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Thread: Navigation

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    Hello, although I have a lot of experience of living in the mountains, I did not need to develop my navigation skills because I knew the area well.

    I am looking at the MLS award, however, obviously I need to improve my navigation. Does anybody have any pointers on improving important skill? I have enquired about the NNAS but would like to develop my knowledge before I start.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch
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    Wildman:

    There are several ways of improving your navigational skills including

    Books
    Classes run by organizations such as the Ramblers and outdoor centres
    Orienteering clubs

    To become an all-round competent navigator you need to be aware that navigation in lowland countryside is often more difficult than route-finding in fair weather in upland areas.

    Books that cover navigation in both upland and lowland areas in the UK:
    Hawkins, Pete, Map and Compass; the Art of Navigation, Cicerone Press.
    Keay, Wally, Land Navigation, Routefinding with Map & Compass, Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
    Tippett, Julian, Navigation for Walkers, Cordee.
    Wilson, John G,. Follow the Map; the Ordnance Survey Guide, A.C.Black/Ordnance Survey.

    Books that only cover navigation in upland areas in the UK:
    Cliff, Peter, Mountain Navigation, published by the author at the Ardenbeg Outdoor Centre, Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire PH26 3LD.
    Langmuir, Eric, Mountaincraft and Leadership, Mountain Leader Training Board.
    Long, Stephen, Hillwalking; the Official Handbook of the Mountain Leader and Walking Group Leader Schemes, published by the Mountain Leader Training UK.
    Walker, Kevin, Mountain Navigation Techniques, Constable.

    In a class of its own is
    Brotherton, Lyle, The Ultimate Navigation Manual, Collins.
    The author is an acknowledged world expert on navigation and the book covers techniques required in almost every kind of terrain including jungles, deserts and the arctic, but it does not cover lowland navigation in the UK. Also, he was badly let down by his publisher and has published a list of corrections at http://micronavigation.com/forum/htt...action=search2

    Hugh

  3. #3
    Initiate padstowe's Avatar
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    As Hugh has said, or you could do your mountain skills. You have to have passed the MS to be able to go on to the ML training, so it may be worth while to do the MS training if you aren't that sure on what you are doing. Costs more than books though!

  4. #4
    Mini Goon
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    Thanks again for the replies. I've had my eye on the Peter Cliff book.

    In terms of kit, is all I need a map, map holder and compass? Are they fairly standard?

    Padstowe, what do you mean by MS? Is it a qualification?

    Cheers.

  5. #5
    ‹bermensch
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    Wild_man:

    Basic navigation equipment for walkers is a map, preferably an Ordnance Survey Explorer which has a scale of 1:25,000 (4 cm to the kilometre or approx 2.5 inches to the mile), and a baseplate compass (also known as an orientering or a Silva-type compass).
    There are many kinds of compasses so before you rush out and buy one, I urge you to read at least one of the books I suggested in my previous post so that you have some idea of what you need.

    Many years ago, the Ramblers Association published Navigation and Leadership; a Manual for Walkers which is still one of the best elementary guides to the subject. It has been updated and revised and can be downloaded free from here.

    Hugh


  6. #6
    ‹bermensch
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    A silva 4 compass is all you will need but Cotswold price is OTT.

    Ortlieb map cases are recommended.

    Maps vary depending on which area they cover !. Suggest 1:25,000 ones.

    Also will need lots of practice. As Hugh says , lowland areas are far better for that purpose (forests, moorland).

    Lots of YOUTUBE entries such as silva training as well as books.

    I've never heard of MS nor have I heard of MLS. I am aware of ML(S) though.

  7. #7
    Initiate Lorraine's Avatar
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    What I don't understand is why you don't go and do the NNAS Bronze Award. Why do you need to developyour knowledge before you start doing the NNAS? The training for the NNAS Bronze Award willgive you that knowledge.That's the whole purpose of the course.

    Bronze NNAS Award ‚?? The Learning Outcomes[*]Understand the nature of a map as a two dimensional plan.[*]Understand how to use map symbols and scales, on a variety of maps.[*]Take a 6 figure grid reference for any given position and also locate such a reference on the map.[*]Orientate the map with and without a compass.[*]Use the orientated map to identify land features and indicate direction of travel.[*]Choose simple navigation strategies and routes.[*]Use linear features (e.g. paths and tracks) as handrails in simple navigation exercises.[*]Estimate distance on both map and ground.[*]Using a basic understanding of contours, match major landforms like hills and valleys to their map representation.[*]Plan a safe, suitable walk.[*]Relocate using simple techniques on paths and other handrails.[*]Understand access rights and responsibilities.[*]Demonstrate an awareness of local and national access issues and access legislation.[*]Demonstrate knowledge of the Countryside Code, and of procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency.[/list]

    I don't know whereabouts you live, but if it's anywhere near the Lake District, then perhaps you should think about going on one of the Map and Compass days that the LDNPA put on. The cost is £8 for a 6 1/2 hour course and it will teach you all of the above skills. See link below for details:

    Clicky here

  8. #8
    ‹bermensch
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    That's helpful and good advice Lorraine.

