Navigation Skills

Navigation is a fundamental skill if you’re heading out in the hills. Knowing how to read a map and relate it to the ground will help you find your way. Equally important is learning how to use a compass and take a bearing. When these skills are combined and followed with practice you will be able to find you way safely. This is partcularly useful when the cloud comes down as it so often does in the hills!

Mountaineering Scotland have got excellent online resources covering navigation and other skills. They also have a Sofa 2 Summit online course that will help you work out what you know already.

My navigation skills courses are built specifically to suit your needs and previous experience. If you’re looking to learn the basics because you are just starting out we can focus on that. However, if you are looking to do a navigation refresher and sharpen up you skills I can certainly help you too. We can even climb a hill while we are doing this since that is what it’s all about. Generally the whole course will be done outside opn the hill if possible. I would look to cover the following skills depending on you needs.

  • map reading and identifying terrain
  • how to use a compass and take a bearing
  • pacing and timing
  • route planning
  • night navigation

Winter Navigation

In winter conditions navigation becomes much more challenging due to limited visibility and snow covered terrain. With snow obscuring paths or cairns and buried streams then timing and dead reckoning become very important. This makes a winter hill walk physically more demanding and requires us to use some extra strategies to deal with it. If you’re planning to be out a lot in winter conditions then I’d recommend a full hill day dedicated to winter navigation skills.

This will include looking at the following:

  • route planning and choice
  • winter hazards like cornices and snow bridges
  • blizzards and whiteout conditions
  • avalanche¬†awareness
  • equipment choice and spares