/ ideas please for coaching basic navigation

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girlymonkey - on 01 Jun 2013
So later in the month I am going to be running a 1 day basic navigation course. I won't know how basic we are starting from until I meet the clients on the day. I have many ideas running round in my head as to how I could run it, but also thinking that there must be plenty of you here with more ideas than me that I could stash in my brain to help the day along?
Never run a day focusing on nav before, so a vague idea of structuring / order of introducing the different elements could help too.
All ideas gratefully received.
Thanks :-)
paulrobz - on 02 Jun 2013
Will Nicholls - on 02 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: I've found that starting with linear features on the flat is useful- e.g. following well defined paths and tracks where there's not too much going on feature wise. It's less confusing in that the obvious features you choose will be obvious, without contours creating a 'messy' picture. It's also more akin to navigating as you would in a car, so may make more sense to begin. After that, I'd slowly add in some contour features nearby (knolls etc) and do a a bit of pacing. Considering description, direction and distance is a good way to get them thinking. I'd normally show them how to measure the distance, describe the route etc completely for the first half of the day, then slowly take a step back and let them get on with it. Hope that's some help- have fun!
JamButty - on 02 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: I seem to remember a similar thread in the not too distant past if you do a search.
Map understanding, orientation, tick off points are all good before you get the compass out.
I wouldn't spend too long on Mag vs true its too confusing for basic nav and makes little difference.
A good game with pacing is a box over your head and get them to pace in a square of say 20 paces, turning NESW and see how close they get back to their starting point. Good on a footy field, and you need a safety guy to walk with them
Richiehill - on 02 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: When I take people out I always start by giving a brief overview/Q&A session of symbols etc just to check the knowledge of the group I'm with, this I either do before we leave or in the Car Park. I then move on to macro navigation, looking for major features, how to interpret the map so it's a 3D image in your head. Moving on to a mix micro nav and navigational techniques, use of a compass, aiming off, markers, pacing etc.

After this, I tend to ask them to navigate me to points using a specific technique or a mixture of techniques.

Tends to work quite well.
stuart58 - on 02 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: are you getting people to pay you for this!!!
Milesy - on 02 Jun 2013
The Mountain Navigation book by Peter Cliff is worth its weight in gold.
D. Saxton - on 02 Jun 2013
In reply to stuart58:
Doesn't really sound very inspiring all of this.
captain paranoia - on 03 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey:

The first decision is: lowland of upland navigation? The former involves ticking man-made features, the latter involves more use of contour interpretation, landscape association, and compass and pacing work.

I had some thoughts about a bronze DofE navigation class the other day (i.e. mostly lowland), based around getting them to come up with all the different ways they might explain to me how to get from the classroom to some point in the school. They ought to come up with:


  • by landmark (topographic)


    • 'go through the first door, then go as far as the water cooler, then go up the stairs'


  • by junction tree (topologic)


    • 'take the 2nd left turning'


  • by distance/bearing


    • compass & ruler

    • left/right/straight on & pace counting


  • by following signs


    • fire exit, road signs


  • by breadcrumb trail


    • e.g. paper chase games


  • by leading


    • 'follow me'




Then try to relate these methods to map, compass, pacing and outdoors.

Go on to ask what else the map shows that might be useful; contours, and how these can be used to relate map to ground (landscape association, slope and slope aspect).
jock.anderson - on 03 Jun 2013
In reply to stuart58:

I would like to hope that if my friends were to pay someone else for a nav course the instructor would atleast have thought about a lesson plan (or 3)and how to teach it more than a few weeks before hand.
IainRUK - on 03 Jun 2013
In reply to jock.anderson:
> (In reply to stuart58)
>
> I would like to hope that if my friends were to pay someone else for a nav course the instructor would atleast have thought about a lesson plan (or 3)and how to teach it more than a few weeks before hand.

Why? Many lectures/class room notes are put together just a few weeks before.. as long as they are prepared does it really matter..
parkovski - on 03 Jun 2013
In reply to jock.anderson:

Well you absolutely must ensure your friends know to demand a lesson plan from the instructor at the point of booking. Personally I could never recommend taking instruction from anyone who would have the audacity to seek new ideas, or expand their knowledge base. It sounds almost like professional development. Sickening isn't it? Won't somebody please think of the children?!
jock.anderson - on 03 Jun 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Putting them together a few weeks, days or even hours before is fine, Provided you can do what is asked and everyone gets full value.

I remember before I started running them i'd run a number for friends just to make sure I could run it at a flow and pace that an unknowledgeable beginer could follow. I hate the idea that someone is paying to be bodged through a course, It brings bad repute on us all.

