Crisp & Dry! (navigating like a well oiled machine)

Earlier today (Monday 10th December) I made the relatively short journey to the South of the Yorkshire Dales to look at some navigation skills with Kat & Jess on a beautifully cold, crisp & dry day.

With a view to running my own courses teaching hill & mountain navigation skills I had mentioned getting out to Kat & Jess but we’d never had mutually convenient dates free, fortunately today when the three of us had the time the weather was also playing ball! Still blue skies, frost on the grass and a thin mist on the ground ❤️

Both Kat & Jess are keen to be able to head out into the hills and follow routes they’ve been able to plan themselves rather than following from a guide book and feel confident on their future adventures so with this in mind we set out look at the skills & techniques they could use.

Beginning by looking at some fundamental navigational skills including – recognising different maps & map scales, using a grid reference, orientating the map, recognising map symbols & using a navigational strategy we then set off alongside the River Wharfe.

Breaking our journey up into smaller ‘legs’ we were able to look at using ‘tick’ & ‘backstop’ features to confirm our path was as planned and we didn’t miss a change of direction.

Arriving at a point on our intended route where we were to join a ‘permissive footpath’ we were given a perfect opportunity to talk about land access and where we are allowed to walk. We were also able to discuss why a ‘permissive footpath’ to ‘open access’ land would have a ‘No Dogs’ policy to ‘protect wildlife’ whilst the area the path would take us to had ‘Grouse Butts’ to cater for shooting….🤔

Our detour from our intended route (as we had Kali the Adventure Dog with us) was of no great consequence as we able to make a new plan with Kat & Jess picking up on landscape features and tick points in no time.

We began to use timings, pacing and looked at contour interpretation and how understanding and using any or all of these skills and techniques can open the upland environments for countless journeys and adventures.

Despite having a bit of a shorter day than I would have liked (due to my work commitments 😭) we were also able to look at using the compass as a way of confirming our direction of travel and begin breaking down the myth of the compass being an instrument of mystery used by Jedi!

Summary – all in all a top day! It’s always good to be introducing new skills & techniques delivering them to people as eager to learn as Jess & Kat were. Hopefully they will now have the confidence to get out into previously unexplored areas and be able to use their new skills before we move onto the next stage of their navigational learning.

*Big up to ‘Kali the Adventure Dog’ for her impeccable behaviour.

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