25 Jun 2014

Mapping Le Tour: Exclusive poster competition

To celebrate the publication of the new edition of Mapping Le Tour, we have 15 posters of this year's route to give away, so you can follow the 101st edition of 'La Grande Boucle' from the comfort of your home/office/secret-bike-shed-your-other-half-doesn't-know-about...


To be in with a chance of winning, simply send the answer to this question to collinsmaps@harpercollins.co.uk by 1pm on Friday 27th June with the subject 'Mapping Le Tour Poster', along with a full postal address.

Question: In which year was the very first edition of the Tour de France?

The winners will be the first 15 correct answers we receive, so don't delay! Each winner will receive 1 poster. Unfortunately, this competition is only open to UK residents. Click here for terms and conditions.

Remember to follow us on Twitter @CollinsCycling and on Facebook at Facebook.com/collinscycling for more competitions, news and expert commentary during the Tour.

The new edition of Mapping Le Tour by top cycling journalist and author Ellis Bacon is fully updated to feature the 2014 race, including the three UK stages. With route maps and expert commentary on all 101 editions of the Tour de France to date, Mapping Le Tour tells the story of cycling's incredible relationship with the landscapes and geography of France, and also features a foreword by Mark Cavendish MBE.


***SPECIAL OFFER***

Get £4 off Mapping Le Tour, only at Waterstones.com. Click here for details.




19 Jun 2014

Finding Longitude: How clocks and stars helped solve the longitude problem

“…nothing is so much wanted and desired at sea, as the discovery of the longitude, for the safety and quickness of voyages, the preservation of ships, and the lives of men…”
The Longitude Act, 1714

2014 marks the tercentenary of the Longitude Act 1714. But with so much talk of 'longitude' in the news at the moment, what exactly is it, and why was discovering how to measure it at sea so important 300 years ago? Richard Dunn, co-curator of the National Maritime Museum's Ships Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibition, and author of Finding Longitude, tells us more:
For any maritime nation, investment in long distance trade, outposts and settlements overseas made navigation, including the ability to determine a ship’s longitude, increasingly important. As nations including Spain, the Netherlands and France, sought to dominate the world’s oceans, each offered rewards for solving the longitude problem. But it was in Britain that the approach paid off as a result of the 1714 Longitude Act.
What is longitude?
Global position is described by two coordinates, latitude and longitude, measured in degrees. Lines of latitude measure positions north and south and run parallel to the equator. Lines of longitude run pole to pole and measure positions east and west. Latitude is easy to measure from the Sun. Longitude presents a bigger challenge.

Longitude solutions
Most proposals for finding longitude were based on the principle of time difference and aimed to allow sailors to determine the time at the reference point for comparison with their local time from the Sun. By 1714, the most promising ideas seemed to be to carry the reference time with a mechanical clock or to use astronomical observations to find it. Much effort had already gone into both methods. Accurate pendulum clocks existed by the early 18th century, but attempts to make them work at sea failed due to the motions of the ship and changes in humidity and temperature.

The Royal Observatory from the south-east, unknown artist, c.1770
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
On the astronomy side, Charles II founded the Royal Observatory in 1675 to carry out observations ‘to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation’. If an accurate catalogue of the positions of the stars was made, the Moon’s motion relative to the stars could be used as a celestial clock to calculate Greenwich Time. This was known as the ‘lunar distance method’. In principle, sailors would measure the Moon’s position relative to a star and use tables of its predicted position to calculate the time at Greenwich (or another chosen reference). The problem was to predict the Moon’s complex motions and to perfect instruments to make the necessary observations.

The Longitude Act

In 1714, the British Government offered, by Act of Parliament, £20,000 for a solution which could find longitude to within half a degree (equivalent to 2 minutes of time), and a group later known as the Board of Longitude was set up to assess submissions and offer rewards. These experts included the Astronomer Royal at Greenwich and other scientific, maritime and political leaders.

