Today i were joined David who was looking to refresh his navigation skills before he attempts the national three peaks challenge with a group of friends in July. To scale the highest mountain in Scotland Ben Nevis (1344m), the highest mountain in England Scafell Pike (978m) and the highest mountain in Wales Snowdon (1085m) is a large undertaking. The preparation as the leader of the group requires planning and consideration.
Glorious sunshine and blue skies greeted us in the Peak District this morning. This is not an ideal day for recapping on navigation skills but i will throw in a few more obstacles for David to deal with.
From the off i could tell that David had a good basic knowledge of navigation. We covered tasks such as setting the map, map to ground and ground to map observations, basic pacing/timing and ticking off features as we pass them. We spoke about the limitations of Ordinance Survey maps, how they are produced and how they are accurate in use. We compared the Ordinance Survey maps to the new kids on the block, the Harvey Ultramap. We spoke about the different target audience of each map type and differences in scale.
By using the contours of the map alone we could paint a picture of what to expect on our journey from point A to point B before even taking a step forward. Understanding the map symbols, ticking off features as you walk and placing a catching feature in your journey will make your day out more comfortable, enjoyable and ultimately safer. This is your tool box of skills.
We spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of GPS navigation devices in mountain terrain. A topic for debate that goes on and on and on.
After taking a few grid reference readings and applying them to a map we looked at other relocation techniques available to us.
After demonstrating and then walking David through compass bearings it was time to throw him in at the deep end. David managed the situation well with clarity showing that he had been listening to me.
We noticed that the Moors for the Future project were expanding into this area of the dark Peak District as the helicopter was seen flying above us as we walked on a bearing back down into the valley.
I wish you all the best for your national three peaks challenge David. Keep honing those navigation skills. Practice makes permanent.
Here is a photograph David took and sent me of the group practicing to take on the National three peaks challenge in less than perfect weather. How the weather changes in the mountains. Sunburnt one week, soggy the next.