Wednesday 19 December 2012

Mountain Navigation Skills Training courses in The Lake District. December 1st & 2nd 2012 and beyond.

At the beginning of December, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services ran another bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course in the same fashion as the course the previous month.

Despite offering our courses out at the bargain price of £80 per person for a weekend Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District, we failed to meet the minimum group size of four persons. This is puzzling indeed, but once again, we had one person keen to secure Iains services to run the Navigation Skills training course for themselves.

Adam Murfitt travelled up from Lancashire to attend this course with Iain. Photo one was taken during day one late in the afternoon on Green Quarter Fell. Despite a poor start to the day in which rain hitting frozen ground had made driving to the venue a real hazard - it went on to become a lovely still, dry and sunny afternoon - even if temperatures in the shade did not rise above freezing!

Adams bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District took the usual format with Iain assessing the candidates initial ability and developing their navigation techniques in a progressive style from there on. Adam was a fast learner so it was not too long before were were using the compass more & more to find our way from point to point and to identify what we were looking at.

In photo two taken on day two, we had moved on to Shipman Knotts - part of the Kentmere Horseshoe and here Adam is comparing the amount of information available on a 1:50,000 scale map in his left hand as opposed to that available on a 1:25,000 scale map (in his right hand!) - basically covering half the distance but offering twice the information of the 1:50 map.

What was more important was that Adam had been asked to identify the white building visible in the top left hand distance which was off the 1:25k map but on the 1:50. Adam successfully located his position on the 1:50 map and, using his compass, was able to identify the building in the distance - no easy task, well done Adam.

Photo three was taken on The Knowe - a shoulder on the ridge between Kentmere Pike & Harter Fell. Here we had great views across to High Street - the highest mountain in the area.

To get to this point Adam had "handrailed" a number of linear features including a track and a boundary wall - successfully identifying and locating "tick off features" along the way. Also, we had included a couple of legs which involved walking on a bearing and pacing and at this point Iain had introduced Adam to Naithsmiths rule for timing as well.

Mr Naismith devised a formula in which he reckoned the average hillwalker could cover ground at the rate of 3 kilometres per hour (Iain reckons it's nearer five for most people) and that one should add 1 minute for every 10 metre contour crossed en route. So, on that basis - say you had to walk one kilometer and had a hieght gain of 100m over this distance then the time for distance shoud be 60 minutes/3 kilometres = 20 minutes + 100metres hieght gain/1minute per 10m contour = 10 minutes............20+10= half an hour. When you have to break it down to 375m distance - covering ground at the rate of 5 kilometres per hour it gets a lot harder! Can you work it out?

Having reached the top of Harter Fell and enjoyed the views in what was very much a winter environment, Iain asked Adam to take him to the head of Drygrove Gill - a conspicuous ravine on the western flank of Harter Fell. Adams choice was to pace & "handrail" the boundary fence to an attack point - in this case an obvious change of direction of the fence that put him a mere 150m from his destination to pace & walk on a bearing.

This was a very good plan and in the final photo of the day Adam can be seen walking towards the head of Drygrove Gill (not visible at this point) with a cold looking Kentmere Reservoir nestling under a snowy Ill Bell in the distance. Adam was bang on with his bearing - having used a feature on the opposite side of the valley as a line of sight. We finished off by continuing to the Ull Stone before heading back to the car.

Adam performed well during his bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District and whilst this was the final course for 2012, dates for our 2013 courses are now up on the website here and bookings are already coming in. If you would like to learn how to map read and navigate in the mountains with confidence - then have a look at the dates and contact us to make your reservation. £80 for a two day course is a bargain price and we look forward to your joining us on the hill in 2013. Further photos taken during this weekend Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District can be viewed here.

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