Now dont get me wrong, I'm not accusing anyone of anything.
I merely said "I would like to hope that if my friends were to pay someone else for a nav course the instructor would atleast have thought about a lesson plan (or 3)and how to teach it more than a few weeks before hand."


jezb1 - on 03 Jun 2013
Keep things simple.
Introduce one thing at a time.
Give good feedback.
I like to use the 4 Ds method of planning a leg.

Make sure you know the area. Are the features you're asking them to get to actually there/obvious/as you'd expect etc.

You could write long essays on this subject but there's plenty of good ideas on this thread.

girlymonkey - on 03 Jun 2013
In reply to jock.anderson:
> (In reply to stuart58)
>
> I would like to hope that if my friends were to pay someone else for a nav course the instructor would atleast have thought about a lesson plan (or 3)and how to teach it more than a few weeks before hand.

I only got booked for the work recently, I'm preparing as far in advance as I can!! As I said initially, I have coached some navigation as part of hill days, so have some methods that I know to work, and have other ideas too, but seeking more knowledge and experience can never be a bad thing surely?! I can't do a definate lesson plan as I won't know until I meet the clients on the day what level they will be at. It's being billed as 'basic' navigation, but people will interperate that differently. I am planning to turn up with lots of ideas and possible ways of doing things and then tailor it to suit the clients.

Thanks everyone for the ideas so far, lots of helpful stuff coming up :-)

Dave Perry - on 05 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey:
It is not always possible to to have a pre-concieved lesson plan when as you say you don't know what level or interests the participants may be at.

But to avoid under pitching it I'd simply set them off to find something really difficult, say a long leg that can only be achieved by, say, compass bearing+timing/pacing. When they start to struggle then you can ask them and intervene and put them right in terms of knowledge.

You can also brief one person to find some map target - easy or hard - depending on the level, and without telling the rest of the group where this is on the map, and get them to identify where they are at particular points along the way. Again you can choose appropriate points as soon as you discover the level of skill. So a road junction may be easy to identify but for a skilled group you may wish to stop them in a more blank part of the route and ask them to identify where they are now stopped.

Depending on the size of the group and the number of maps you can also get one person to navigate to a fixed point and get others to 'prove' /confirm that that is where you actually are now - or not. So they may then have to start showing you/others key navigational features around them, which confirm where they now are. You can step this up by insisting that they can only use a compass for this or by 'removing' certain clues, such as, "OK if that farm was not there, how would you prove we are in X location" and so on.

Asking extra questions always works. A navigational leg can always be cranked up a notch by asking one or all how long this will take to walk and allows you to input if they don't know how to do this. Similarly this also works with pacing. "How far is it to that point over there" and get them to do this by first guessing, then checking it out by pacing then checking this on the map and so on.
yorkshirebloke on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: I'd go to a quiet corner of the Howgills recce a route with say 20 check points 100 - 300 metres apart the day before your event then your fresh also youl have an idea of timings and how the day will run.
Leeds Andy - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey:
I have an A6 card that I have laminated with the following on to refresh my memory. Of course no plan survives first contact with the enemy but it is good to go prepared with something. If you send me your e-mail I can e-mail you a PDF with it laid out on A6

Teaching nav in the field

Initial Legs
Orientate the map
Leg 1 Look round, ID features
Leg 2 Predict features & tick off (Description) + Destination
Leg 3 + Distance (Timing)
Leg 4 + Direction
Leg 5 + Dangers (nav and safety)

Make the destination more ambiguous or later legs

Things to cover throughout
Making a plan for each leg
Feature identification
Contour interpretation
Lines of transect

Things to consider on later legs
Map memory (read the map then put it away)
Relocation, walk them blind (look around, move around, retrace)
Magnetic variation
Aspect of slope
Walking on a bearing (the bearing is the handrail)
Pacing
Boxing and dog legs
Aiming off
Attack points

Andy
Jim C - on 07 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: I attended an evening ' class' where the course leader found out who knew what( and who thought they knew , but did not) and then brought everyone up to a reasonable level before even going into field work which was carried out the next day.

He was then able to give particular tasks to more or less advanced groups , so everyone came out gaining something, otherwise if you pitch it at the level of the least experienced, then a good number will learn nothing.

Ps there will possibly be a know-all that will want to offer their advice to the others,.
identify them early, and give them some special 'important role'.

You will teach them nothing so don't try, just quietly sideline them, and if you flatter them they will be quite happy.
Jim C - on 07 Jun 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: there is a good website called where's the path, that splits he screen lets you move the cursor on a OS view and other views, ie Terrain at he same time.

Your pupils will be able to highlight a feature on the OS and see it traced exactly on the terrain, or the opposite.

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