    However, I suspect that the OP (original poster) may, like me, struggle with abbreviations, initials and acronyms so here is a translation:

    NNAS National Navigation Award Scheme (I had to look it up)
    LDNPA Lake District National Park (what is the significance of the final letter?)

    I neither recognize nor have been able to trace MS mentioned by Padstowe.

    Hugh

  9. #9
    Initiate Lorraine's Avatar
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    Hugh - the "A" in LDNPA stands for Authority.

    The Lake District National Park Authority is a local government organisation which is set up to look after the whole of the National Park, including Planning.

  10. #10
    ‹bermensch
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    Thank you, Lorraine.

    Hugh

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    I don't know about Padstowe's MS either! You don't need to have any prior quals to do the ML training, just a load of QMDs (Quality Mountain Days, not WMDs).

    It is sensible to get your nav up to scratch before doing the ML training though - you'll get more out of the course. I took the route Lorraine's suggesting, doing the Bronze NNAS and then the Silver training, but not bothering with the assessment for that, and I'd also done Iain Gallagher's OM winter nav course.

  12. #12
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    No one seems to have mentioned it yet - do what most people do. Pick it up at your own pace -just like any everyday real life skill?

    Initially, go out walking regularly with someone who can navigate and is prepared to show you how, and help you get on with it. (Friend or local walking group or OM meet)

    If you are not confident alone, maybe spend time at home with maps of areas you know , then go out and relate them to the lay of the land and practice your compass skills (don't just rely on your 'local knowledge'). Then move on to unknown places....

    (I taught myself a lot of map interpretation and basic compass skills at home and in my local countryside before I ever went walking in open hills - I wasn't in a position to go, being only 11 yrs old and knowing noone who went walking - until secondary school)

    In my experience, some people (for various reasons) do not find it easy, to either put themselves in a formal training situation just like that - or even if they can, pick things up in one or 2 days - either from a book or a course.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    I used to map read in the car, aged about 7, I think. I learned the techniques that I now know are called 'thumbing' and 'collecting features'. Thumbing being the same technique as used when you're learning to read; keep track of where you are on the page with your finger... 'Collecting features' being looking at the map and seeing what should be coming up next, and checking that it does...

    I'm not sure how much tuition my DofE groups had had in map-reading (it seemed like almost no in-field practice), but, after the first morning, they had picked up enough of the basics that they didn't get too lost. The biggest problem in the first morning was generally excited chattering, rather than concentrating on the navigation task...

    The list of topics Lorraine posted looks good, and you can follow it yourself; look at the map, look at the symbol page, and understand what they all mean. Then try to follow (on the map), a route you know well; it might simply be from you home to town. Starting with somewhere you know means that you should already have a good idea of what the real world looks like, and then you're learning how this is represented on the map.

    The OS have some useful teaching resources, too, even if they are aimed at children.

    There are some better articles that are archived.

    Here's another map reding booklet.

    There used to be an andvanced booklet:

    http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/mapshop/pdf/adv_map_reading.pdf

    But this seems to have vanished. Google for the filename might bring up hits.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > There used to be an andvanced booklet:

    It's vanished because the beginners' and advanced guides have been merged into the single map reading booklet. I think it's well-written, and is a good primer for map reading and navigation, especially as it's free.

  15. #15
    Mini Goon
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    Thanks again for the replies. Lots of useful information that I will have to start reading...

  16. #16
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    Oh, the acronyms. It's so hard to understand...

    NNAS

    LDNPA

    Google is your friend. In these cases, it's very friendly, with the first hits being exactly what you're looking for. A different kind of navigation, I suppose...

  17. #17
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    Hi Wild Man,

    The ML training course will go over all of the navigation skills you need and show you the required standard. You do not need to go on other courses first.

    However you will need the required number of "quality" days out in the hills before signing up to ML training.

    Once you are registered with Mountain Leader Training (a step before signing up for a ML training course) you can join the Mountain Training Association. You'll then be able to post on their forums and find people to go out and practice with.

  18. #18
    Mini Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain paranoia View Post

    Oh, the acronyms. It's so hard to understand...

    NNAS

    LDNPA

    Google is your friend. In these cases, it's very friendly, with the first hits being exactly what you're looking for. A different kind of navigation, I suppose...
    Great. Why didn't I think of that... now I know all about multiple sclerosis

  19. #19
    Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metric Kate View Post

    I don't know about Padstowe's MS either! You don't need to have any prior quals to do the ML training, just a load of QMDs (Quality Mountain Days, not WMDs).
    Hmm, that confused me as well. Mountain skills, perhaps? Either way, as Kate said, you don't need to do anything before the Mountain Leader qualification.

  20. #20
    Initiate padstowe's Avatar
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    Sorry been away up the mournes for awhile. MS meaning mountain skills, Not sure about the uk but in ireland you need to have your mountain skills cert to be able to do the training for ML(S) instead of MLS as i put it,as pedro was kind enough to point out.

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