Monday, 26 November 2012

A Glorious Night Out!

A Glorious Night Out!
The weather over the past weekend was one of forecasts for heavy rain and flooding across the country. Amidst this Peak Navigation Courses still managed to run a successful night navigation course that was acclaimed as brilliant by the students attending!

“Thanks for last nights night nav session. Really enjoyed it!”  Ashley Dawson

Night Navigation, planning strategies
The night navigation courses are really designed for people who already have good navigation skills and are able to use a map and compass to cross open moorland. What they aim to achieve is to introduce the necessary strategies to cope in poor visibility simulating what happens should the mist come down or should you get caught out after darkness. Hopefully the course will leave students confident to get out and practice for themselves (practice makes perfect!).

The course we run starts at 6.30pm during the winter months and involves a practical session of around three hours. Conditions last Saturday were some of the most challenging that we have known. However being just a short course for experienced hill walkers the course was on.

Night Navigation, working out bearings and distances
Darkness and mist coupled with persistent rain made for really limited visibility. Normally there is enough light to see some lumps and bumps and even dips on the horizon, etc. However there was such limited visibility that this was a true learning experience. Students usually find it o.k. to walk short distances just following their compasses lining up with things they can see in their beams. However this proved difficult in such dense mist and the most useful technique was to “leap frog” with another student pacing just 25m before turning around and being lined up. (25m proved to be the limit of torch beams on the night).

Various techniques were put into practice including relocation before we adjourned to the pub for a celebration debrief. None of us were left wearing a dry item of clothing  but all agreed that it was a realistic experience.

Peak Navigation Courses run a range of map reading and navigation courses in the Peak District National Park. Courses are aimed from absolute beginners to those with lots of experience who want to refine their skills.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Map Reading and Navigation Courses make great Christmas Presents!

Peak Navigation Courses run map reading and navigation courses throughout the year.  Our peak demand season is the months of January, February and March. This is due to a variety of reasons: New Years resolutions to get fit or get out walking; people wanting to learn navigation ahead of a walking holiday planned as their summer holiday;  and people in receipt of our courses as a Christmas present.

What a great idea giving a Map Reading and Navigation Course as a Christmas present!
Map Reading and Navigation Course

 Here’s a list of our courses:

Introduction to Map Reading Course

A 1 day course, which will set you up with the basics of using a map and compass over easy open moorland.

A 1 day course, designed for people who have done some walking, which will enable you to use a map and compass to navigate over open moorland.

Night Navigation Course

Night / Poor Visibility Navigation   £15              Trying to find your way when the mist comes down, or it is getting dark can be frightening.  This 3 hour evening course is designed for people who have basic map and compass navigation skills, and want to learn more advanced techniques
Learn the skills needed to navigate in the dark, or in poor visibility.

The 1 day “improvers” navigation course for people who already know the basics of using a map and compass. The course involves a walk of approx. 10.5 miles crossing the centre of Kinder Scout.

Of course you don’t have to have a course as a Christmas present to attend one of our courses.
Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course
Peak Navigation Courses are run in the Peak District by Mike and Jane, both qualified as International Mountain Leaders.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Map Reading and Navigation Courses in The Derbyshire Peak District.

Dark Peak Map and Silva type 4 Compass

Being able to read a map and to navigate gives you the freedom to plan your own routes and give up using books of walks.  Scouring the map finding places of interest then planning your own route is so much more rewarding than following a book! Take for example Bamford Moor in the Peak District, it has two stone circles but no path marked on the map to either of them.  If you know how to read a map you can make a fabulous circuit from Ladybower’s Heatherdene car park and visit them with stunning views over the reservoirs, Win Hill and the Derwent Valley.

Peak Navigation Courses run two introductory level Map Reading and Navigation Courses that will leave you equipped for planning and undertaking such a route:

1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation Course
A Day courses taking you from the very basics of map reading with a mixture of classroom sessions and two walks one through fields and the other over easy moorland.

