Tuesday 13 August 2013

Map reading & Navigation Courses in The Lake District. 27th & 28th July 2013.

Following successfully running the Seco Tools Corporate Team Building Event, Iain was straight back out the next day, this time with Stephanie Hill and her friend Christine (photo one) who had arranged one of our bespoke Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District as preparation for a forthcoming attempt on the Coast To Coast Walking Route across England.

Iain met the pair in Staveley and on day one took them to Green Quarter Fell where we got stuck into the basics of map reading and navigation.

Going back to basics means firstly using the compass to orientate the map thus aligning it up with the landscape around you. Following on from that we talked about maps scales and measuring distance on the map before measuring out distance on the ground by pacing.
The day progressed with us following a linear feature on to Green Quarter Fell ( the track next to the pair in photo one) measuring & pacing distance and identifying tickoff features along the way before breaking off onto open ground to use a compass to walk on a bearing. Over lunch, Iain introduced the idea of grid squares and grid references in order to be able to locate a particular point on the map. Christine & Stephanie quickly absorbed the theory and were soon able to give Iain 8 figure grid references for map locations - this is very good going indeed!

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting higher on Green Quarter Fell using Grid References to pinpoint places on the map and then walking point to point on a bearing whilst pacing the distance. The pair did extremely well.

We finished off the afternoon discussing Naithsmiths Rule so adding a timing dimension into the skills set. Naismith reckoned that most people were capable of walking around 3km per hour and he also stated it was necessary to add 1 minute to the time for every 10 meter contour crossed - going up or down. Iain reckons that even in the mountains - most people walk at at least 5 km per hour so it takes 15 minutes to walk 1 kilometer!

Saturday had been a fine warm day but Sunday dawned a little fresher and initially a little wetter. In fact, looking at the many streams running down the mountainsides, it was clear to see that there had been much rain overnight and the tops were cloud covered.

Day two of our Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District are always spent a little further up the Kentmere Valley and today we started from near to Green Quarter with the intention of heading up over Shipman Knotts on to Kentmere Pike consolidating skills learnt the previous day and adding new ones along the way.

One such new skill was being able to use the compass to identify unknown objects from a known reference point and also to be able to use the compass to verify things which could be seen. Photo three shows Christine having placed her compass on the map having lined up her compass along the direction of a wall we were trying to identify. This was done by lining up the direction of travel arrow on the compass with the wall and then setting the bezel (dial) to magnetic north before deducting 2 degrees to convert to grid north. The known point of reference was the wall junction and we were trying to verify this by "sighting" of one of the walls. Having done all of the required setup Christine then placed the compass on the map using the know reference point as a "pivot" for the compass and aligned the bezel to grid north. As can be seen, the edge of the compass is running in line with the wall we were trying to verify (in line with the direction of travel arrow). Job done!

The morning would see us progress up on to Shipman Knotts (photo four) heading in the direction of Kentmere Pike (in cloud in the background).

We never quite made it to Kentmere Pike as the pair wanted a 2:30 pm finish, but we did continue walking on  bearings, pacing & timing as we went from point to point until it was time to return to the vehicle. Along the way, we looked at 1:25, 1:50 and the 1:40'000 Harveys Map Scale that Stephanie & Christine will be using on their Coast To Coast Walk.

Both Stephanie & Christine gained a lot of new map reading & navigational skills from their Bespoke Weekend Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District and will, by now, have completed the Coast to Coast Walking Route - successfully we would hope.

As well running Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Courses in the Lake District, Kendal Mountaineering Services have four Autumn dates for set Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District . These are September 28th & 29th, October 26th & 27th, November 9th & 10th and November 30th/December 1st. These courses represent tremendous value for money at only £80 per person for the two day course and are ideal for the beginner or as a Mountain Walking Leader (ML) Refresher for an ML candidate wishing to prepare for a navigation reassement. Contact us here to make a booking.

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