Showing posts from 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
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 w…

Map Reading and Navigation Courses make great Christmas Presents!

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!
Here’s a list of our courses:

First Steps to Map Reading and Navigation£40 A 1 day course, which will set you up with the basics of using a map and compass over easy open moorland.

An Introduction to Moorland Navigation£40 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 / Poor Visibility Navigation   £15           Trying to find your way when the mist come…

Map Reading and Navigation Courses in The Derbyshire Peak District.

Map Reading and Navigation Courses in The Derbyshire Peak District.

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 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.

An Introduction t…

Map Reading and Navigation Course

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!

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 …

Night Navigation

Night Navigation and Poor Visibility Navigation Course
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.
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 …

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 Do…

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.
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 o…

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.
Peak Navigation Courses Autumn Programme is now available.

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 cov…

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 the…

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? 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.  Ple…

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 Internati…

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 …

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.

Navigation Course

Introduction to Navigation Course 10th March

10 students from far and wide attended last weekend’s Introduction to Navigation Course with Peak Navigation Courses. The first hour and a half was spent in the classroom learning the basics about maps, contour lines, grid references and how to use a compass before setting out on a five hour walk to put it all into practice. It’s so good seeing the smiles on people faces when they find themselves “spot on” using the compass and pacing to hidden sheep folds and stone circles. Well done everyone!
Jane and Mike from Peak Navigation Courses are always happy to answer your questions about navigation, hill skills and equipment, even if you don't book a course with us!

Learn Navigation

Peak Navigation Courses have been the first step for many people who come to us, learn navigation and hill skills, then go on and become qualified Mountain Leaders. We have recently come across this good article about someone attending a Mountain Leader training course

Both Jane and Mike from Peak Navigation Courses are fully qualified International Mountain Leaders and British rock climbing instructors. There is a profile of Jane and Mike on the Website.

Jane and Mike are always happy to answer your questions about navigation and hill skills. You could always book onto one of our courses!

Which Compass?

We have never stipulated which type of compass to bring along on one of our skills courses.  However recently a number of people have turned up with inappropriate compasses or even compasses that don’t work!
Compasses without “orienting” lines in the middle compass housing make taking a bearing difficult or impossible.  We have even come across an imitation of a Silva type 4 (without a brand name) that pointed south instead of north!
Compasses from reputable brands (Silva, Sunto, Recta, etc.) should do the job but for learning purposes a decent length of base plate and a range of measuring scales is helpful.
The compass that we would choose is the Silva Expedition 4 (but make sure it’s not the military model). Shopping around (Amazon) you can get one for less than £20 and unless you are like me and shut one in the car door they will last many years!
Peak Navigation Courses run navigation classes at all levels throughout the year based in the Peak District National Park.  Even if you d…