Wednesday 2 July 2014

Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. June 28th & 29th 2014.

Last weekend, we ran our 4th Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course of 2014 in the Lake District near Kentmere.

Joining us on this Navigation Skills Training were a group of seven people coming from as far away as Somerset - so word about these great courses obviously gets around!

Our Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District are advertised at the end of each year for the following year and are usually run on the last weekend of each month starting in March. Check the website here to start planning when you'll be joining us on a course!

The cost is £80 per person for these advertised Navigation Skills Training Weekends - subject to our receiving a minimum of four bookings.

On day one - we go right back to basics starting with discussing map scales before moving on to the importance of orientating the map. Only once you have learnt this technique can you really start to identify what you will see around you. We then follow this by learing how to measure distance on the map before pacing it out on the ground.
Following on from that, we take a walk following a linear feature - usually a road or track identifying and locating "tickoff features" along the way.

This gives you the opportunity to identify features, measure and then pace out the distance to them - confirming your location upon arrival by setting (orientating the map). Most people find this method of map reading progression extremely rewarding and great for boosting their confidence.

After spending the morning in this manner, we'll then have lunch and take some time to discover how Grid References help you locate a point on a map. A six figure Grid Reference will get you onto the bottom left hand corner of a 100m square within a 1km Grid Square and an eight figure Grid Reference will further increase that accuracy down to 10 square metres. By the end of our lunchtime Grid Reference lecture on this course everyone was able to give as well as find 8 figure Grid References (photo two) Great stuff!

After the Grid Reference Exercise, we spend the rest of the day using compasses to accurately navigate between Grid References using pacing to help accuracy and at the end of the session, discuss Naithsmiths Rule for timings (5km/hour + 1 minute added for every 10m contour crossed).

As part of your fee per person of £80 for the weekend, we will provide you with laminated A4 sized maps of the areas you'll be working in.

These cost us pence and as they are laminated, are more durable and waterproof than a basic map costing £8. Also, an A4 sheet of paper is much more manageable than a whole map sheet if it is windy.

All we ask is that you bring a Silva Type 4 Expedition Compass, everything that you would take out for a day in the hills; and plenty of enthusiasm to learn all of those map reading skills we'll show you!

Whilst on day one, we will work in an area not too distant from our meeting point in the pretty Lake District village of Staveley. On day two, we always go further afield.

Generally, unless the weather conditions are adverse, we will venture on to the eastern side of the Kentmere Horseshoe where we will consolidate the Map Reading & Navigation Skills learnt on day one and add some more technical skills such as how to use the compass to identify an unknown feature from a known location.

If the weather is good then you'll get some fantastic views of The Lake District's Lakes & Mountains; and if you want to know what anything is - then you can use the skills you have learnt so far; or ask Iain!

Not all of the features you'll be asked to find will be as obvious as the rock in photo six (does anyone know what this erratic  is called and where it is?)

Amongst other things, by the end of this course you'll be expected to find contour features (a contour is a line joining areas of the same hieght and they basically show the shape and steepness of the ground) as well as springs such as in photo five. Using the skills developed on day one, you'll need to be able to justify why you are where you think you are!

Sounds a bit like a Summer Mountain Walking Leader Assessment? Well, in all honesty, all of our Lake District based Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Courses are run to Summer Mountain Walking leader standard so if you are thinking of attempting your Summer ML Assessment or have been deferred on your navigation, then our courses make an ideal refresher course.

Our next advertised Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course in the Lake District will be running during the weekend of September 27th & 28th. Contact us here if you would like to book a place.

In the meantime, if you would like to book your own bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course during July or August then feel free to enquire. Bespoke Nav Courses start at just £80 per person per day.


RBN said...

Yes, I was on this course and can tell you all it is well worthwhile for learning all about map reading and navigation in a friendly and supportive way.... not to mention the laughs and fun along the way.
And Somerset isn't so far to come, I can tell you Iain, to spend time in the beauty of the Lakes once again!
A very enjoyable, and successful weekend.
Rod B, Frome, Somerset

Iain Gallagher said...

Thanks Rod, it is great to hear that you had such an enjoyable time on our Weekend Map Reading & Navigation Skills Training Course although it was evident during the course that you had gained a great deal by attending.

Best of luck with your future forays into the mountains; and with viewing map reading in a totally new light!

Best wishes

Iain Gallagher