Tuesday 28 May 2013

Mountain Navigation Skills Training weekend in The Lake District.May 25th & 26th 2013.

Lake District map reading & navigation Skills training courses.
During the last Bank Holiday weekend, Iain from Kendal Mountaineering Services ran one of our Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District.

These courses are designed to improve your map reading skills and are designed to be able to help you to accurately interpret features on a map, to be able to accuately navigate from one location to another and to be able to identify features from around you on to a known location on the map.
Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District.
 Iain was joined by Gary Taylor & his sons  Jamie (left) and Peter (right) in photo two.

Day one of the course was spent on Green Quarter Fell near Staveley going right back to basics by first learning how to orientate the map. We followed this by working out how to measure distance on the various maps scales and then being able to pace measured distances on the ground.

Using first a road and then a bridleway, we "handrailed" on to Green Quarter Fell identifying tickoff features en route which allowed us to accurately pinpoint our location at all times. Eventually, after learning about grid references and attack points we were to spend the rest of the afternoon navigating from grid reference to grid reference on the map with the guys taking and then walking on a compass bearing as well as pacing for accuracy. On a number of occasions, we also had to "box" around obstacles on our bearings - so on day one, the guys covered a considerable amount the of map reading & navigation skills syllabus.

Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in North West Engand.
During day two of our Lake District Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses, we always go to a different part of the area and try to go higher to an area of fewer man made features if we can.

Parking further up the Kentmere Valley allowed us to get on to the ridge leading up to Kentmere Pike via Shipman Knotts and photo three sees the guys with the summit of Shipman Knots just behind them.

One again, we had followed a linear feature - this time a wall along this ridge but using a variety of attack points and features along the way to allow us to be able to pinpoint our location. Today, Iain had introduced the skill of using the compass to be able to identify a visible feature from a known location on the map - not an easy thing to do and particularly when something you are looking for is off the 1:25'000 map but on the 1:50'000 map instead! However, on almost every occasion Gary, Peter & Jamie were able to accurately & rapidly identify visible features at times from quite a long way away.

Lake District based Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses.
We finished our Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course by navigating on to the summit of Kentmere Pike via a wall/fence junction and a spring on an area of open, featureless hillside.

Having accurately navigated to the spring using a combination of pacing & walking on a bearing, our location is being checked (in photo four) by taking a bearing down the stream issuing from the spring to check our accuracy.

Having taken a "line of sight" bearing and then deducting 2 degrees (mag to grid - get rid) the compass was then aligned to grid north on the map and - did point down the line of our stream! With that varification, plus having walked almost spot on to the spring from our last grid reference. We could be satisfied that we had, indeed, reached the place we were looking for.

The compass being used on this occasion was a Silva Type 4 Expedition which was what we recommend for this course.

One final leg saw us at the trig point on Kentmere Pike along with everyone else who was enjoying the fabulous bank holiday weather and at this point Gary, Peter & Jamie were happy to call it a day and return to the vehicle - although Iain did make them find the route down.

Gary, Peter & Jamie were very satisfied with all of the new skills they learnt during their Lake District Map Reading Skills Course with Iain whose advice to them would be to get out & use their news skills as soon as possible. Other photos taken during this course can be viewed here.

Our next Mountain Navigation Skills Training course is Scheduled for September but we might just run a few over the summer as well so keep an eye on dates via the website in Upcoming Courses and contact us if you would like to book a place. These courses are fantastic value at only £80 pr person for the weekend course or you can contact us at any time to book your own bespoke Mountain Navigation Skill Training Course in The Lake District. We look forward to working with you.

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