Walkhighlands routes on Android

Walkhighlands is a fantastic resource for planning hiking activities in Scotland, with nearly two thousand routes of varying length and difficulty. As well as detailed descriptions (often supported by photographs of key landmarks), there are maps in a variety of human- and machine-readable formats. However, using an Android phone none of them worked except for the data-heavy google earth files. This site details a workaround, which I’ll summarise as follows:

  • Install My Tracks; this is free and by Google, so you won’t be being tracked by yet another company!
  • Locate the walk you’re interested in on the Walkhighlands site using a desktop computer, and grab the GPS Waypoints – GPX file.
  • Open this in the text editor of your choice (Notepad on windows is entirely sufficient), and do a find…replace to switch every instance of ‘rte’ to ‘trk’ (without quotes).
  • Save, then move this file to your device, creating the folder MyTracks/gpx/ if it doesn’t already exist; note the (lack of) spacing.
  • Launch the My Tracks app, and select Import All..All GPX from /MyTracks/gpx .

The routes are then available to view in My Tracks. Crucially, it’ll cache appropriate map data so you can compare your position to the path even if you have no mobile signal at all – such as on a remote Hebridean island! Even without the map, if your phone has a sufficiently accurate compass you can probably ensure you’re staying on course, but it’s a lot easier when you can spot features like shorelines (and also allows you to compare with a paper map, which I still recommend carrying and knowing how to use in the event of device failure).