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OS Explorer vs Landranger Maps

I am travelling to Shetland in September/October. I've been previously, but this time will have a rental car. The OS Explorer and Landranger maps came to my attention while I was looking for something else on the Shetland Times Bookshop website. Is one series preferable than the other? I am attending Wool Week, but plan to do some touring, in addition to enjoying the workshops, teas and other activities offered during SWW!

I appreciate your thoughts!

Posted by
6756 posts

Landranger are 1:50,000- 1 1/4 inches to the mile, Explorer- 1:25,000- 2 1/2 inches to the mile, so more detail

For somewhere like Shetland, if doing general touring Landranger is very adequate, if doing a lot of 'off piste' walking Explorer may be needed. I have done Shetland in a lot of depth (bus and walking) and never got close to feeling even close to needing the greater detail of Explorer.

Given that you will be driving (as everyone on this forum tells you that bus is unviable) as you will be travelling site to site,

Posted by
2069 posts

Unless you are doing some really serious walking well off the beaten track, then the Landranger map will be fine. It also covers all of the islands. You would need four Explorer maps just to cover all of the main island (plus an extra one for Yell, Unst and Fetlar!)

The Os maps are great as they have so much more detail than the average road map (or sat Nav) and when exploring will get you to places sat nav doesn't dream off...

Posted by
672 posts

For our last six trips to Ireland and Scotland, I've used a dashboard GPS updated with the latest maps. It has only failed me once, when I was on a cow path in Aberdeenshire looking for a "lordship" my wife had bought for me, but it got me to within 100 feet of where I wanted to go. I don't think any product, electronic or paper, will show you the potholes. I like the personal GPS because I can pre-load our daily route along with all the planned stops, so it's a one-touch per day solution. Mine cost $25 on eBay plus a map update (for which the price varies depending on your search skills). It talks to me as I drive, so I'm not distracted with "where to turn" or pulling over to look at the guide or map. Your mobile will do the same thing if you remember to download maps for no-coverage areas (of which there are many) and you have adequate international roaming.

We were in Shetland last month, and the GPS served well from Sumburgh Head to the northern tip of Unst. The roads in Shetland are above the UK average for maintenance and width.