Hillwalker MAX - The Munros
The Munros Hillwalker Max Version 6
The Munros Hillwalker Max is a large program.. With over 350 features, the starting point for a detailed overview is not obvious. Although the program title suggests that Munros are the only category of hill shown, all the Tops and Deleted Tops are included and there is even some information about all the 3,000ft furth hills of Scotland.
The Munros Hillwalker Max can be considered as the combination of Hillwalker Info The Munros and MapWise 50 Munro Maps.
Certainly the program aids planning by differentiating those hills which have or have not been climbed by you and up to 10 friends. Having selected an area, routes are described up every Munro and Top. The authentic Gaelic pronunciation of each hill is given by Seonachan McLeod, a native Gaelic speaker and member of the Skye Mountain Rescue Team. The program has 700 photographs. Many hills have more than one photograph but there is no attempt to have a photograph of every hill. On the top of the hill, the printed panoramas and tables show a schematic representation of the view, allowing distant hills to be identified. Finally, the days' experiences can be entered into the computer and printed. As the date is entered for a hill, the colour can change to show that it has been climbed.
Another starting point might be to ask, "What can this program do that a book can not?" There are three things:
- The calculated panoramas with hill identification are unique
- No book can give you the pronunciations
- The maps can be positioned anywhere. They have no edges and no "next sheet".
The program is based on the 1997 list of 284 Munros and 227 Tops although the Tops (and the Munro) deleted in 1997 are included. The 3,000’ hills furth of Scotland are mentioned.
When loaded with The Corbetts, or other compatible Hillwalker or Mapwise software, all the hills in these other programs appear on all the lists, maps and panoramas within The Munros.
Many routes in the program are from Irvine Butterfield's famous book, The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland. The routes and explained in detail and cover not only all the Munros but all the Tops as well. There is no other publication which includes routes up every Munro and Top.
As a bonus, the routes up the 3000' furth hills of Scotland in England, Ireland and Wales are provided.
The font size of the screen display can be varied. This is useful if discussing with a group when a large font is required. A small font gives much more information on the screen.
The program has 700 photographs, which can be accessed in over 1,000 different ways. For example, a photograph of hill A from hill B can be accessed from either hill A or hill B. Most of the photographs are quite stunning. Some aerial photographs of the hills are included. Overall, they give a very good impression of a hill and the surrounding area.
Photographs include a 360º panorama from the top of Stob Dubh, Buachaille Eite Beag and a picture of Sheriff Alexander Nicolson from 1878, never known to have been previously published.
A slide show of all the photographs takes an hour and forty minutes before repeating the first photograph.
Slide shows can be of all the photographs, a smaller slide show for all the hills in the area of a Vector Map or for a single hill.
Panoramas can be calculated and printed from any position. The summits of Munros and Tops are the most usual. The distant hills can be identified by clicking at the summit. The name and distance appear. The name can be heard. The bearing can to read from the scale at the top of the panorama. Any map point (lochs, railways, roads etc) can be clicked to reveal its name. A big surprise is to see St Kilda and tiny sea islands such as Sula Sgeir!
Where distant hills line up to create confusion, just as in real life, it is possible to rise above the hill and look down on the scene. The confusion sorts itself out and the groups of hills can be separately identified.
Panoramas can be saved to file.
As panoramas can be calculated from any position, a flypast in any direction chosen by the user is possible.
Vector Map Positioning
One of the things that has always annoyed me about books is that a sketch map has an edge. So often I want to know what lies just off the map, what other hills are close by. The problem does not arise with Hillwalker Max, as the maps are instantly re-sizeable.
The program is full of nice touches. To print a map to fill A4 paper, the map must be the same shape as A4. This facility is provided. It would be useful to print so that the A4 sheet is exactly the same scale as a 1:50,000 map so that the grid lines will match exactly. Again, this feature is provided.
Some pre-set starting points for maps are provided: Skye, The Cairngorms (Am Monadh Ruadh in the Gaelic), Scotland and the British Isles. Fine-tuning is by incremental zoom and scroll buttons.
The program can work in several Modes:
Each mode is independent of the others, some work with the panorama as well as the main map.
Hillwalker Max comes with OS Landranger maps covering the entirety of the Munros. These maps bring the detail of paper maps right to your screen. The image maps are integrated into the program. Walks, routes and bearing are all drawn on the maps.
The Image on Vector feature shows the position of the Image Map on the Vector Map.
The maps are drawn on the screen at 200 pixels per kilometre. Typically this gives a linear scale larger than the original 1:25,000 map.
