Tuesday 20 September 2016

Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District. 17th & 18th September 2016.

Last weekend, Iain was joined by Simon Walker and his friends Jon & Mark for one of our two day Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District.

The weather forecast was good, so we followed the usual course format. The three were staying at the Eagle & Child Inn in Staveley, so, Iain picked them up from there and we drove the short distance to Hall Lane (photo one) where we started the course by discussing map scales, the importance of orientating the map, measuring distance on the map and then pacing it on the ground and locating "tick off" features.

We made our way along the bridleway beyond Park House; and had lunch at a convenient bridleway crossroads where Iain introduced the concept of grid references which are used to find locations on maps.

In a very short space of time, the three were able to find eight figure grid references, so Iain set them the challenge of spending the rest of the day doing exactly that! In-between grid references, the guys were expected to walk on a compass bearing - giving Iain their bearings and also a distance before they were permitted to set off as in photo two.

At about 4pm, we spent some time discussing Naithsmith's Rule to add a timing element to their Navigation Skills toolbox before heading back to Staveley. A pint in the sun at the Hawkshead Brewery made for a good end to a great first day!

On day two, Iain collected the guys at the slightly later time of 09:30 allowing them to get their breakfast before they started the course.

We drove further up the valley to park above Kentmere Village and set off along the bridleway leading to Sadgill in Longsleddale. Today, we started with cloud down to around 500 metres with a forecast that was set to worsen towards the end of the day. Photo three sees the group walking on to find an insignificant stream head indicated on the map - proper Mountain Walking Leader standard Navigation skills! They did, of course, find it! Well done!

Photo four sees Mark, Simon & Jon sometime later on quite a steep slope below the summit of Shipman Knotts above Sadgill in the Longsleddale Valley.

After finding our stream head we had then gone on to find an enclosure at a wall junction and then Iain asked the group to take him to "point 587" ie the summit of Shipman Knotts.

This was not easy - walking on a bearing and pacing on steep & rough ground and at the point in photo four, Iain had stopped the lads and asked then where they thought they were on their route. At this point, there was a broad ledge on what was an otherwise steep slope. All three picked this out on the map as being an area where the contour lines were briefly spaced further apart. Well done lads, good skills!

We also spent some time transposing between the 1:25'000 scale map we were largely working with on to the 1:50'000 map which allowed us to identify features further east that were visible on the 1:50k map but "off" the edge of the 1:25k map we had. Again the lads were successful in finding features on the smaller scale map, good skills again!

We made our way from the summit of Shipman Knotts towards Kentmere Pike - travelling from one stream head to another; and then we went directly for the summit of Kentmere Pike (731 m).

On this leg we hit the cloud at around 625 metres, so the lads really had to concentrate on getting their pacings right and walking on that bearing. They hit the summit of Kentmere Pike pretty much spot on on both accounts - well done!

We did a further two legs in the mist - one of 625 metres (photo five) and one of 750 metres. On both occasions, the lads hit the grid references at the end of these longer legs spot on! Following this, as time was getting on; and the weather was clearly worsening, we located; and then descended by a footpath directly to Hallow Bank and back to the Land Rover.

This weekend Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Simon, Mark & Jon had gone exceptionally well and we wish them the very best with their future forays into the mountains.

Our Navigation Skills Training Weekends in The Lake District cost just £80 per person (minimum group size of four) or you can book your own bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course (group size 1- 4) for just £160 per day. Maps are provided as part of the fee. These courses are ideal for anyone wishing to learn to navigate in the UK's mountains in Summer conditions and are ideal for anyone looking for an ML style Navigation Refresher Day prior to attending a Summer Mountain Walking Leader Assessment or re-assessment.

Contact us here to book your Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District. We look forward to working with you!

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