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Web Survey results

  posted by Sam Harrison on 2013-05-23


I want to say a big thank you to everyone that completed the web survey that I sent around a few weeks ago. We got over 40 responses, many more than we were hoping for! We learnt a lot from the answers and they will really help this website progress. The following bullet points summarise the responses to the survey, with the question subject in bold, the responses in normal text and thoughts and practicalities from me in italics.
  • Frequency of visits: Most people visit the website between a few times a week to a few times a month. Worryingly, two people didn't know it existed (worrying for them, as there is a link to it on every email we send and a good deal of our Facebook posts!). This is what I was hoping for, and I'm confident by making the site more interactive we will encourage more visits (see below). The number of visits to the site has stayed pretty stationary through the transition from the old site, peaking in September/October time each year. We roughly average 1000 visits per month.
  • Reasons for visits: The overwhelming majority of people use it primarily for the calendar. This is followed by looking at photos and reading news articles and trip reports. Because of this, a re-design of the home page will include a calendar and more extensive list of upcoming events.
  • The forum: As expected, most people don't use the forum. The reasons for this were quite mixed - most people said they weren't interested in forums, with a good number checking the "Not enough people" and "Can ask questions on Facebook" options. The next version of the website will most likely be without a forum, and instead will encourage interaction via trip pages, which will hopefully be more successful. Whether these will be integrated with Facebook events is still to be decided.
  • Trip pages: The majority of people would welcome an interative trip page, where people could submit trip reports and photos. This was split equally between people happy to create an account, those who would want a "Log in with Facebook etc" option, and those who wouldn't want to create any account. I'm encouraged that most people think this is a good option, and hopefully once up-and-running we'll be able to get some really good archives and trip reports going. Ideally, people wouldn't have to create an account to post, but this does pose the problem of spam being posted. A simple one-click "log in with Facebook" option could be a potential work-around.
  • Website design and suggestions: Most people liked the design, layout and content. There were a number of useful suggestions:
    • 'Live' feed of trips on main homepage in order for people to keep up to date of who is on the next trip/when and where it is. Upcoming events will definitely feature more prominantly on the next version of the home page, whether that will include who's on the trip is yet to be decided.
    • Maybe make it easier to find out info about destinations, such as a list of all destinations which there is info on. Such a list already exists here, but this will be made easier to find and publicised more.
    • More details about locations and potential routes. This is definitely a target of mine, it's just unfortunately very time-consuming. My aim is to set up a Web Committee who will help in writing such content for the website. If anyone has anything they wish to contribute now, then please do email us.
    • More of the "history" bits (e.g. info on old execs). Again, this is a definite target that just takes time. I will eventually restore any backups I have to the website, however these are incomplete and I'm reliant on old Web Officers sending over any older backups they have.
    • Sign ups via the website. This is an idea that has been discussed and rejected in the past, as we feel it would take away from the personal and social feel that going to foyer has. It will be discussed again though, and perhaps there is scope for such a system (the web architecture is already well-and-truly in place to implement it).
    • Photo pages bug (sometimes photos just don't show up). We use a third-party Javascript plugin to pull photos directly from Picasa Web Albums, and it's a problem with this that causes photo pages to not load on ocassion. We will be moving over to a new system in the future which will do away with this problem..
    • OS Maps "HTTP referrer" erro. This is a common problem with the OS Maps API, and I have tried every suggestion I've found to try and rectify the issue, to no avail! I will keep persisting....
    • I don't like the yellow colour. Me neither... I kept it from the previous version of the website for continuity's sake, but it will be changing to a "greener" more hiking-esque look.
  • General comments: Most of these have been covered so I'll just address a few here:
    • Distinct lack of sheep. I'll see what I can do about that....
    • A few suggestions to publicise the website more. I personally thought it was quite well publicised already - trips on the website are linked to from the Weekly Newsletter, and our Facebook posts often link to it. But a few people made this comment and so we'll have a look at what we can do to publicise it further.
    • Don't know how to contribute content (e.g. trip reports, photos). You can currently by emailing the club, however in the future hopefully submissions will be able to be made directly through the trip's page on the website.
    • Widget that shows hiking related news. Great idea! I'll make sure this is incoorporated into the website in the future.
    • Swingers page? Maybe we should start an online version of the "incest chart"....
It will be a while yet before any changes and suggestions are implemented, but rest assured that there is a lot work going on with the website in the background and hopefully some exciting changes won't be too far off!


