walkscotland.com has been online since 1999. Over that time the website has seen many changes but the one factor that has always remained the same is the free access enjoyed by site users to our ever expanding collection of walks, mountain routes, multi-day trips, advice features, news, gear reviews and links. The cost of maintaining the website and providing new material has been in part offset by advertising and other projects, primarily book publishing. To reduce costs no one that works on the website receives any payment. It's all done for the love of it.
To date we've avoided the route some other walking websites have gone down of charging a fee for access to our walks and other information. The site is produced by hillwalkers keen to share their favourite routes with others. However, faced with mounting costs, such as hosting and domain name fees, software and computer hardware expenditure and licensing fees, we have had to review our operations. In short, the website has to make some money to survive.
Increasing the amount of advertising is clearly the most obvious option. However, experience has shown us that advertising quickly clogs up the pages and makes the website slow and frustrating for you, the user, to navigate. To bring in additional revenue we'd have to plaster as many pages as possible with ad banners, reducing the download speed quite considerably, bad news for those without broadband. Alternatively we could implement a subscription service, charging for access to the site.
Instead we've come up with a novel scheme which we hope will support the website and make it a more enjoyable experience for you to use.
We've stripped out all our existing advertising, leaving clearer, cleaner pages which will download much faster. The site now carries no advertising at all and, if things work out as we hope, will not do so again in the future.
So how does that help fund walkscotland.com? It doesn't, which is where you come in. We've launched our own appeal, but we're not after your cash. Instead we're looking for donations of unwanted outdoor gear and equipment. It doesn't have to be the big stuff, or up to date, anything will be gratefully received, whether its an old pair of gaiters, a hat, a nylon anorak or a scuffed pair of out-grown boots (if you're sending socks, please wash them first though!). It's really up to you.
We've identified an outlet where we can sell stuff on cheaply to novice walkers and outdoor enthusiasts on low budgets. Income from this will be used to fund the website and any excess will be donated to an outdoor charity.
As an incentive, everyone who sends something in will be entered into a free prize draw. The winner will receive a brand spanking new Berghaus Paclite jacket, worth £160!
Get rummaging and send your items of unwanted outdoor gear to:
James Carron (Editor)
17 Union Street
Dundee DD1 4BG