 A Day course that spends about 1.5 hours in the classroom looking at the basics of map reading before heading out putting navigation skills into practice on terrain a little more demanding than the 1st steps course.

Peak Navigation run a range of more advanced courses too including a Night Navigation course (3 hours) aimed at looking at the slightly different techniques required to navigate in poor visibility.

Both the 1st Steps to Map Reading and the Introduction to Moorland Navigation Courses are based from Foolow in the Peak District National Park.  Mike and Jane who run Peak Navigation Courses are both qualified International Mountain Leaders and Rock Climbing Instructors and have been running navigation courses since 2005.
Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Map Reading and Navigation Course

I’m constantly amazed at the frequency that I’m approached on Kinder Scout by people who are lost and want directions to get back down safely.  I don’t mind this but it usually happens when I’m running a navigation course!

Map Reading Course, Kinder Scout

People book onto our map reading and navigation courses for a variety of reasons, many because they have been “misplaced” and want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  Peak Navigation Courses offer a range of courses from absolute beginner to “master classes” designed to provide handy revision to experts in need of a challenge.

Our basic level course, 1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation covers all the basics, spending about 1.5 hours in the class before heading out for a short walk putting it into practice.  A further session in the classroom over lunch helps us prepare a route card before heading up onto some local moorland to navigate with a compass.

Our Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course, though similar to the 1st steps course, spends less time navigation out of the village and through fields and moor time navigating across open moorland.

Map Reading Course
At the end of both the 1st Steps to Map Reading and Introduction to Moorland Navigation Courses, you will be able to cross short stretches of open moorland using a compass to navigate.  We then send you details of some practice courses we have prepared to go out and try it on your own.

Our “Intermediate” Navigation Course is designed for those who already know how to use a map and compass but introduces the concept of “micro-navigation” and strategies for precision navigation.

Night Navigation Course

Peak Navigation Courses also run Night / Poor Visibility Navigation Courses which introduces some useful strategies to cope with poor visibility when the mist comes down or should you be caught out and be coming off the hill in the dark. This is a 3 hour evening course in the winter months 6.30pm till 9.30pm followed by a debrief (pint) in a local pub!

I really must be more disciplined about taking Peak Navigation Courses business cards out with me.  If you’re from the group asking for directions to get off Kinder yesterday, give me a call!
Navigation "Master Class" Horse Stones, Upper Derwent

Friday, 26 October 2012

Night Navigation

Most of us who have been walking in the hills and mountains have experienced the mist coming down. Also in Britain once the clocks change in the autumn, it seems as if there are fewer daylight hours and it is not uncommon to see people returning from their walk after it is dark.

On Kinder Scout in the mist
Whether you are caught in the mist or end up coming down in the dark, it is useful to have practiced in poor visibility beforehand.

Map reading and navigation in poor visibility, especially off path across open ground requires slightly different techniques and strategies.  It is harder to interpret the “contours” around us and if navigating in a straight line using a compass we need greater precision and strategies using “handrails” and “catching features.” 

In situations like this pacing and timing play a more vital role in telling us where we are. Knowing just how many paces you take to a hundred meters in a variety of terrains is so important.

Peak Navigation Courses - Night Navigation Course 

Peak Navigation Courses run night navigation courses during the winter months aimed at equipping you with the skills and strategies necessary for poor visibility navigation.  Each course runs from 6.30pm to 9.30pm in The Peak District.

The courses are really only suitable for people who already know how to use a map and compass and are confident on rough moorland off path.

Peak Navigation Courses run a range of other courses:

Night Navigation Course with Peak Navigation Courses

a more demanding “Intermediate” navigation course that involves a range of techniques crossing Kinder Scout;

as well as this Night Navigation Course.

With winter coming fast, consider a night out with the experts!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Kinder Scout claims more scalps!

Autumn has arrived early this year as we didn’t seem to have much of a summer. Looking at the mountain rescue call out reports, the Peak District moors have certainly been proving too much for many ill prepared walkers who have ended up having to be rescued.  It’s not just about poor map reading and navigation skills and the over reliance on GPS navigation technology, but also about having the skills, clothing and equipment to deal with the difficult terrain, which has become extremely boggy after the summer rains. 

