Simple Navigating Tips

TVC

Active Member
Staff member
Location
Leicester
Maps, compasses, GPS, we can grasp the big navigation tools, but what about the little tips and tricks that make walking work?

To start, when walking up a route that I'm going to walk back down again I regularly turn round and look at where I've come from. This is particularly useful where paths cross, meet and diverge or when cresting a peak. It makes the return journey easier because there is less checking the map and I have more confidence in where I am going.
 

Andy_R

Of dubious origin....
Staff member
Location
Durham
"Pacing" - my average pace is 64 paces per 100m (by pace, I mean each time my left foot hits the ground) and ranger beads.
 

Rocky

Regular
Staff member
Location
On the sofa
I’ve got a good sense of direction so can usually work out where I should be going. I always like to know which way is north. I’m always on the lookout for landmarks. Having said that I can remember being on the top of Ingleborough in thick cloud and having no idea which way to find the path down to Horton. Good job I had a map and compass!!
 

Spinney

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Location
Under the edge
When on the top of Ingleborough (or any other mountain) in cloud, trust your compass, not your instincts.

I forget where it was, but we'd walked into cloud for only the last bit of an ascent. Sat and had our sarnies. When I got up I was convinced I had to go thataway. My compass said it was the other way.

I followed the compass. When we descended out of the cloud, it was obvious the compass was correct. Perhaps I turned around before sitting down for lunch or something, but my urge to follow the way I thought it was was very strong!
 

Spinney

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Location
Under the edge
How does the pace count vary over different terrain?
What I do on steep or rough bits, is count three footsteps as '1' instead of the normal two, it seems to work out reasonably well.

(i.e. a normal double-pace is counting 1 each time your left foot hits the ground, which is two steps in my description above).
 

Spinney

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Location
Under the edge
Keep your eyes open, and mentally note landmarks you pass - bridges, going through gates, etc.

On an informal training walk, I stopped the group on a path and asked them to point out where we were on the map. They all knew we were on path X (along the side of Langdale, from memory), but all had difficulty pinpointing our exact location.

About 20 yards earlier we'd crossed a substantial footbridge over a substantial stream! :headshake:

Even in good visibility, it pays to keep your eyes open. On the kind of day where the cloud might come in at any time, it helps enormously to know roughly where you were when you lost the view!
 
I’ve got a good sense of direction so can usually work out where I should be going. I always like to know which way is north. I’m always on the lookout for landmarks. Having said that I can remember being on the top of Ingleborough in thick cloud and having no idea which way to find the path down to Horton. Good job I had a map and compass!!
I have a dreadful sense of direction, I could get lost in my own back garden :laugh:
 

Hill Wimp

Regular Member
I tend to have a good sense of direction but I automatically mentally log landmarks, even odd shaped trees or rocks.
 
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