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Why do I Need a Map Reading and Navigation Course when I have my mobile phone?

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In the last few days, I have watched 2 couples out for walks in the Peak District struggling to follow a route using a mobile phone.
The first was on a fairly isolated bit of moorland; the weather was not the best, and we had just finished talking with our 4 clients about safety and using a compass on the moor where people have got lost in bad weather. The couple concerned spent a good 10 minutes looking at their phone, trying to work out where they were and then wanted to get to. As we returned to our cars, we met them again on the road - they had presumably walked to the far side of the moor, then joined the road for a mile or so. They could have had a lovely off-path walk round the moor, much nicer than the road, had they had the skills to work this out for the map.
Today I met another couple in our village, looking for a footpath. They asked a neighbour where to go, but a few minutes later had hardly moved and still looking perplexed so I gave them further directions and suggested t…

Using a Compass for Map Reading and Navigation

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Using a Compass for Map Reading and Navigation
It’s a commonly held misconception that a compass is only useful for navigating across open moorland, mountain terrain or in the mist.Additionally many people carry a compass but do not know how to use it!

We have been living and working in the Peak District for many years teaching Map Reading and Navigation. Frequently we watch people park up un the village green opposite our house get togged up for a walk and set off, only to see them coming back 5 or 10 minutes later as they had initially set off in the wrong direction. This is especially true of young people on their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions.





Using a compass to “orientate” your map before setting off helps you to then recognise where features are on the ground (preferably using a 1:25k scale map) and therefore which way to leave the car park or village. With a quick measurement using the scale ruler on your compass, you can gauge how far the footpath is from where you are an…

Choosing a compass to get the best out of your Peak Navigation Course

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At Peak Navigation Courses, we pride ourselves in our compass navigation, getting a real thrill out of sharing map and compass navigation techniques with others

Whether you are a complete beginner or joining one of our advanced navigation courses where we use the compass to cross Kinder Scout, choosing the best compass for you can be a real minefield. Go to one of the outdoor or online shops and you will find a sometimes bewildering array of different compasses, so which is best, and how do you choose?

If you are a new hill walker, or never used a compass before, a cheaper model is often appealing.  You can pick a compass up from an online shop for a couple of pounds, but is it worth it?



As a starter compass, this may seem appealing, it is light, easy to carry and will point north. However the plastic base is very short, and lacks an arrow to show which direction you should walk - not one we would recommend.
The Vango DLX is a reasonable quality compass, with a good sized plastic base…

How to use a Compass

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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 &q…

AZ Adventures 1:25000 scale maps for walkers

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Only a few minutes before the start of our last First Steps to Map Reading course, Mike walked into the training room with a small package. "You might like this" he said, passing it over to me. On opening I discovered 2 AZ Adventures booklets of 1:25000 Peak District mapping, together with case and lanyard.
Thanks to the wonders of social media, I had been offered these to review.  During this particular course, I talk about the various mapping options available to walkers, and had often mentioned the AZ maps, but never actually bought one.  I included them in the list that morning, and the group of relatively experienced walkers were quite impressed, and I have to say so were we.

So what makes AZ Adventures different?  The most obvious is that in keeping with AZ a pedigree, these are uniquely in a book or atlas format, which means no wrangling with large cumbersome maps, a wonderful bonus when it is blowing a gale out in the hill. This does mean you have to flick over the …
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Montemlife Ultralight trekking poles


“We have a set of trekking poles for you” the email stated.  Would you like to review them?


Well, we use poles a lot, both in the Derbyshire Peak District and the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain.  We bought our first Leki poles in the Alps 18 years ago after watching the French guides on long descents.  We have never looked back, though have tried out a few other models.


We still have those original Leki’s, though now relegated to stand-by duties.  Mike had 2 pairs of Quads, which folded down nice and small, but tended to lock in hot weather.  I bought another set of Leki poles with external locks, which I still use in the UK, but are a bit heavy and tend to collapse when wet.  Up till now, my favourite have been Black Diamond Trail; so how do the Montemlife compare?






Out of the box, the Ultralight poles felt just that; very light and well made.  Weighing 15.2oz (431 grams) just a little less than the BD Trail, they have a nice long foam ribbed han…

Choosing a Navigation Course

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Peak Navigation Courses, Which is the Right Course ForMe?
At Peak Navigation Courses we want you to have the best learning experience and select the right course so that you get the greatest benefit. Hopefully this Blog will answer your questions.  We run a range of stand alone courses in both traditional (map and compass) navigation and some 1:1 training to get you started with your GPS.
Additionally, our Introductory Course (1st Steps to Map Reading & Navigation) can be combined with our Intermediate Course (Moving onto Moorland) to become the Silver National Navigation Award.

Intoductory Course - 1st Steps to Map Reading & Navigation
Prior Experience.None required.
Classroom based with 2 short walks of 1.5 hours and 2 hours.
Terrain encountered. Paths, fields and some rough pasture on easy moorland.
On this course you will learn about: Maps, suitable maps for walkers, different scales of maps, what the maps tell us about the ground, how to use a map for navigation.
How to make a rout…