The Following is an extract from Buxton Mountain Rescue Team call out log:
Buxton Mountain Rescue Team called out as night fell to search Kinder moor for two walkers who were trapped by deep bog without lights or whistle.  Although the casualties, a married couple from Doncaster, had no apparent injuries, they were very cold and disorientated. The night was damp and misty at high level, with some wind. They had set off for a days walk from Edale, up Grindsbrook to Kinder Downfall.  Returning on a GPS bearing, the female became trapped in deep wet bog at 16.30 hrs. After freeing themselves from this, the couple were keen to find a way out off the boggy area – but could not, and became trapped as darkness fell. They had no torch, but did have some food and spare clothing.  They were able to give a grid reference of their location to the police when they dialed 999. This proved accurate, and it was straightforward for rescue team members to locate them. Following a warming up in a box tent, the couple were led via Grindslow Knoll back to Edale, arriving at 23.30. As they were not injured, they were able to drive back home.”

As part of the “Moors for the Future” project, many of the Groughs (drainage channels) that cross the centre of Kinder Scout have been dammed up to prevent soil erosion. The effect of this has been to make an already boggy area into a seriously boggy and even dangerous area, where those with little experience or facing darkness can find themselves in frightening conditions. The situation has been made more serious by the very wet summer that we’ve had this year.

When you join us for a course run by Peak Navigation Courses, we look at the range of skills necessary for safe moorland walking. There are specifically three courses available aimed at enhancing navigation and hill walking skills in moorland and mountain situations.

1.            An Introduction to Moorland Navigation
Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course
A 1 day course, designed for people who have done some walking, which will enable you to use a map and compass to navigate over open moorland.

2.            Intermediate Navigation
The 1 day “improvers” navigation course for people who already know the basics of using a map and compass. The course involves a walk of approx. 10.5 miles crossing the centre of Kinder Scout.            

3.            Night Navigation (for poor visibility conditions).
Night Navigation Course
Trying to find your way when the mist comes down, or it is getting dark can be frightening.  Planning to walk in the dark is great fun if you have the skills to navigate safely.  This 3 hour evening course is designed for people who have basic map and compass navigation skills, and want to learn more advanced techniques.

For those who have become proficient in their navigation, we offer a series of “Navigation Master-classes” throughout the year where we spend the day revising and practicing skills during some exacting navigation challenges.

Peak Navigation Courses are run by qualified International Mountain Leaders who are keen to ensure that people enjoy the hills safely and not become another mountain rescue statistic!
Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course

Monday, 6 August 2012

How to use a Compass

How to use a compass
A compass is a simple and brilliant navigation tool.  At the very least it will have a needle that points north which will allow you to orientate your map and give you a rough indication of which way to walk.  If you have one designed for hill walking, mountaineering and orienteering then you will have "the full monty" and be able to use it for accurate map reading and navigation.  The compass used to illustrate this blog is a Silva type 4 Expedition (not the military version) and is a great all round compass. In this short feature I can't teach you all of the techniques involved in navigation but will show you how to use a compass to navigate across a short stretch of open moorland from a known point (where you are) to another point (where you want to go).

Step 1:
I want to navigate from the Trig Point 590m to Madwoman's Stones.

Step 2:
Lay the edge of the compass across the Trig Point 590m and Madwoman's Stones.
It is important to have the "direction of travel" arrow pointing in the direction you want to travel.

Step 3:

Rotate the dial of the compass (the compass housing) so that the lines inside it become parallel to the grid lines that run up and down the map (not the ones running across the map).

It is important that the "N" on the compass housing points to the top of the map.

Step 4:
Pick the compass up off the map.  There is a line inside the dial of the compass that enables you to read the number of degrees of the "bearing" you have just worked out.  In the example illustrated this is 72 degrees.

