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How to get easy access to the LakeDistrict

I am 74 years old and constantly in a wheelchair, though I am able to transfer in and out of cars. I also have restricted hand movements. Do you know any small hotel or guest house which could provide the care I would need? Do you know of any organisation that would help me? Somewhere like the Lake District would be nice.

M Brewer

West Yorks

The Travel Editor replies: The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (Radar) has helpful and friendly staff who can provide information on the specific things that you are interested in, as well as other suggestions, from skiing to specially adapted motor-homes in the US. Hotels in the Lake District should not be a problem. Radar can provide books and factpacks for a fee. Write to: Radar, 12 City Forum, 250 City Road, London EC1V 8AF (tel: 0171-250 3222).

Tripscope helps people with disabilities with their travelling needs (tel: 0345 585641). Explain what you would like to do and they will give you advice.

You could obtain the first disability-friendly hotel directory. All Go is a region-by-region guide to hotel access in Britain and is the only directory of its kind to have been compiled by a wheelchair-user. It is available in bookshops or direct from Big Group publishers (tel: 0171- 383 2335) for pounds 4.95 plus pounds 1 p&p .

GPS satellite navigation hit by binary bug

I've heard there may be a problem affecting GPS receivers this year. Is it something to do with the millennium bug?

Jane Banks


Clive Tully replies: For those who don't know, the Global Positioning System tells you exactly where you are based on radio signals from satellites.

The GPS problem is not the same as the millennium bug, though it is similar. In binary counting systems, which use only the digits one and zero, 1,023 (1,111,111,111) is like 99 in the decimal system. And the GPS enters its 1,024th week at midnight on 21 August.

Older receivers may not be able to handle the rollover on 22 August. They could display the date incorrectly (probably showing the system's start date, 6 January, 1980), or they may determine the position of the satellites, and so your own position, incorrectly. Or they may sense that an error has occurred and do nothing at all.

One school of opinion reckons there's sufficient data in GPS broadcasts for that not to happen, so there is an element of "wait and see". And to my knowledge, there's no hand-held receiver on the market which hasn't been built to take account of rollover.

If you have an older model, provided it has a real-time clock, you may have to put your receiver into "cold start" mode on 22 August, so it has to search the sky afresh for satellites - normally it relies on position data from the last time it was switched on. This is also what you would have to do if you took it on holiday to a distant place, since the satellites would be in a different position. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer of your receiver. If you have access to the internet, visit the manufacturers' websites. Garmin:; Magellan: www.magellangps. com; Eagle:

Clive Tully is one of Britain's leading commentators on clothing and equipment for walking, trekking and backpacking. He is editor of `TrailWalk' (www., an online magazine devoted to the subject. He will be appearing daily at the Outdoors Show at Astles Hall, Cheshire, 23-25 April; National Watersports Centre, Nottingham, 30 April-3 May; Kempton Park Racecourse, Sunbury, 7-9 May.

Impatience for tickets could cost you dear

Why do tour operators leave it so late to send out holiday tickets? I generally book my holiday up to a year early but never receive my tickets until a few days before travel.

Geoffrey Brown


The Travel Editor replies: It is standard practice for tour operators to request full payment two months in advance, but not issue your tickets until the last week before you travel. There is nothing sinister about this. It is a convenience for both the industry and the customer.

Your airline might change its schedule between the date of your booking and your date of travel. If you already had your ticket, it would have to be changed, possibly at the last minute. And if you lose your ticket, a fee would have to be paid for new ones.

A more common problem is with people changing their minds about dates of travel. Most tickets for package holidays are fixed-dated and once issued cannot be altered. If your tickets have not yet been issued, a change of heart need not mean you will have to pay extra charges. But if they have been issued, you will have to pay a price for changing your mind - perhaps the whole cost of a new ticket.


Have you got a question or problem? Whether you want to know the best place to go for a holiday or have a legal or medical concern, our panel of travel experts will be able to help.

Write to: the Travel Editor, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2043. E-mail: