Today I was down in the incomparable surroundings of Royal Deeside with new client Simone. Stimulated by an upcoming move to the Pyrenees, Simone wanted to learn to navigate "properly", and not just have to rely on mobile phones and similar technology. Very wise! Navigation teaching has changed a lot in the mountaineering world over the last few years. The "modern" approach is to make use of large-scale (in our case 1: 7,500) orienteering maps to help maximise learning in the early stages. This is certainly the method that the NNAS awards (of which I am a provider) advocate. With this in mind, we spent the morning at the new Permanent Orienteering Course at the Linn of Dee, completing 20 navigation legs of increasing difficulty by lunchtime! We covered setting the map, the 3 Ds (Direction, Distance, Description), estimating how far you have travelled using pacing/timing, handrails, catching features, as well as using "quick" bearings to ensure you're on the right path. Towards the end of the morning Simone, who hadn't used a compass before, was managing to navigate across open country using a "quick" compass bearing. After lunch we put these skills into practise with a journey using the more usual (for hillwalking) map scale of 1:25,000, moving around the complicated topography of the slopes and birkwoods of Morrone above Braemar.
A really enjoyable day out, and Simone worked very hard to make brilliant progress.
|Get the right tools for the job|
|Handrailing the fence line|
|The hills are full of crowberries just now|
|Heading out across open country to hit another linear feature|