Step 5:

Because there is a variation between Magnetic North (where the compass needle points) and Grid North (the grid that the map is drawn to), we have to add 2 degrees to the bearing we have.  On the
example illustrated we adjust the bearing from 72 to 74 degrees.

Step 6:
To walk from the Trig Point to Madwoman's Stones following the compass, we rotate the compass until the north needle (red on the compass shown) lines up with the arrow inside the compass housing.  The direction of travel arrow now points the way to walk.

If you want to learn this and other navigation techniques safely in the company of experts, go the the Peak Navigation Courses website and book your course

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Navigation Courses

Each year, autumn sees an increase in people booking onto our navigation and map reading courses. We like to think that this is in preparation for winter where shorter days and the chance of poor weather can be more of a challenge if someone were to get misplaced in the mountains or on the moors. However the reality is that a significant number of people go out walking over the summer, enjoy it but get a bit lost. It’s this group that provide the majority of our autumn bookings.

Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course
Peak Navigation Courses provide a range of map reading courses and navigation courses from complete beginner to expert standard where people attend to refine or revise their skills. 

Our Introduction courses both start with around 1.5 hours spent in the classroom (Foolow Village Hall) which is then followed by a walk taking in a range of landscapes that includes both open moorland and fields.  Both Introductory courses teach the basics of navigating using a compass, the difference between the two being that one has slightly more challenging walking (involving steeper hills).

Night Navigation

Once the clocks change at the end of October we run night navigation (6.30pm till 10pm) sessions aimed at giving people confidence should they be caught in the mist or down late off the hills in winter. Navigating in the dark or in poor visibility requires a slightly different approach and much more precision by those doing the navigation. This course looks at those skills and strategies required. It goes without saying that the course is finished with a pint!

All of the courses are listed on the Peak Navigation Courses website and can be booked online. If you are uncertain about which course to book, you can always speak to us first.

Friday, 20 July 2012

A Summer of testing navigation!

The only good point about the British “Summer” that we have been experiencing is that it’s been testing the navigation skills of those visiting the moors and mountains. 

With all the low cloud, rain, drizzle and wind, visibility has been poor on more days than not. This is why it’s essential to know how to map read and navigate. Peak Navigation Courses provide a range of navigation training from the complete novice up to the expert wanting practice for undertaking Mountain Leader assessments.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Peak Navigation Courses

Well our Spring season ofMap Reading and Navigation Courses is drawing to a close.  This year we have put on additional courses due to demand and the positive feedback we have received has been great.  It’s been wonderful for us too, as ever making new friends and even learning a thing or two from our students. One of the highlights was discovering the compass that pointed south!

Peak Navigation Courses are now running Hill Skills Courses based in the Peak District looking at a complete range of skills: Mountain Safety, Weather, Equipment, Navigation, GPS Navigation, Scrambling and Ropework.

Photo’s of this years courses are also on the website.  Check them out to see if you are there.  If you have any pictures from your course that we could use, please send them in.

With our other company, Sierra Nevada Guides we are also running Mountain Skills Courses based in Spains Sierra Nevada.  This course builds on the navigation you’ve learnt in the Peak and transposes it to the big mountains. Topics covered include: Mountain Safety, Weather, Equipment, Navigation, GPS Navigation, Altitude, Scrambling, Rock Climbing and Ropework and includes  an ascent of Spain’s highest mountain, Mulhacen 3482m. It might be billed as a course but we ensure that it is a good holiday too!

If you fancy joining us for a Walking Holiday in September, we have places available on all 3 holidays in the Sierra Nevada.

Finally we hope you have a good summer and look forward to you joining us on another course.  Our Autumn Programme of Navigation Courses is now available.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Choosing Trekking / Walking Poles

Choosing Trekking / Walking Poles
As an advocate of poles and professional walking guide I get the chance to lead many people in the hills and mountains of Britain and Europe.  The vast majority of serious walkers are these days already using poles, there is a reason for this:

“A 2010 study by UK-based Northumbria University shows that using trekking poles reduce muscle damage and soreness in the days following a hike. The combined benefits of using trekking poles in reducing load to the lower limbs, increasing stability and reducing muscle damage also helps avoid injury on subsequent days of trekking, according to Dr Glyn Howatson. Trekking poles can also reduce the compressive force on the knees by up to 25%, according to The Journal of Sports Medicine in a 1999 study.”

