With the Pennine Way in mind I knew that I would need to re-establish my atrophied navigation skills so I decided to book onto a Navigation Course and came across Peak Navigation courses in Foolow village.
It is run by Michael and Jane Livingstone who met through their love of the outdoors and eventually went on to be Mountain leaders and instructors, you can view their courses and bio here:
Peak Navigation Courses
I had read parking was limited in Foolow so I arrived early and parked by the village green a lovely little pond with ducks and wildlife and was quickly joined by another couple who had come to do the day one which is equivalent to a Bronze NNAS.
Mike and Jane were early which was a good sign and we settled in for the others to arrive, there was about 11 of us on the first day. We briefly introduced ourselves and got started on the syllabus covering bearings, map scales etc..
It wasn't long before we were taken outside to do a brief exercise on the importance of orienting a map which was enternaining and showed how hard it is to navigate if the map isn't the right way, you may think commonsense but go on the course and you will see!
|Susanna & Mike coming back after our first navigation exercise.|
|the narrow path from the village green at the start of the |
first navigation challenge.
One thing to note this isn't a get talked at all day or watch the instructor without getting a chance to do it type of course, this was a show you now you do it course. Being an ex instructor I could see clearly the time they took to ensure everyone knew what was happening and was sure of the information before moving on. They showed patience and support throughout on that alone I would recommend them.
|Foolow cross on the village green, you need to park here|
|some of the group sitting round after and exercise, that's my size 10's in the foreground|
|A session in the classroom, always friendly and informal, the lessons|
are obviously planned to impart the information at a rate that's easy to
take on board.
|rather than drive home and back again I booked into Air B&B with my|
host Phill who lives in a beautiful village called bakewell
he invited me out for dinner and gave me a brief tour
of the village.
|We crossed over a river full of Trout....mmmm|
|Alas i am in the process of getting back in shape so only soup for me...|
|Mike tucking into a Pizza|
|Bridge covered in locks over the river that runs through bakewell|
|A lovely village seat on the route to foolow|
|some of the wildlife hanging around by the mill run.|
I spent a lovely evening with Phill we talked mainly on life and philosophy and mike showed me the Tin Amps he makes and sells online, it was light and just the right size for my mp3 player when i am touring so I bought one, it would make an amazing present.
Follow this to the Tin Amps website all made by Phill
I did some brief revision, before bed to consolidate some of the new things I had learned. Phil and I discussed what time I would be off in the morning, I wanted to leave early and happily it turns out Mike is out by 5:50 am every morning for meditation with John Butler we chatted a little about that before heading off to sleep:
John Butler from farmer to enlightenment
|A misty morning on day two|
I arrived early in Foolow as I had planned to solo navigate the route we had completed the day before which I did to make sure the lessons had embedded themselves.
|The village green|
|The start of your first navigation challenge - or as I liked to think of it:|
HOW THE HECK DO I ACTUALLY GET OUT OF THE VILLAGE!
at 10 am day two began in ernest and we all headed out in Mike's car to walk a challenging route with contours aplenty and features to recognise and follow.
|Navigating over the sausage - you will know what that means when you go on the walk.|
|Looking a little red in the glorius sun, thank heavens for factor 50!|
|One of our goals was to navigate to a cairn, nearby was this stone which|
we were told was Neolithic artwork.
Don't worry about experience - you go to courses to learn, our class was a mixed bag of ages, experience etc.. so don't worry about no experiece that's what the course is there for: TO TEACH US!
During day two you are constantly assessed on your ability to put into practice what you have been taught. We worked as a team, and in two's. The day seemed to go so quickly and before I knew it the course was over and I was heading back home.
One of the most useful things I learned on the course was pacing, something I have decided to become skillfull at. I have ordered a 100m tape measure and will be using that in all terrains to get my pacing right as i believe next to the map and compass it is the single most important skill in getting you to where you want to go, especially in featureless terrain and poor visibility.
Another thing that became very clear to me was the value of working with others to both check your own bearings and to assist in pacing and walking to objects not visibile along the route.
I enjoyed the course so much I have decided to do the Gold NNAS in November.
For anyone thinking of doing a Navigation course I can wholeheartedly recommend Mike & Jane. Some on the course were worried about their ability, which I can tell you is groundless. Mike & Jane assume nothing and guide you from start to finish in all aspects.
I had only one little surprise in that they cover Declination but don't acutually use it in the UK whereas I always have and will probably continue to do so.