Even when we’re elbows-deep in the latest bit of technology, we’ve never been able to resist the call of the wild. Setting out into the wilderness and leaving the hum of modern technology behind you, cleanses the soul and refreshes the spirit.
But there is always plenty of fun to be had tracking yourself and recording your outdoors exploits that brings your favourite gadget to the fore. In our never-ending quest to discover great apps and bag Munros we were taken by this simple app about hills.
When it comes to mountains, the United Kingdom doesn’t compare well to many of our European neighbours, even if we can claim some of the quaintest rolling countryside the planet has to offer.
- Android (Honeycomb tested)
- Android Market
British Hills is packed with information on, you guessed it, British Hills, and as soon as you dive into the details, you can’t help thinking there is a lot more on offer on our little island than you'd give it credit for.
The landing page presents the option for hills in different countries - England, Wales, Scotland and “Other” - as well as the ever-favourite “Nearby Hills”, which returns a surprising range of options for Surrey, easily viewable on a preview map.
Generally speaking navigation is by lists, the best known will probably be the Scotish Munros - topped by Ben Nevis - but then you get a complete run down of Murdos, Corbetts, Donalds, Grahams, Marilyns, as well as the option of looking at all the Scottish hills included.
The same applies to England and Wales (with crossover in the lists in some cases). There is a good deal of information on each hill, including the essential data of height and position, but also detailing which OS map numbers (1:50k, 1:25k) cover it.
But this being an Android app, it doesn’t just stop at lists and numbers. No, you can link through to a Google Map natively, with additional links to view OS maps of the hill, as well as images.
OS maps as well as hill forecasts are via external sites, which perhaps takes the shine off the completeness of this app (to have both integrated would make it much cleaner), but there is one critical element that we really like.
A checkbox. Yes, once you’ve climbed a listed hill you get to tick the box to mark it as climbed, with the option of adding notes to the entry.
The search could do with some refining to make it more useful - being able to search an area or range rather than by hill names would make it more dynamic, although you can view an "All" option and call up a map of the whole country, which you can then zoom you an area of interest.
British Hills is a clean and simple app and we don’t expect it to have a huge userbase, but if you have any interest in heading into the hills or recording the hills you’ve walked, then it’s certainly worth playing with.