Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wot, No Campsites?

We are still in the pre-GPS era for navigation.
Nothing Luddite, you understand, we just keep putting off the great leap forward.

That means we still use those cute folding paper maps, of which we have a sizeable collection.
They can last quite a long time with careful use & Scottish ancestors, so we often come across whole sections of Motorway which were just fields on our map.
And discover quite a lot of new houses in the hamlet of Milton Keynes.

Our French-based maps include a 3 000 000:1 Michelin of Europe for the broad-brush stuff, a 1 000 000:1 Michelin of France for route-planning, a lot of old-format 200 000:1 Michelin area maps for actual in-car navigation & many 25 000:1 IGN local maps for walking & cycling.
For "abroad" we have a mix of Michelins & whatever we find locally.

Over the last 30-odd years, we have done quite a lot of casual, car-based camping.
Usually finding convenient campsites on the map wherever we chose to stop or whenever it was getting late-ish.
In Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Luxembourg & a few others.

Recently, we decided to wander over towards Poitou-Charente, which we had not visited before, so we bought some new Michelin area maps.
The new format is 150 000:1 instead of 200 000:1 & the maps are really too big to handle in a car.
But the real surprise was that no campsites are marked.

So we went to Georama, the wonderful Strasbourg Map Shop, only to find it appears to have shut down.
Presumably a collateral victim of GPS.
Very sad news.

We eventually found IGN area maps in several other book shops.
No campsites on them either.
Nobody could suggest any area maps with campsites, even in "Au Vieux Campeur" where they seemed surprised by the question.

In the end, we had to buy a complete, 738-page camping guide which includes 15 maps at 1 000 000:1 with campsites indicated, but with neither addresses nor directions.
Trying to find anything with a 1 000 000:1 map is not going to be easy.
This solution is not satisfactory.
We need something better.
Presumably other people do too?

Out of curiosity, I checked a selection of old maps on our shelf, and all the following maps indicate campsites perfectly well:
Ordnance Survey Travel Map of Western Scotland – 250 000:1
Ordnance Survey Touring Map of Devon & Cornwall – 270 070:1 (no comment)
Ordnance Survey Landranger Map of Luton & Hertford – 50 000:1
Michelin National Map of Switzerland – 400 000:1
Michelin Regional Map of South Germany – 400 000:1
Michelin National Map of Belgium & Luxembourg – 350 000:1
Swiss Touring Club National Map of Switzerland – 301 000:1
Ravenstein Map of South Germany – 500 000:1
Kummerly & Frey Map of Baden-Wurttemberg – 250 000:1
Freytag & Berndt National Map of Croatia – 250 000:1
Studio F.M.B. Regional Map of Emilia Romagna – 300 000:1
IGN Local Map of Wasselonne – 25 000:1
And all the many others in the same editions.

None of those were selected for having campsites, we just assumed road maps had campsites, and they did.
Now the major French ones of France don't, unless you get down to IGN Local 25 000:1 maps.
You would need a very large number of those for touring.

This seems crazy.
Why do they omit campsites when they include everything else from nuclear power stations to mountain huts (see illustration)?
Do I have to start buying non-French maps of France to get campsites?

Parting thot: "When you come to a fork in the road - take it." – Yogi Bear?

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