The Image maps can be zoomed in and out but not nearly to the extend of the vector maps. Possible scales are 100, 125, 200 and 250 pixels per kilometre.
Image Maps, Vector Maps, photographs and panoramas can all be displayed simultaneously. All Windows will react if, for example, the Current Hill is changed.
Any map (Vector or Image) can be crinkled, that is, turned into a three dimension map. The Crinkle Map is a full map within the program and has the features of the other maps: plotting routes, continuous Grid Reference, Lat/Long, and height. Only ISYS software has these features.
The Bearings mode allows a bearing to be set from any point to any point. Specifically, the bearing can be from one hill to another or from a hill at a fixed angle. Bearings are transferred among the panoramas, vector maps, image and raster maps.
All bearings are with reference to the local grid. The program even explains why a bearing from a hill in Ireland to a hill in Britain is not 180 degrees different from its back bearing. Such attention to detail is seen everywhere.
A route consists of many legs, each with a start and finish point, a distance and a bearing. A route can be created from scratch. It can be started from one of Irvine Butterfield's routes or even the user's own last logged route.
Routes can be created by clicking the points on a Vector Map, an Image Map or a Crinkle Map.
Once entered a route can be changed at will on any map. Distances, bearings, times and time of day for each leg and the total are calculated. As many points as are required can be included and the finished route drawn on maps and printed. The route can be saved to file and recalled.
The Routes feature has proved to be a great interest to Duke of Edinburgh training centres and outdoor centres generally.
Routes created in Hillwalker Max can be transferred to your GPS receiver via the GPS Utility provided free from ISYS. Once a route has been walked, data can be transferred back to Hillwalker for your log.
The log is a chunky piece of code giving more facilities than any other program on the market. Even those programs that do nothing else except keep a diary are put in the shade by this part of Hillwalker Max.
First, the user selects the hills along the route his party has walked. If a hilltop is visited twice, to go out to and back from a Top for example, this is handled. As the hills are selected, the route is drawn on the maps. When the route is complete, the log proper can be entered.
The log data can be recorded under 10 different headings, most of which can be omitted if desired and one of which can be set to the user's choice.
Dates can be entered for all the party. The day order entry ensures that when printing climbed hills, the hills appear in the correct order. There is only need to key (or select) the date once and it can be transferred as required to all the party for every hill. If some member of the party does not climb one of the route hills, the program caters for this eventuality.
When the entry for a hill is complete, clicking the Next button brings up the log for the next hill along the route. It also enables the Prior button so that the previous hill can be revisited.
Dates entered in the Log are used to determine whether a hill is ‘climbed’, ‘Climbed’ hills can be drawn in different colours on the Vector Maps to differentiate them from the unclimbed variety.
Using the program one is very aware that the author has used it himself and that entry is made as simple and as foolproof as possible.
Ordnance Survey digital Landranger maps are provided for the Munro areas of Scotland. The area is contiguous and covers 28,000 sq km.
The outline position of every Ordnance Survey map in Scotland is recorded and can be drawn on the computer vector map. This has the big advantage over a book that just tells you that for example Fìonn Bheinn is on Sheet 20 but not that it is right on the edge and that Sheets 19 and 25 would also be useful. The outline of several other maps are also included, especially of the Skye Cuillin.
Again, the attention to detail is obvious when you see that every insert on every map that includes a piece of Scotland is here. The two sides of the SMT map of Skye show different scales and different cartographers are both included even although the National Grid is not shown on either.
I have used the pronunciations given in books for several years but only now that I have heard them, can I understand the book version. Sometimes the spelling is off-putting for those of us without the Gaelic but in many cases, the pronunciation is surprisingly simple. An example of this is Cnap Coire na Sprèidhe; a Top associated with Càrn Gorm.
The spelling and pronunciation have been very carefully researched. Gaelic scholars from all over Scotland have contributed. The Gaelic has accents and these are largely ignored by non-Gaels. The Gaelic language has been standardised recently and this program takes full account of the new orthography.
Sometimes two names appear on an Ordnance Map for example Càrn an Fhìdhleir and Carn Ealer. At first sight, these seem totally different names. Listen to the pronunciation of Càrn an Fhìdhleir and the second name is explained and is seen to be unnecessary.
Comunn na Gàidhlig, An Comunn Gaidhealach and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig have given their independent approval of the Gaelic translations, spellings and pronunciations in The Munros.
THE MUNROS HILLWALKER IS THE ONLY MUNRO CD TO BE GAELIC APPROVED.
