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Meet the maker of the ‘Ethel Ready’ app …

Tomo Thompson
By Tomo Thompson
7th June 2021

Since the ‘Ethel Ready’ app was launched in May, tens of thousands of people have downloaded it. Here we meet Doug Colton who designed the app ….

Doug Colton is CPRE’s volunteer monitoring officer for the first and last stages of the Peak District Boundary Walk. At the start of 2021 he came up with the idea of the Ethels: “It crossed my mind that the Peak District deserved a list of peaks to match the Wainwrights of the Lake District and the Munros of Scotland. The same day I settled on calling them the Ethels, to raise the public profile of the countryside access pioneer Ethel Haythornthwaite, who was the driving force behind the UK’s first national park.”

Doug had taught himself how to build smartphone apps as a lockdown pastime in January. He set about creating an app for people to read about the Ethels and to track their progress climbing them. “I named the app Ethel Ready as an invitation for those ready for the Ethels challenge.” A couple of weeks later he approached CPRE PD&SY to publicise the Ethels and to promote the free app:

  1. As a doable challenge for the average walker, with them being fewer and easier and less remote than the Munros and Wainwrights
  2. To encourage people to be more active for their physical and mental wellbeing
  3. To encourage visitors to explore less well known parts of the national park, being good for local businesses and to take strain away from hot spots like the Hope Valley, Dovedale, etc
  4. To encourage residents of the Peak District to stay local and to lessen car journeys to the Lakes, Snowdonia, etc
Screen grab of the Ethel Ready app
The Ethel Ready smartphone app has an accumulator that shows at a glance how many hills you’ve climbed.

“I selected the 95 Ethels hills based on the criteria of height, prominence, being within or very close to the national park, public access and character.”

Doug kindly added a CPRE page to his app to allow people who enjoyed using it to consider joining our organisation, donating or finding out more about what we do.

As a fan of the outdoors, Doug is a keen long distance hiker and later this year he is taking on the last of six stages of walking from Chepstow in South Wales to Inverness in Northern Scotland.

Please see the important notes from the charity for anyone intending to walk the ‘Ethels’ here

Photo: Doug at Chinley Churn