Helvellyn navigation course
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As the nights draw in, knowing you can navigate well is increasingly important, reducing the chances of having to spend a cold night out with your head torch!

Last week, Andy and Amanda had booked themselves a day out to improve their navigation skills, and what a day to pick; the sun was out in full glory, maybe even a bit too hot! Having established what Andy and Amanda already knew, we started off learning a few more map symbols/features and the discussing the differences between 1:25000 and 1:50000 scale maps, before moving onto the very-useful but often-forgot technique of orientating the map. During the course of the day, we talked about route planning, with elements such as how to measure distances with the compass, estimate timings, pace out distances and interpret the terrain from contours on the map (this in particular can be quite tricky at first and just takes a lot of practice, but one good way to get your head around it is to build a cardboard model like shown here, maybe if you have enough time!). We also went through taking precise bearings and how to walk on them effectively, an extremely useful skills for many different scenarios that you could find yourself in. During the course of the day these skills were constantly implemented to accurately relocate ourselves (that is, figuring out where on the map we were using the features around us on the ground).

We had great fun scrambling on Striding and Swirral edge, and talked about many other considerations, such as mountain weather forecasts and how they might affect route choices, planning escape routes, gear choice, and Scottish winter conditions

What an enjoyable day!

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