The advantages of using trekking poles are:
1.            Extra stability  on difficult or loose terrain
If you walk off path or in the mountains where there is scree and steep slopes to negotiate, poles come into their own acting as a 2nd pair of legs.

2.            Take the weight off of knees and ankles
There is no doubt that poles reduce the weight and forces placed onto the legs with every stride. The lessening of the pounding on the knees is significant when poles are used properly.

3.            More power, especially up hill
Making ascents of hills or mountains becomes much easier if you are able add extra push with your arms. I find that without poles I loose traction on steep slopes and often take smaller strides.  With poles you tackle hills quicker and more efficiently, especially if carrying a heavy rucksack.

In this photo, the top pole is an Exped Quad that folds down small,  It has a longer handle and twist locking; 

middle is a standard 3 piece Leki Makalu with twist locking; 

the bottom photo is a Leki Makalu with external locking making it slightly longer when folded down.

Things to consider when choosing poles:
Cheaper poles are likely to be less well made and heavier than those from the “specialist” manufacturers.  I wouldn’t want to favour one make over another but the better brands include: Black Diamond, Leki and Exped. Cheaper poles will in general be heavier, need more care to keep the locking systems working and may not be robust (i.e. tips falling off).

i.            The weight of the poles
Obviously the lighter the poles, the less energy you’ll expend using them or carrying them on your rucksack. Most poles are made from aluminium though some use lighter aluminium or mixtures of carbon and titanium.

ii.            Locking Systems
There are 2 categories, twist lock internal locking or external clamp style locking. Both have their good points, advantages and disadvantages.  The twist locking style is more common. Black Diamond have always made poles with external locking, Leki introduced this into their range in 2010. Exponents of the external locking will cite that the twist locking versions loosen through the day and collapse.  I have also witnessed external locking poles collapsing too. At the end of the day consider if you’ll be out in winter and want to be able to adjust and secure your poles keeping your gloves on and find a pole you can manage to adjust wearing gloves.  It is really personal choice and the other factors listed here may be more important, coupled with cost. (External locking is usually more expensive).

iii.            Handle
Poles come with either a standard handle or an elongated handle. If you are only like to walk on the flat then a standard handle is probably the best (cheapest) option. Walking through gullies or traversing hillsides often requires you to raise an arm or adjust pole length.  Having a longer handle means you can hold the pole lower down so you don’t have to stop and adjust pole length. Definitely a better option for hills and mountains.

iv.            Normal or Anti Shock
Poles can be bought as a rigid unit or with an anti-shock system. His really is personal preference. A good idea would be to borrow poles from friends and form your own opinion before buying.  Most anti-shock systems can be turned off if you don’t get on with it, but remember that anti-shock is an addition to the weight of the pole.  I use my poles for testing the ground (river crossings, depth of snow, etc) so prefer not to use anti-shock.

v.            Fold down size and length of poles
If you are very tall or very short, you can buy poles especially to suit you. If you are short then this will give a weight reduction to your advantage over standard poles adjusted to a small person.

Most poles come with 3 segments, though it is possible to buy poles with 4 segments that fold down smaller (Exped Quad 4 part trekking poles).

Peak Navigation Courses are always happy to advise you about hill walking and mountaineering equipment and how to keep safe in the mountains.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Scrambling in The Peak District

Scrambling in The Peak District
Yes it's official!  With the Publication by Cicerone of a new guide to scrambles in the Peak there is sure to be a surge of interest in scrambling.  We at Peak Navigation Courses and Mountain House have been leading people up various scrambles over the years as part of our navigation courses and guided walks.