The Solution(s)

One of the remarkable things about the longitude story is that two practical solutions were developed at the same time.
In the field of mechanical timekeeping, John Harrison, a working-class joiner and clockmaker with little formal education came closest to receiving the reward money through his extraordinary mechanical talent and determination, culminating in his marine timekeeper, H4. This would become the instrument known as the marine chronometer. At the same time, the work of John Hadley, German astronomer Tobias Mayer and others perfected the instruments and astronomical tables necessary for the lunar distance method.


Nevil Maskelyne, by John Russell, c.1776
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Greenwich was central to the story. Above all, Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne’s observations at the Royal Observatory, his work on the Nautical Almanac and the Board of Longitude demonstrated the complementary nature of astronomical and timekeeper methods, ultimately leading to the successful determination of longitude at sea. As solutions were developed, the Royal Observatory became a testing site for marine timekeepers and the place at which the astronomical observations needed for navigational tables were made. It was this work that would eventually lead to Greenwich becoming the home of the Prime Meridian, zero degrees longitude for the world.
Richard Dunn, Senior Curator for the History of Science and Curator of Ships Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibition, Royal Museums Greenwich and Sheryl Twigg, Press & PR Manager, Royal Museums Greenwich
Finding Longitude, published by Collins, is the official publication of the National Maritime Museum's Ships Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude exhibition, which marks the tercentenary of the Longitude Act. The exhibition opens at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich on 11 July 2014.


COMPETITION

Want to win a copy of Finding Longitude? Just answer this question to be in with a chance to win:

In which year was the Longitude Act passed?

To enter, simply send your answer, with the subject line 'Finding Longitude', to collinsmaps@harpercollins.co.uk by midnight on Wednesday 9th July. We will notify the winner the next day. Click here for our terms and conditions.
This article originally appeared on Longitudeprize.org.

4 Jun 2014

Planning D-Day: a story in maps


 ‘It won’t work, but you must bloody well make it.’
Lieutenant General Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

On 6 June, 1944 Allied forces launched Operation OVERLORD with the aim of landing a vast army of liberation in Nazi-occupied France. The assault phase of this - today known as the D-Day landings - was the largest amphibious assault in history, taking 156,000 men across the English Channel in more than 5,000 ships. Much of the planning for this event, one of the most iconic and defining missions of World War II, was prepared using detailed maps of the coast of France. Whilst many lives were lost during the assault, the precise planning of the operation was key to the eventual success of the mission.

These maps, show how many different types of mapping were used in organising Operation Overlord, helping the different armies to come together in one overwhelming, unified assault.

This summary map shows both the concentration of German forces in the Pas de Calais and the Allied approaches to Normandy.

Credit: US Army

A diagram showing how Mulberry components were gathered from separate fabrication sites and towed across the Channel by tugs for assembly. The Mulberry harbours were two artificial ports each enclosing an area the size of Dover docks, built to land men and machines to supply forces after D-Day. They were constructed from huge caissons, pier heads, block ships and floating roadways, all of which were towed across the Channel by a flotilla of tugs.

Credit: The National Archives

This summary map shows the division of forces between beaches and the location of warships in Operation Neptune. The ten blue shaded lanes are the paths cleared by minesweepers, the first vessels to approach.

Credit: HMSO

A plan of German batteries and artillery within the US sectors of Utah and Omaha. The US Navy laid down an immense barrage on German defences in the path of the landing troops. Here, grid references on the lower left hand table show the status and position of the German shore batteries and their arcs of fire. Red ink paths show the routes for inbound Allied ships.

Credit: US Army/The National Archives

This is the letter sent by General Montgomery to be read to troops, prior to landing on the shores of France.

Credit: The National Archives

These maps and the letter from General Montgomery are taken from D-Day, written by Richard Happer and Dr Peter Chasseaud, and published by Times Books. Published in October, it is available to preorder now.

