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!