BBQ this Wednesday!

  posted by Sam Harrison on 2013-05-22


A sunny club BBQ in the summer of 2011
The sun has finally arrived (kind of...) and that means only one thing - an LUHC BBQ!

Join us this Wednesday evening (around 6:30-7pm) on the large field at the front of campus (somewhere near the duck pond). We'll have the large Hiking Club banner with us so you won't be able to miss us. Bring your own meat / vegetarian alternative and drinks, and we'll provide the bread.

There are plenty of photos of past BBQs up on our photos page, so have a look. See you on Wednesday!


 

Galloway trip report

  posted by Sam Harrison, Lorna Fisher, James Heath on 2013-05-13


I've missed the Galloway trip for the past few years, which is always particularly annoying when everyone comes back saying what a great time they've had! So, this time around I made an effort to be there, and once again it turn out to be a fantastic trip! Below is a collection of stories and comments about the trip from some of the guys that were on it, and photos from the trip can be found here.

Firstly, from Lorna: Eight of us arrived Friday evening to join Andy, Mark and Jenni, and after some time of deliberating where best to pitch our tent, in boggy moss or...boggy moss, we retired to a nice cosy pub for some merriment.

On Saturday seven of us decided to do "The Full Wharch!" which turned into "The Fuller Wharch!". It was quite a sunny day but the bitterly cold wind insisted that it still wasn't summer. Being in Galloway the mountains weren't quite as high as the munros usually tackled on Scottish trips, but that was certainly made up for by the amount of peaks we ended up doing, as we descended off one and kept looking at surrounding ones and thinking "hmm might as well add that one on too and make it the Fuller Wharch!", which came to 20km and 1800m of ascent. We came across many pretty lochans and their beaches, and the day was also very amusingly documented by Darren and his brilliant film making skills!

The Fuller Wharch walk on Saturday
On Sunday most of us went to Port Patrick to have a coastal day, and once again it didn't rain! We went round an old ruined castle, had a bit of an episode with a shop keeper who took exception to us asking for ice cream (lesson learnt: not to have the audacity to ask to buy something a shop is selling), then went scrambling and continued on a walk to a nice big beach. After about two hours there Jim, Dan and Richard had managed to completely interrupt the course of water flow into the sea (to the extent that I think sea level did slightly drop temporarily...) as they built a massive dam and created a pool the size Olympic swimmers could practice in!
Impressive damn building on Sunday
On Monday before heading home Sam, Jim and Richard had Craig Lee and the other five of us went on a rainy walk under Scot's Pines round Loch Trool, and learnt about the battles of Robert the Bruce on the way, though as I understand it from Richard you might as well just watch Brave Heart to grasp an accurate account of that part of Scottish History.

Andy lead an alternative to The Full Wharch on Saturday: My walk on Saturday consisted of heading up the Merrick from Bruces Stone at Loch Trool, a brief stop off at Culsharg Bothy then up out of the forest onto Benyellary then onto Merrick Summit, descent off Redstone Rig to Loch Enoch and then via Rig of Loch Enoch to Buchan Hill and back down alongside the waterfalls of Buchan Burn. Excellent views though it was very windy!

Mine, Jim's and Richard's walk on the Monday was, despite the rain and clouds very enjoyable, as summarised fittingly by Jim: The last day proved that, even shrouded in thick mist, the Galloway hills are quite special, and you're constantly coming across granite outcrops, bizarrely perched eratic boulders and hidden lochans...plenty of atmosphere, along with outrageously weird place names, to fuel the imagination...what were those mysterious tracks we were following up through the bog on Monday? The Mullwharchar?

And last, but definitely not least, a summary of the Full Wharch presented in video format by Darren:

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