For a bit of light entertainment, the user is asked to locate hills on the map. He can choose as many sections as he wishes and whether to include Tops or not. This is not as easy as it seems but it certainly helps you to get to know where the hills are.
There is a "Hall of Fame" for those who know the hills well.
Many jokes have been made about carrying a computer up a hill, and these days it is feasible, but why bother when you can print out the route? Another nice touch in the program; you get Irvine Butterfield's signature at the bottom of the route if there is room on the page.
You can also print the panoramic view together with White's Tables, the list of all hills and their bearings round from North through East, South, West and back to North. Armed with these you can identify all the Munros and Tops which you can see. There is scope for humour here, but I shall resist the temptation!
Lists of Munros, with or without Tops, can be selected from as many Sections as desired and printed with alternative names or translations. Climbed Munros can be printed in date or section order.
The print mode allows the map to be printed. The Concordat on Access and the contact points on completion can also be printed.
The Help menu contains a description of the current program, technical notes on the program and a short article on Sir Hugh Munro, all of which can be printed.
Some 173 hills have additional information, which can range from a comment on the discrepancy of the height to notes on the Geology or History of the hill.
Some poetry by Derick Thomson, erstwhile Professor of Celtic Studies at Glasgow University, and JC Milne add interest, particularly to the Loch Tay hills and the Cairngorms. Blà Bheinn has a discussion with the bard of Gairloch, William Ross lamenting the passing of a by-gone age; and that was at the end of the eighteenth century!
The Reverend Nevil Maskelyne, Sidh Chailleann and the Force of Gravity is a fascinating and authoritative article by Professor Ian S Hughes, who was Professor of Natural Philosophy (now renamed the Department of Physics and Astronomy) at Glasgow University. Everyone knows that Sidh Chailleann was used to weigh the Earth. This article tells them how it was done and gives an insight into the like of the man who did it.
Hills can be listed by height, district, height within district or alphabetically. The list can include (or not) Munros, Tops, Deleted Tops and hills furth of Scotland. The List facility can select a hill on the Map, or for inclusion in the Log or Route Cards, or as the start or end point of a Bearing.
Hills can be selected by typing in the name or part of a name. The name can be in Gaelic or the corrupted form. The real surprise came on typing 'stag'. There are no hills with this string in them yet several appear. The program has an in-built translator! The author has considered what to do when the selected hill is not on the portion of map being displayed and what to do if the scale is too small to show Tops and a Top is selected.
Hills can also be selected by entering the rank number either of the Munro or as a Top.
Another new feature is the ability to export hill data for inclusion into programs such as Microsoft's AutoRoute Express. Having the Munros and Tops in AutoRoute greatly enhances the use of this program for hillwalkers.
The foregoing covers most of the program but still omits the continuous grid; a feature that displays the cursor Grid Reference position at the bottom left of the map. The Grid Reference can be displayed as a full 6 or 10 figure reference. The usual attention to detail is displayed again when the cursor moves outside the area of the grid; the box is blanked. If the cursor moves into the area of the Irish Grid, the grid changes to the Irish format (a single letter and six digits) and the co-ordinates are shown in the Irish Grid system.
The program can also be set to display the cursor location in Latitude/Longitude or UTM co-ordinates. It can also continuously display the height. Lat/Long can be displayed in a variety of formats.
The colours of the map can be changed. A default button restores the original if you forget what it was. The colour change is especially useful to distinguish Climbed and Unclimbed hills. When only a few hills have been climbed the Climbed hills can be set to be prominent but after some exercise on the hills, you can emphasise the Unclimbed variety.
The music was specially arranged for the program. It was arranged on a computer but the result is extremely effective.
Much has been said about 'climbed' hills. Climbed can be defined as climbed by the owner or any of the other ten friends. It can also be any combination of any two of these combined in any way, for example Janet or John, Janet and not John, not John. The caveat in the program to keep the definition simple is well heeded.
The random hints cover the entire program and present snippets of advice (and some dreadful humour) to the user. These can be browsed at any time or left to appear randomly when the program is first started.
There are also hints, which describe the function of every button and box. These can be tuned off when you know your way round the program.
The selected hill can be placed at the centre of the map by either double clicking it or by pressing the Centre button.
Throughout, buttons and features are enabled if the action is available and disabled otherwise. This technique drastically reduces the need for error messages and makes the whole appearance of the program user friendly.
90 Days' Free Support
The package comes with support from Isys Outdoors - included in the price. It has been suggested that the support given for Windows alone is worth the cost of the package.
The Munros is available from ISYS Direct, Telephone: 0845 166 5701. Order by post or credit card by telephone or fax or just click the Shop Button..