Author Topic: Tracker for Great North Trail  (Read 2050 times)

Tracker for Great North Trail
« on: 28 November, 2019, 10:54:00 am »
I plan to do the Great North Trail next year (in a 2 or 3 stages). But I won't be 'allowed out' unless I assure her indoors that she can track me.

I've checked the mobile signal for some of the the providers and according to their information, coverage is half-decent until you get north of the Great Glen, so am expecting to have to shell out on a satellite system (Spot or inReach) for north Scotland, so might as well use it for all stages, as long as they are not separated in time by too much -there are not just monthly charges but reconnection charges.

Any advice? In particular, could I get by using my mobile phone as a tracking device, and maybe promise to not go alone through areas with no mobile signal?


  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Tracker for Great North Trail
« Reply #1 on: 28 November, 2019, 11:22:02 am »

I have given up on phone signal for reliable tracking. I have an Inreach explore+, I had the previous inreach explorer before that too.

I love it, the ability to send messages when in the middle of nowhere is wonderful. It's not cheap, and it's not cheap to run, but the peace of mind is worth it.

The inreach mini may be slightly more cost effective.

Beer, bikes, and backpacking

Phil W

Re: Tracker for Great North Trail
« Reply #2 on: 28 November, 2019, 11:23:21 am »
You can rent them unless you plan to use them a lot.

£35 for the first week.


  • rothair gasta
Re: Tracker for Great North Trail
« Reply #3 on: 28 November, 2019, 12:23:06 pm »
Phone coverage across most of the highlands is pretty good now. At least for Vodafone/O2, EE may be a bit worse (and Three is just rubbish).

Yes, there are few gaps, so might not get a signal all of the time. Depends on how accurate your tracking needs to be. Just wait till back in coverage, then phone can update in an hour or so.

Re: Tracker for Great North Trail
« Reply #4 on: 28 November, 2019, 12:46:54 pm »
A lot of bikepacking events require a tracker. I use the SpotX, which allows you to pay for a small annual subscription, then pay by month for when you actually need to use it. As my need for it is sporadic through the year, this works out quite reasonably priced.

Even so, if you are just intending to ride a single event in the UK, a Spot is perhaps overkill. But you should look at the underlying need, which is presumably to ensure somebody will know if you’ve hit a problem and are unable to move or raise an alarm, and to get emergency services to your location. That could be fulfilled by other riders on the course.

Other options would be to rent a Spot as proposed by Phil, or borrow one if you know somebody with one.

Eddington: 131 miles    Max square: 43x43

Re: Tracker for Great North Trail
« Reply #5 on: 28 November, 2019, 08:55:57 pm »
Thanks -all useful information.

I had hoped to free up the cash that I would spend on being tracked for more interesting stuff, like a more appropriate set of wheels. However, from what I read, none of the Great North Trail is impassable to touring bikes so a MTB drive with knobbly 29-er 42c (with inner tube) setup ought to be fine. Maybe a bit more walking than if my wheels were upgraded.

If this adventure goes well, then I might do more off-road touring. Maybe my cycling relations and mates will have a use for it. So I plan to I buy a device and a few months' worth of use and see how it goes from there. I don't nee to decide until April.

Re: Tracker for Great North Trail
« Reply #6 on: 28 November, 2019, 09:14:58 pm »
Something like this came up a couple of years ago.

My offer of a tracking unit wasn't taken up as the trip didn't go ahead. The offer still stands to anyone who wants, and will take reasonable care to send the tracking unit back when the trip is over.

I've been running a tracking unit from a solar cell since then, and it gets a bit flakey in the winter when it doesn't get much light, but it is indoors, only sort of south facing, and in shadow for much of the afternoon. In anything like full sunlight it'll work fine.

The tracking unit and solar cell come to 235g. Please PM if you want to borrow it.
Quote from: Kim
Paging Diver300.  Diver300 to the GSM Trimphone, please...