Starting with orientating the map so it matches the landscape and slowly adding to this all through the weekend, but always reinforcing its importance.
From the village of Torver we progressed south towards Beacon Fell and Beacon Tarn, using a network of small footpaths for some of the journey. We also used the map to identify where we could find shelter from the wind. During the afternoon we headed off-piste in search of smaller features including ring contours, re-entrants, small tarns, sheepfolds and cairns. After a damp start the weather settled and remained good for the rest of the day.
Some route planning 'homework' had been given and Sunday morning started with a discussion about the route for that day. Starting out from Elterwater a good and varied route had been chosen, taking in some terrain new to me too which was really nice. More off path terrain was covered and we ticked the summits of Lang How and Silver How. Some refining of skills covered before setting a course back into Elterwater and arriving back at base just as the rain started. Result :-)
More and more of us are now using digital technology to navigate in the mountains. I'll admit to doing so too. Most of the time it works, is convenient, easy and very quick. In short, it makes sense.
However, using it one thing, relying on it is something else entirely and not to be recommended.
Learning even the basics of map reading can enhance your experiences in the mountains, will certainly lead to more satisfying days out, and helps with route planning. If the batteries on your GPS device run flat, the ability to use a map and compass effectively become essential skills for a continued safe day out.
We can teach you how to navigate in the mountains, here's more about our Navigation courses - please get in touch if you'd like to discuss further.
Thanks for reading