27 May 2014

Publishing Scotland's 40th Anniversary Exhibition

40 years of Scottish Publishing 1974 - 2014
Many book people gathered at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on Friday 16 May to celebrate Publishing Scotland's four decades of supporting publishers in Scotland.
The exhibition includes information and examples of mapping from Collins & Bartholomew, Agatha Christie and the Collins Crime Club, Leckie and Leckie educational products and Collins dictionaries.
There are some pictures on the Publishing Scotland Facebook page.
The exhibition continues until Saturday 7 June.
You can see the exhibition panels in this exhibition PDF.

21 May 2014

Britain's Highest Mountain Walks


Summer has finally joined us, and it's time to make the most of the better conditions! We've asked mountaineer and Collins author Jeremy Ashcroft to give us his top tips for walking around Britain this summer.


The arrival of spring amongst Britain’s mountains heralds longer daylight hours, and if you are lucky, better weather! Once the snow has cleared from the tops, Britain’s highest mountains take on a slightly more benign character and at this time of year the easier routes up them are ideal candidates for family adventures. Suitable mountain walking skills are still required by the adults in the party and every family member will need to be equipped with appropriate footwear, warm and weatherproof clothing, and of course lots to eat and drink.

Next thing to think about is where to go. The highest peaks of England and Wales are respectively located in the Lake District and Snowdonia. For Scotland there are two groups: one in the west near Fort William, and the other in the east in the Cairngorms.

Helvellyn
Helvellyn in the Lake District is a perennial favourite and understandably so as it’s a fascinating mountain to climb. Famed for its dramatic ridges and deep north facing corries, its plateau-like summit is well positioned to take in all of the best views. However, there is no need to tackle Helvellyn’s narrow ridges head-on, you can admire them from afar, by-passing them by following the more gentle terrain of the Kepple Cove Track. The simplest thing to do is to follow the track out and back starting at Glenridding. Along the way you pass the old mines at Greenside, then above that a wide bridleway leads you though zig-zags on to the main ridge at Whiteside Bank. The broad path along the main crest then carries you high onto Helvellyn’s summit. The summit plateau feels like the deck of a huge aircraft carrier because it’s so level. If you look carefully, about 230m south of the summit shelter, you’ll find a plaque marking the landing and take off of an aeroplane in 1926.

Glyder Fawr
First time visitors to Snowdonia tend to make a bee-line for Snowdon. There's no arguing that it’s a fantastic mountain, but the best way to see it is not on it, but from one of its neighbours. By taking it in from an adjacent vantage point you get to see it in all its majestic glory. There are plenty of surrounding peaks to choose from. However, Glyder Fawr is perhaps the best. It stands close by, separated only by the yawning gap of Llanberis Pass and looks straight onto Snowdon’s craggy north and east facing flanks. Glyder Fawr itself is a fine mountain and part of a long dragon back ridge. For first timers, the route from Gwastadnant via Llyn y Cwn makes a pleasantly quiet approach.

Cairn Gorm
Scotland’s highest peaks generally have a bit more height than their English and Welsh neighbours, and thus hold snow longer, so caution needs to be exercised even in summer. Cairn Gorm with its high access point (thanks to the ski ground's car park) makes the best choice for a first foray. There is a well-marked track up through the ski grounds to the summit but this is best left for the descent as it's a bit enclosed. For ascent, the rounded lofty crest of Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais is a lovely route with superb views to both the towering cliffs of the Northern Corries and out across the wild expanse of the plateau towards Ben Macdui.

Britain's Highest Mountain Walks, by Jeremy Ashcroft, published by Collins, is available now.

About the author:
Jeremy Ashcroft is Mountaineering Editor at Trail magazine and author of numerous mountain bike guidebooks. He has completed all but a handful of the Munros, all the Wainwrights, and all significant summits in North Wales as well as being an experienced alpinist who has climbed over half the 4000m plus peaks. Jeremy has also climbed in the Himalayas, North Africa and the Caucasus and spent six years as a member of his local mountain rescue team.

7 May 2014

Railway Day Trips: London Paddington to Bath


A copy of 'Railway Day Trips' has been on a little adventure, to the beautiful city of Bath. Here is the journey description, with some photos kindly provided by Eva, Raf and Ben.

