Absolute beginner to walking? OS maps are your friend...

Andy_R

Of dubious origin....
Staff member
Location
Durham
I wish I'd had the advice that's available when I first started walking (before the days of t'interwebbymajig).
The Ordnance Survey not only produce what are probably the most comprehensive maps available to the general public anywhere in the world, but they also have a great range of material teaching you how to read them, and how to understand them to allow you to sucessfully navigate with them. Have a look here: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/resources/map-reading/

As far as I'm concerned, navigation and map reading ability should be a prerequisite for anyone heading for the great outdoors.
 

Rocky

Regular
Staff member
Location
On the sofa
Thanks for posting Andy....increasingly OS are boosting their digital presence, however being a little old fashioned, I much prefer the old paper copies of OS maps. I love just sitting at home an retracing favourite walks and planning new ones.
 

Glyder

Regular Member
Location
A peninsula
I've still got all my OS maps, carefully cut out and covered with plastic backing, for the Lakes and Wales, still going strong. I have made concessions for new areas now by using Quo and waterproof printing paper.
 

Spinney

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Location
Under the edge
My main use for digital is to print bits off for sea kayaking - just under A4 size, laminated, fits nicely under the elastic webbing on the foredeck!
Now I just need to actually get the kayaks out - not been on the water for 3 or 4 years.
 

TVC

Active Member
Staff member
Location
Leicester
OS maps are each a work of art in my view, and very rewarding when you know how to use them.

I would definitely recommend anyone starting out on an outdoor life learn map reading and navigation, there are so many books and tutorials available, just go to Amazon or Youtube and search on 'Basic Navigation' then take your pick.

Aiming off, handrailing and contour following will soon be in your grasp and it will give you confidence under the sky.

Besides, you don't go to a National Park to keep looking at your phone :okay:
 

Spinney

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Location
Under the edge
Aiming off, handrailing and contour following will soon be in your grasp and it will give you confidence under the sky.
Direction of slope can be handy too, on some featureless hillside.

But the best one, when I've been trying to teach people to navigate, is to watch the huddle when they're trying to do one of the most difficult bits (finding the right path out of the village at the beginning of the walk), then gently point out the signpost just behind them.
 

Glyder

Regular Member
Location
A peninsula
Direction of slope can be handy too, on some featureless hillside.

But the best one, when I've been trying to teach people to navigate, is to watch the huddle when they're trying to do one of the most difficult bits (finding the right path out of the village at the beginning of the walk), then gently point out the signpost just behind them.
I took great pleasure in doing that to a mate once. He'd just come back from soloing a number of serious routes in the alps and had his nose stuck in the OS map trying to figure out which way to go. I gently tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to the sign he was standing under. He responded by setting a ferocious pace up the damn mtn.
 

Steve

Regular Member
Location
Out and About
Love the paper maps, just started using the app and have been pleasantly surprised at it's usefulness.
 

Spokey Dokey

Regular Member
I'm going to go against the flow here and whilst OS maps are good Harveys Superwalker are way better when it comes to navigating complex mountain terrain imo. They are far clearer and less fussy than OS.

I still use OS at low level but prefer HS at high level.
 

Spinney

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Location
Under the edge
They don't cover the whole country, just selected walking areas. What I like about their Lake District ones is that they do a 1:25000 central one, whereas with the OS maps, there's the odd walk, like the Fairfield Horseshoe, where you need two OS maps.
 
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