Sunday 10 April 2016

Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District. Saturday & Sunday 3rd & 4th April 2016.

Last weekend saw Iain running a Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District for Richard McEvoy and his friends Andy & Joe.

All come from the Keighley Area of West Yorkshire where they spend their spare time running bush-craft courses for a local young persons club. The three wished to learn Navigation Skills Training in order to increase the breadth of what they can offer the club by possibly taking the lads hill walking.

Due to the weather, we changed from the original plan of meeting at Staveley to go to the Kentmere Valley and instead met in Kendal to go into Longsleddale.

Photo one sees us climbing out of Longsleddale on what was  a very wet start to their Navigation Skills Training Weekend!
As usual with our courses, we started off by discussion the differences between the two map scales we would be using and then outlining the important of orientating the map. We then measured distance on the map and learnt how to pace out 100 metres on the ground.

After this, we set out on our days journey which would take us up on to the area of fell between the Longsleddale & Kentmere Valleys measuring distance and pacing between "tick off features". As our route was quite steep up out of the valley, we were able to compare our pacings per 100 metres on different slope angles which was most useful.

After an our of doing this, we found ourselves at the top of the slope above Longsleddale and it was time to move on to the next stage of the lads Navigation Training ie learning about grid references  - except we were stuck out in the cold and rain. Fortunately, Iain knows of a bothy which contains benches and a table and here we were able to get under cover, sit down and have a classroom type lesson about grid references  and taking compass bearings (photo two).

Really, it was just as well were were able to get under cover for that part of the course as outside, the weather had, if anything, gotten worse.  We spent the rest of the day "bog hopping" and looking for features such as stream junctions (photo three), pools of water, ruins and bridges as well as identifying some contour features along the way.

The lads picked up the Navigation skills provided by Iain very well despite the weather, good stuff!

Photo four was taken at almost the same place as the first photo of this Navigation Skills Training Course as we made our way back down to the vehicles at around 4pm.

As you can see, the weather was starting to dry up as was forecast,  however, the whole area  had received a thorough soaking as had we. The original plan had been to wild camp at the head of the Kentmere Valley, but by coming to Longsleddale, we had given ourselves another option for our overnight stay in the mountains.

Photo five sees Andy & Joe loaded up in the back of Iain's Land Rover after we had all driven up Longsleddale as far as you can go in a car.

What lay ahead of us now was a three mile drive up a challenging bridleway to a point high up where we would been able to walk a short distance to a peaceful & secluded wild camping area; or, if things were too wet, have the option to "overnight" in one of the Lake District's few bothies. We had already decided to take the bothy option!

Photo six sees us all outside of the bothy the next morning after a good, dry, night's sleep.

The  walk here from the Land Rover had taken about an hour and after we had settled in and eaten, we went out to do some night navigation.

"Night Nav" is difficult and relies solely on an individuals ability to accurately pace and walk on a bearing as well as "time" how long each leg between grid references will take. Richard, Andy & Joe performed well throughout the session and it was almost midnight before we arrived back at the bothy. No-one was particularly keen to get going early the next morning and it was after 10am before we left this place.

We headed straight up the slope to the north through the nearby quarries to find a summit, pacing, timing and walking on a bearing to get us there.

The weather on day two of this Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District was bright and sunny - but consequently, a lot colder! We continued west on to the summit of Branstree (photo seven) passing some large snow patches along the way. Everyone was surprised by the amount of snow lingering on the fells, but prior to Easter, the weather had been dry & bright for weeks  and it would have been cold up here with frosts every night.

We descended west from Branstree to Gatesgarth Pass (photo eight) and then made our way down to  Brownhowe Bottom (in the middle distance) where the Land Rover was parked. Richard had asked to be back there by 2 pm so that the lads could get a good  start on their way back home as all were back at work the next day. Iain would be too!

Richard, Andy & Joe each paid £120 for this two day Navigation Skills Training  Weekend in The Lake District with a qualified & experienced practitioner who had the forethought to build some flexibility into the programme due to the weather forecast. You can join one of our Weekend Navigation Skills Training Courses for just £80 for the two days. 

The next one of these courses is running two weeks time during April 23rd & 24th. Our Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District will give you the skills you need to head into the mountains in unfamiliar terrain with confidence and are ideal for anyone preparing for a Mountain Walking Leader Assessment as a Navigation Refresher Course. Contact Iain here to book your place. We look forward to working with you.

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