All ready to go!
The first part of our journey to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath follows the same route as the day trip to Oxford as far as Didcot. From here, the level route of Brunel’s broad-gauge line to Bristol is followed westwards along the Vale of White Horse through Steventon. After passing the sites of long-closed stations at Wantage Road and Challow, the famous Uffington White Horse can be seen on the northern slopes of Whitehorse Hill to the south before our diesel train speeds through Shrivenham on the approach to Swindon. 

"What shall we see now?"
Immediately west of Swindon station the remains of the vast GWR railway works (now a shopping outlet and museum) can be seen to the north. At Royal Wootton Bassett the more direct route to the Severn Tunnel and South Wales continues westwards while the original Brunel route heads off in a southwesterly direction to Chippenham. Trains soon reach Thingley Junction (for Melksham and Trowbridge) before entering Box Tunnel – this Brunel masterpiece was opened in 1841 and at 1.83 miles in length was then the longest railway tunnel in the world. The shorter Middle Hill Tunnel soon follows before the railway descends to the Avon Valley at Bathampton Junction, where it is joined from the south by the scenic route along the valley to Bradford-on-Avon and Westbury. The approach to Bath extends along a low viaduct giving fine views of the city, before the railway finally crosses the River Avon at the eastern end of the station. From here it is but a short walk into the city centre.

Railway Day Trips, RRP £14.99 is available for just £10 from Waterstones.com, using discount code 'RD2014'. Click here to redeem your copy now. See terms and Conditions below.

"Now, how do we get home?!"


About the author:
Julian Holland has always had a fascination with Britain’s railways. He is a writer and photographer of many railway books, including the highly acclaimed and award-winning The Times Mapping the Railways (HarperCollins, 2011), The Times Exploring Britain’s Lost Railways (HarperCollins, 2013) and Dr Beeching’s Axe 50 Years On (David & Charles, 2013). Railway Day Trips is available both as a paperback (9780007497157) and as an ebook (9780007549696).

Terms and Conditions
Discount code RD2014 entitles you to buy Railway Day Trips (ISBN 9780007497157) by Julian Holland for £9.99 (RRP £14.99) at Waterstones. com. Discount code is valid to midday on 16/08/2014. Discount can only be used once per person. One discount code to be used per transaction. Discount code cannot be used with any other voucher or coupon. Discount code can only be used at time of purchase and not retrospectively. This voucher can only be used on Waterstones.com and not in Waterstones stores. All prices on Waterstones.com are online only and may differ from Waterstones stores. Voucher code not valid on Reserve and Collect.

1 May 2014

Collins becomes an official partner of Velogames

We're very pleased to be able to announce that Collins is an official partner of Velogames, Britain's biggest and best fantasy cycling league. We're looking forward to an amazing summer, with great cycling, great events, and great books!

www.velogames.com

So get ready for the Grand Tour season and make sure that you pick your team for the Giro d'Italia before the Grande Partenza in Belfast on the 9th May: www.velogames.com

Join our mini league for the chance to win fantastic books. We'll be giving away copies of Mapping Le Tour, World's Ultimate Cycling Races and Collins Cycling Quiz Book to one lucky winner!
http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/advancedSearch.do?buttonClicked=1&ctx=4289385036&author=Collins
Stay up to date with news, commentary and offers from Collins Cycling. Follow us on Twitter @CollinsCycling, or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CollinsCycling 

Have an awesome summer of cycling - we can't wait!

30 Apr 2014

The Great Polish Map of Scotland

Work on the Great Polish Map of Scotland, the world’s largest terrain map (40 x 50 m) is ongoing.
Great Polish Map of Scotland at Barony Castle Hotel, Eddleston










Much has changed since I featured it as my Map of the Month Sep 09 - Great Polish Map of Scotland.