Scrambling is great fun and occupies that area between hill walking and rock climbing. At its easiest (grade 1 scrambles) it requires the occasional use of hands to move between boulders or up rock slabs, whilst at its hardest (grade 3 scrambles) are easy rock climbs. The scrambles that we are offering to lead and supervise are all either grade 1 or grade 2 scrambles that do not routinely require the use of a safety rope. That said, our qualified leaders will carry safety equipment in case anyone has trouble or finds themselves lacking in confidence.

These are all day itineraries starting at 10am and aiming to finish around 4.30pm.  Please come equipped wearing walking boots and with waterproofs, warm clothes, packed lunch and enough to drink.

Should the weather not be suitable for safe scrambling then we will offer an alternative itinerary on the day.

All of these days will involve some hill walking getting to and between scrambles, all of which will involve some steep slopes and possibly boggy ground.

Saturday 6th June
Scrambles on the north side of Kinder (Ashop Clough)

Sunday 24th June
Scrambles on the south side of Bleaklow

Sunday 7th July
Big scrambles – Big day out on Kinder Scout

Sunday 4th August
Scrambles on the north side of Bleaklow Pt.1

Sunday 12th August
Scrambles on the north side of Bleaklow Pt.2

Sunday 18th August
Scrambles from Crowden

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hill and Mountain Skills Courses

Hill and Mountain Skills Courses
Peak Navigation are keen to promote hill and mountain safety and enable people to enjoy getting out into the hills safely. Our hill and mountain skills training courses are available both for those new to hill walking and as a "refresher" for the more experienced.
The courses includes:
Mountain Safety, Weather and Equipment; Navigation, using a map and compass, route choice and using a GPS.  This 4 day course is based in The Peak District.  Details can be found on the Peak Navigation Courses website.

The 7 day Mountain Skills course is  based in Spain's Sierra Nevada Mountains and additionally includes scrambling and some rope work. This is both valley based and hut based (1 or 2 nights) including ascents of Mulhacen and Alcazaba. Cost from £550 depending on your choice of accommodation and includes your pick up from malaga Airport and final drop off.  Further details can be found on our website

Sierra Nevada Guides are qualified International Mountain Leaders.  We also run 4 day "Hill skills" training courses in The Peak District. with Peak Navigation Courses.

If you are planning a trip to Spain's Sierra Nevada or Alpujarra check out our website for information and walking itineraries.  Sierra Nevada Guides are always happy for you to contact us and to answer your questions.

Which GPS for Hill Walking?

Choosing a GPS (for Hill Walking)

A friend recently asked me this question as someone involved in organising GPS training courses that can be trusted to give an unbiased view. However, even being objective and unbiased I could only provide an answer within my experience (being confined to Garmin, SatMap and ViewRanger).

The Smart Phone / View Ranger.
I’ve had View Ranger on my Phone and smart phone for 5 years and though I find its functions as good or better than any proper GPS device (easier to use and better functions) I’d never rely on it for when the chips are down. Phones have poor battery life and don’t run View Ranger for more than 8 hours. Phone’s are not usually shock proof, dust proof or water resistant. Great in good conditions.  Keep your phone in tact with the batteries fully charged in case you need to summon help!

GPS Devices.
You need to make a choice: firstly do you want one that has OS mapping installed or one with out? Secondly if you have chosen to opt for one with OS mapping, do you want one that is touch screen or one that you work by pressing buttons?

If you are a competent navigator perhaps you only need a device in your rucksack for emergencies. If this is the case and you only want a grid reference to confirm where you are and the ability to do a “take me to” function then you only need to go for a bottom of the range model.  For this choice I’d go for the new Garmin Etrex10. A fantastic device at entry level and so much better than the EtrexH that it replaced.

If you want a device with OS mapping, you now need to decide whether you want a touch screen model or one that requires you to press buttons to make it work. I can definitely use the whole Garmin range using winter gloves though it takes a bit of getting used to so don’t be put off using a touch screen for this reason.

