Saturday 19 May 2012

Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. May 15th & 16th 2012.

Evita Evans booked a bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District for herself and husband Rob as part of a birthday present for him. Photo one is taken at the top of Green Quarter Fell with the Kentmere Horseshoe behind

Evita had contacted us at Kendal Mountaineering services some time previously to arrange this course for them both whilst they visited the Lake District - taking a break from their busy lives in London running London Hire Ltd - a company that services the vehicle requirements for all of the various London Boroughs.

The pair enjoy getting away from it all to spend holidays walking in Devon, The Yorkshire Dales and The Lake District and are enthusiastically trying to bag the Lake District Wainwrights but they were finding difficulties with navigation whilst out on the hills leading to all sorts of problems.

Iain arranged to run one of our standard two day Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses for the pair and we did this in the Kentmere area of the southern Lake District - not far from where they were staying in Staveley.

We started by going right back to the basics - orientating the map in order to be able to align the map  with the landscape around us. This is enormously helpful when trying to work out where you are and involves the use of the compass in order to do so.

Following this, we looked at the skill of pacing and measuring distance on the map. This was in order that we could start to walk on a route, identify "tick off features" to help us identify where we were at a given point and be able to accurately pace the distances we had measured.

Photo two was taken a little while later after we had practised all of that outlined above plus finding and being able to accurately identify grid references. The next task was to take and walk on a bearing.
Taking a compass bearing is quite a complicated task for someone new to navigation skills training. You need to line the compass up between two grid references as in photo three (in this case two ring contours)  and then rotate the bezel (circular disc) until the orienting lines (black & red lines) are parallel to an easting (or line of longitude) and the red arrow is pointing to grid north.

At the same time, the direction of travel arrow on the compass baseplate must be pointing in the direction you wish to travel. Next, read off the degrees on the index line (black line) on the numbered portion of the outer bezel ring and physically add 3 degrees to that reading. Finally, take the compass off the map and rotate the whole compass until the red magnetic north needle is aligned with the red arrow in the bezel. The direction of travel arrow is now pointing in the direction that you must walk on the ground
The rest of day one was spent on Green Quarter Fell practising taking and walking on a bearing between grid references and measuring & pacing distance. We also spent some time using the compass to work out what we could see from a known vantage point.

Day two of our Mountain  Navigation Skills Training Course found us a little to the north of the previous day on Shipman Knotts and Kentmere Pike doing more of the same, but looking at using attack points to home in on grid references and other navigation techniques as well.

The weather throughout the two day Navigation Skills training course was dry but cold. The latter part of day two saw us finish the course by continuing  on to Harter Fell (photo four) before descending via Nan Bield Pass and returning to our vehicle via the upper part of the Kentmere valley.

Evita & Rob thoroughly enjoyed their two day bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills training Course with Iain and had plans to spend the next few days in The Lake District bagging some more Wainwright tops with their new skills and improved confidence. Iain wishes them success with this and being able to enjoy going into the hills more in the future.

If you would like to book your own Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course with Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services then contact us here. More photographs from Evita & Robs course can be viewed here.

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