and quiet lane, but nothing particularly special.
Harthill Hall
Passing a couple of caravan sites and farms, I took the footpath just before the crossroads. Now this proved fun, I walked down the driveway in to someone’s front garden, seeing a nice water feature with a water pump. 

The footpaths is down there, somewhere

but where?

Hmmm, I’ve come across this before, where you’ve had to walk through someone’s outhouse or garden, because that’s where the footpath is, but not this time.

Where is it?

a nice bright red water pump

Anyway, I came to a dead end, no sign of a footpath anywhere. 

Is that the footpath?

Ah, there it is.

The only thing was to backtrack and look again. So I did. 

On walking back down, did I spot it, a very small gap in the wall to the left of an out house, with a narrow walled path leading down on to the footpath.

From there, I picked up the path back in to Alport, walking upstream of the River Lathkill, crossing over another ornate bridge, in to Alport and back to the car.

Almost home. The last bridge to cross, in Alport

It as a thoroughly enjoyable walk, no matter what the weather tried to throw at me. I was dry, warm, happy and pleasantly surprised at how my printed map, in Toughprint waterproof paper stayed as good as when I started out. 

Once back at the car, I loaded my kit in to the boot and drove in to Bakewell, for a quick nosey in a couple of shops (there’s a nice outdoor shop in Bakewell) and to treat myself to some Bakewell Pudding. 

Thank you for reading this, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, just as much as I enjoyed the walk. 

Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish you’re more than welcome. 

Once again, thank you for reading. 

Peak Rambler