Sunday 26 October 2014

Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District. September 27th & 28th 2014.

Just before we headed south for our holiday in Jordan, Iain had one more bit of work to do. The first of our Autumn/winter Lake District based Navigation Skills Training Courses was scheduled to run during the last weekend of the month.

Despite being amazing value at just £80 per person for this two day course, it didn't book up well. However, we did have the minimum of four persons booked on to it for the Saturday at least, so Iain decided to run it anyway!

We were joined by two returning clients Al & Becky (centre & right, photo one) who joined Iain for a hardcore day of Caving in the Yorkshire Dales last February. It was good to see them again and they were joined by their mate Belinda who came out for the Saturday. Of the fourth person, there was no sign; although Iain later discovered that she had thought the course was not going ahead!

However, with those who did turn up, we cracked on through the usual syllabus on Saturday. This starts with our discussing the importance of map orientation followed by a comparison of map scales and their effect on detail.

We then set off on a linear route having discussed pacing and measuring distance. By the time we had gotten to the point in photo two, the girls were also able to find grid references on the map and had just walked on their first bearing. Good progress!

We spent the remainder of day one walking from grid reference to grid reference always on a bearing; and pacing the distances as accurately as possible. We finished the day discussing Naismiths Rule (3km per hour plus 1 minute for every 10m contour crossed and then spent a while working out timings between a number of grid references before walking back to the cars. A good day with a lot of learning having taken place.

Day two saw Iain, Al & Becky parking up further along the kentmere valley with the intention of taking the usual route up Shipman Knotts & Kentmere Pike.

Iain started the pair off by adding a new skill - how to use the compass to identify something you can see from a known location (photo three) The pair were already very good at reading from map to ground but this new technique would help them confirm what they thought they were looking at - a useful boost to confidence which is essential in the mountains!

We set off with the intention of ascending Shipman Knotts from the bridleway linking Green Quarter to Sadgill, but that involves  following another linear feature (the wall running along the crest). Iain wanted to push this pair a bit harder so we set off around the hillside above Sadgill - firstly to find the head of a small stream. Real Mountain Walking Leader Standard stuff!

And of course Becky & Al found their stream head no problem through a combination of pacing, walking on a bearing and being able to read the shape of the ground from the contours on the map.

We then went on to find a significant change in direction in another stream before heading up to a gently sloping shelf on the otherwise steeply sloping east face of Shipman Knotts - the pair could identify where they were going even before we got there! It wasn't until we got on to the summit plateau of Kentmere Pike in thick mist walking on a long leg from another stream head to the summit Trig Point that they really had to work hard; and then they were pretty much bang on finding that Trig Point!

By this time, it was mid afternoon so Iain's last instruction was "Right! - get us back to those cars now please!" which of course they did no problem.

So our first Navigation Skills Training Course of the Autumn went well with three people learning a lot of new skills which should help them venture into the mountains with confidence in the future. Job done!

Our next Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District  is projected to take place on November 1st & 2nd with a further on on November 29th & 30th.

There are plenty of spaces available on both weekends and at £80 per person for the two day course they are a bargain. Contact us here to book your place today!

Also, dates for our 2015 Mountain Navigation Skills Training Weekends are up on the website here so you can plan well in advance to attend one of these great courses. We look forward to working with you.

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