Navigation and Safety in the Hills

Navigation and Safety in the Hills

On my guided hikes I frequently meet people who love walking the fells but don’t feel confident enough to strike out on their own. I often find myself recommending a beginner’s navigation course but the feedback can be mixed. There is more to feeling confident and safe in the mountains than being able to read a map and compass- being well prepared, knowing what to pack and how to use it, placing one’s feet well on rough ground, coping with changeable weather and knowing what to do in an emergency. We have all got lost, or cold, or tired in the mountains- maybe all three and a good day has been spoiled.

I have therefore designed a day which I have called “Navigation and Safety in the Hills” which looks at the whole experience not just navigation. Everyone is different and this sort of day works best with individuals or a small group of friends- that way I can tailor the content to match whatever it is that you find most daunting. It will be a full and fun day in the hills with plenty of time for practice and discussion and some scenario working.

We can of course focus the whole day on navigation if you wish or arrange a two day course to consolidate the learning in day one- do more steep ground work etc. The time is yours…
The location will be anywhere that suits you and maybe we can explore somewhere you haven’t yet been?

As a by-the-way I thought you might enjoy this account by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who got himself “crag fast” descending the notorious Broad Stand between Scafell and Scafell Pike:

I determined to go thither… the first place I came to, that was not direct Rock, I slipped down, & went on for a while with tolerable ease—but now I came (it was midway down) to a smooth perpendicular Rock about 7 feet high—this was nothing—I put my hands on the Ledge, & dropped down / in a few yards came just such another / I dropped that too / and yet another, seemed not higher—I would not stand for a trifle / so I dropped that too / but the stretching of the muscle[s] of my hands & arms, & the jolt of the Fall on my Feet, put my whole Limbs in a Tremble, and I paused, & looking down, saw that I had little else to encounter but a succession of these little Precipices… So I began to suspect that I ought not to go on / but then unfortunately tho’ I could with ease drop down a smooth Rock 7 feet high, I could not climb it / so go on I must

“So go on I must”…but let’s be safe!

This is what one client said after her day:

“Just wanted to send you a note to say thank you again for the great day out on Crinkle Crags. I’ve been looking at that skyline and wishing I could explore it since I first started coming to the Lake District. Now, not only have I been up there (amazing!), I have more confidence and some skills that will help me make that round and navigate others on my own.
I really appreciated your patient guidance on matching the map to the observable features, and using the compass and step counts to figure out where I was and where I wanted to get to. You increased my independence by encouraging me to “go and take a look” and suggest the way myself instead of just telling me where to go. I also enjoyed the wide-ranging conversation and the knowledge of the area that you shared along the way. You’re an engaging and interesting guide and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to lead a mountain walk and/or to provide expert navigation instruction.”

Click here for prices and information.