The Great Outdoors (UK)



PLANNING A GROUP walk has its challenges – but Iona uses komoot to do most of the legwork. From pinpointin­g the perfect route to building a like-minded community, here’s how the app helped her plan a recent walk in the Pentland Hills...

All of our group walks are communityb­ased. There’s never a designated leader, and everyone is responsibl­e for their own wellbeing, skills and ability.

This can sometimes make planning and sharing routes a complex business. It’s not just a question of picking a walk that will suit everybody – you also need a really detailed overview of the route to allow you to plan things like snack stops, viewpoints and highlights, and you need to be able to easily share navigation­al info with the group.

komoot has become my go-to tool for route planning. It’s easy to use and full of innovative features, and its focus on community-building really enhances the whole experience. On a recent group walk in the Pentland Hills, I used it all the way from the early stages of planning through to sharing the highlights of the day.


There were a few features that I definitely wanted to include on our Pentland Hills walk. komoot allows you to switch between different map layers, such as the komoot topographi­c and satellite view, so I began by searching for the area I was interested in and then used the map view and search feature to look for specific points of interest (POIs) that were essential for the walk.

One of those was a car park, but I also knew I wanted to take in a couple of hills. The app allows you to choose between following defined paths and planning a route that cuts across country. I opted for paths to make it manageable for everybody coming on the walk. Finally, you can accurately estimate how long the route is going to take you by choosing your level of walking fitness. When you plan a route, komoot will then give you a time specifical­ly tailored to your fitness. You can use it both on a desktop and on your phone – I used the desktop platform for planning this route.


When I looked at our route on the komoot app, I could see that other users had already shared places of interest in the surroundin­g area. These (red dots on the map) are called ‘Highlights’. There were a couple of Highlights on the hills we were walking up, so after looking at the photos and tips from other users I knew that they were going to be good viewpoints. But Highlights can also include

everything from great local cafés and great sections of trail to informativ­e tips.


Once I’d finished planning my route, I saved it for offline use so that we’d be able to use it to help with navigation without depending on phone signal. I sent the route to everyone who was joining me on the walk. This sharing feature is particular­ly useful for walks like ours without designated leaders, because it allows everybody to review the route before they go, and gauge whether it’s within their personal capabiliti­es.


One of the things I love about komoot is that it allows you to check what the weather is doing on your actual route from 46 hours in advance. That was incredibly useful on this walk – I kept an eye on wind speed and wind direction, and it helped me decide which direction we were going to tackle the circuit in. I also planned out snack spots in places I could see had some coverage from trees.


When you’re ready to set out on your walk, all you need to do is tap ‘start navigation’ and you’ll see turn-by-turn navigation in the komoot app. We also activated the voice navigation feature on this occasion, because it’s a good battery saver – the app will only use a small amount of battery power this way comparated to activating your screen regularly to read a map. It’ll also tell you if you’ve gone off-route.


After the hike, I made our route publicly visible and then added Highlights for new places we’d discovered along the way. I also used the option to attach photos and add the route to a particular collection – in this case my collection for the Pentland Hills. You can tag the people who join you on the walk if they have a komoot account, as well as tagging people in the comments section so that they can see your completed Tour.

It’s a fantastic way to build a community of like-minded people. One of the things I really like about the app is that it isn’t competitiv­e. That’s perfect for somebody like me, who loves recording my routes to share with other people, adding Highlights and recommenda­tions without saying ‘this is how quickly I did it’. It’s all about facilitati­ng other people to have a great experience – which is what my group is about as well.

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 ?? ?? [above] Komoot's route-planning features, like difficulty informatio­n and 'Highlights', are great for planning, preparing and sharing group walks
[above] Komoot's route-planning features, like difficulty informatio­n and 'Highlights', are great for planning, preparing and sharing group walks
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