For me the there is no real difference in what either the Garmin Oregon touch screen can do over the cheaper Etrex 20. At the time of writing the Oregon 450 with full UK OS mapping at 1:50 is retailing on Amazon at £350 whilst the Etrex 20 with the same mapping is around £320.

The Oregon has a bigger screen, 50% bigger than the ETrex.
The Etrex battery life is 25 hours whilst the Oregon is 15 hours.

The Etrex weighs 140 grams whilst the Oregon weighs 190 grams.

The Garmin 62 is a button controlled model with a screen roughly the same size as the Oregon but this is a big clumpy machine (I have one).

The Garmin Montanna is a bigger touch screen model than the Oregon.  Big and Clumpy.

In the non Garmin range, the SatMap 10 has a great reputation though I find the logic difficult to get to grips with after the Garmin. It is also rather big. Jane (of Peak Navigation) uses this by choice. The SatMap has a bigger screen than the Oregon.
                              Etrex 10           Etrex 20           Oregon 450        SatMap10           

Overall Size          5.4 x 10.3 x      5.4 x 10.3 x      5.8 x 11.4 x       7.5 x 13.0 x
                              3.3 cm              3.3 cm             3.5 cm                3.5 cm

Screen Size           3.6 x 4.3 cm     3.5 x 4.4 cm    3.8 x 6.3 cm        5.3 x 7.1 cm

Battery Life           25 hours          25 hours          16 hours          approx 20 hours

With batteries        141.7 g            141.7 g            192.7 g               175 g

OS Mapping            No                   Yes                  Yes                   Yes

Cost  of Unit          £109.99          £179.99            £329.99             £299.00

Cost of full U.K.        N/A            £175.00            £175.00             £200.00
OS Mapping 1:50k

Total Cost               £109.99          £354.99           £404.99             £499.00
These are manufacturers RRP’s you will always find them cheaper online!

 Left to right:  Garmin Etrex 10    Garmin Oregon 450    SatMap Active 10

In the end it’s a matter of personal choice.  Any of these models will do the job. Read the manufacturers specifications, which are available online. Once you have decided whether you want mapping or not, either come on one of our courses to try them out or go to a reputable retailer and try them out.  Don’t be swayed by pushy sales staff expressing an opinion, go for the one that you find easy or straightforward to use.

My Choice                Etrex 10
Jane’s Choice            SatMap

Michael Hunt

Monday, 19 March 2012

Navigation Course - Kinder Scout

Intermediate Navigation, Kinder Scout - 17th March

Eight students with two instructors from Peak Navigation Courses navigated around the centre of Kinder Scout locating many features including 5 aircraft crash sites. The chosen ascent up to the Kinder Scout plateau was via Crowden Brook which gave some entertainment on the final scramble.

Pacing, timing, back bearings and contouring were all skills practiced on the day in addition to map and compass work. Hill skills and keeping safe in the hills are taught in addition to navigation.

Peak Navigation Courses have courses at varying levels from basic through intermediate and onto poor visibility and night time navigation. We also run courses on GPS navigation.

Mike and Jane who run Peak Navigation Courses are qualified International Mountain Leaders and British rock climbing instructors.

Quality Day

A ‘Quality day”

Peak Navigation Courses are running a series of "Quality Days" to enable competent navigators to log up experience (possibly with the aim of progressing towards their Mountain Leader or Walking Group Leader awards). Last Sunday’s Quality Day was a full on 8 hours of exacting navigation off path on Bleaklow one of the peak districts most difficult to navigate areas. In addition to difficult navigation, we also looked at crossing steep ground and a river crossing. On route we passed the site (Photo) in the Upper Alport Valley where 3 scouts perished in a blizzard, poignant.

You don't have to be working towards a qualification to partake in the quality days, it helps if you know how to use a compass and must definitely be up for a full day out in the hills!

If you are planning on visiting and walking in the Peak District,Jane and Mike from Peak Navigation Courses are happy to advise on conditions, route choice, navigation, equipment and hill skills, etc.