For all details and progress see Mapa Scotland’s website www.mapascotland.org or Facebook site www.facebook.com/mapascotland.
There will be a working party at the map this coming Sunday 4th May, followed by Mapa Scotland’s Annual General Meeting.

Images reproduced from Mapa Scotland Facebook page (Apr 2014).

25 Apr 2014

Anzac Day: Artefacts from the HarperCollins Archive

In honour of Anzac Day today (25th April) here is a post from our HarperCollins UK Archive Service which features some interesting items from the other side of the globe.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand. It originally commemorated the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli during WWI, but now the day broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts and in peacekeeping operations.

William Collins established agencies in Australia and New Zealand in 1862. A depot was established in Sydney in 1876 with a New Zealand Office of Collins Bros & Co opening in Mills Lane, Auckland, the next year. Collins enjoyed great success in Australia and New Zealand, perhaps in part due to Scottish immigrants who were familiar with the publisher.

The Glasgow archive recently received some fascinating materials from our HarperCollins counterparts in New Zealand which included: catalogues from the 1970s; photographs of staff from the 1940s; wage books from the 1920s; correspondence from the early 1900s and financial and legal records from as far back as 1877!

The items also included some sketches of local Maori people and correspondence from 1917: especially relevant given the next four years of centenary commemorations of WWI.

We are currently cataloguing this material and are looking forward to making the story of Collins in New Zealand more accessible through these records.

by Rachael Egan, © HarperCollins UK Archive Service

Easter Egg Hunt Competition Winner

We are pleased to announce that the lucky winner of over £70 worth of the latest Collins books is ...














Lynne Barnett.  

Congratulations Lynne, your books are in the post.
The Easter name related places were:
1.  Eggington
2.  Bunny
3.  Easter Balmoral
4.  Eastertown
5.  Eggborough or High Eggborough or Low Eggborough

23 Apr 2014

Collins new updated 2014 Catalogue

The shiny new summer blue sky Collins 2014 catalogue (updated edition) is hot off the press.  It’s filled with our latest printed atlases, maps, wall maps and books as well as digital apps, eBooks and educational resources.
New updated 2014 Collins Catalogue

















General Reference, Atlases and Maps:
General Reference
Railway Publications from The Times and Collins
Collins Astronomy with the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
World Heritage and Natural History
Sport and Recreation
Career Development
Young Adult Reference
Scottish Interest
Scottish Maps and Atlases
British Road Maps and Atlases
European Road Maps and Atlases
London Maps and Atlases
Irish Maps and Atlases
Ramblers Guides and Walking Maps
Ramblers Short Walks
Collins Nicholson Waterways Guides
The Times Maps and Atlases
Collins World Atlases
Educational Maps and Atlases for Ages 4-11
Educational Maps and Atlases for Ages 11+
Children’s Maps and Atlases
Children’s Reference

The 2014 catalogue also has sections for:
Dictionaries, including Children’s Dictionaries
School Ranges and Business
SCRABBLE, Crosswords, Puzzles & Games, Su Doku and Quizzes
Language Learning & ELT
Home Learning

Download the updated Collins 2014 catalogue (4.2MB PDF).

17 Apr 2014

Collins Short Walks - Free Downloads

Spring is finally here, and it’s time to get out for some great walks in the British countryside.

To celebrate the publication of four new editions in the Collins Short Walks series, endorsed by the Ramblers, we’re providing four walks to download for free.

Simply click on the link to the right of the cover image to get your free content:




£6.99
ISBN 9780007555017
ISBN 9780007555031





£6.99
ISBN 9780007555024
Yorkshire Dales Walk 9 download.pdf












£6.99
ISBN 9780007555000
Cotswolds Walk 1 download.pdf








Did you know you can also download some titles in this series as e-books?

Short Walks in The Lake District e-book ISBN 9780007555048

Short Walks in The Peak District e-book ISBN 9780007555062

Short Walks in The Yorkshire Dales e-book ISBN 9780007555055

Short Walks in Cornwall e-book ISBN 9780007451432

Short Walks in Dorset e-book ISBN 9780007451449