Wednesday 29 June 2016

Working backwards - when we can! Navigation Skills Training Weekend, June 25th & 26th 2016.

Sorry Folks. Our last Blog Post was April 29th, but we've not been out of business since - just too busy to put it all up on here! In the coming weeks, we will attempt to keep moving forward with our reporting as well as trying to work back and report on what has already gone on in May & June.

You can read about our adventures over the last two months by visiting the Kendal Mountaineering Services Facebook page and there - you'll find everything we've been up to!
Most recently, we were out last weekend with James & Christina Stevens who are on holiday in The Lake District from Hertfordshire and local lasses - Sandra & Janet from Kendal. All four had signed up to one of our Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District.

So what are these courses about? Well, the idea is to show you how to use a map to identify what  you can see around you - of course you have to make sure that you have the right map for the area first!

We make sure that you do have the right maps for the course by supplying then too you FOC as part of the course fee. All you need to bring is a compass (and we recommend the Silva Type 4 Expedition Compass as being the best one for the course), everything you would need for going out for a day into the mountains in all weather conditions; and a willingness to learn.....

Sound's pretty simple doesn't it!

And all these things were what our four turned up with last Saturday morning as we set off to venture into the fells to the north of Staveley in the southern Lake District.

We started the course by emphasizing how important it is to orientate the map (ie align it with the landscape around you) to aid identification. We discussed the various map scales on offer and their pros and cons before measuring distance on the map and then pacing it out on the ground. By the time we got int the middle of nowhere in photo three, the group could also find and give grid references and were using a compass bearing to walk in a straight line between grid references - all textbook stuff!

We spent the afternoon of day one taking more compass bearings between grid references, measuring the distance and then walking on the bearings and pacing them out. The afternoon disappeared very quickly indeed!

The next morning saw us all meet at Staveley again, but this time we drove further up the valley to begin day two of the group's Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District at a point about 2/3rds of the way up the Kentmere Valley.

The day started out sunny & quite hot (photo four). We began our day by using our compasses to identify features from our known location before setting off on our route for the day which included another short section of "hand-railing" the bye-way leading to Long Sleddale before heading off up the fell to look for something more interesting; and harder to find.
Marked on our 1:25'000 scale maps in one location on the east side of Shipman Knotts are three very small squares with a footpath leading to them.

We decided to try to locate these squares to see what they were and this meant following the rather indistinct footpath through thick bracken lower on the fell. We were able to measure our pacings per 100 metres on the first part of this path and then the group missed the route and headed off, unaware, on a different path. It took a prompting from Iain before they realised their mistake and finally headed along the right route. Eventually, we found our three squares which turned out to be 3 small walled enclosures hidden in bracken  - an ideal place for lunch (photo five).

Our final photo from this post about our most recent Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District, sees the four "hot footing it" off the hill as the forecast weather arrives (later than forecast we are pleased to say!).

After finding our three "squares", we made our way to a "ring contour" (high point) on the ridge above, which we then verified by walking on another 100 m to a wall junction (which was just where it should have been according to the map!) Then, with the wind rising  and the temperature dropping, we returned to the valley as a wall of rain moved west from Windermere towards us - fortunately not quite reaching us before we reached the Land Rover.

Christina & James and Sandra & Janet thoroughly enjoyed attending our Navigation Skills Training Weekend in The Lake District and all leave with a much better understanding or Map Reading & Navigation Skills. Our next "scheduled" Weekend Navigation Skills Training Course will be on October 8th & 9th and there are ten places available at the bargain price of £80 per person. Contact us here to book your place, We look forward to working with you!

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