/ Learning navigation

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ElBarto - on 19 Nov 2012

Next year I want to start learning more navigation skills as mine aren't all that good. So I was wondering if there were any beginner / basic courses someone on here had done and would recommend to me?
annieman - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto: Don't wait 'till next year. Start now in your home town and build up your confidence.

This OS link covers the basics http://mapzone.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/mapzone/PagesHomeworkHelp/docs/easypeasy.pdf

Buy your local map, start from your own back door and start to relate the ground and map to each other. Get to the end of the street and try and predict from the map what to expect. Drive to a local area, away from roads and houses and do the same. Do it in small chunks as it takes a lot of concentration to start with.

There are lots of areas near where you live that are perfect for learning to read a map.

Then progress onto the compass. And/or someone to work with you on the fine detail.

JayPee630 - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto:

I think it's like learning a language (albeit a pictorial one) and as the above says, little and often, starting with the basics and working up is the best way IMO.

And, like a language, don't expect to be able top pick it all up in a weekend, and if you don't use it for ages you'll be nearly back to square 1.
ElBarto - on 19 Nov 2012
Well I do live near the Salisbury Plain and already have an OS map of the area so I guess I could start with that.

Also thanks for that link I'll read through it, I like the pictures in it. Not sure if that says anything good about my mental age though.

I really hope this isn't like learning a language, I've been trying to learn Spanish from last November to the August just gone and learnt very little.
RichardP - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto:
Try bremex,
I oringally joioned it about 25 years ago,
back then we learned about navigation, mountaineering, climbing and generally how to move and cope with less experience people in the hills


I came back to Bremex after a 20 year break, after being invited to the Bremex 50th anniversary celebration.


Memebrs are no longer based exclusively in London, since returning I have been walking and climbing with members as far apart as Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham, Lancaster and me Manchester(ish).

Good luck with whichever course you may choose

Ramblin dave - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to annieman:
> (In reply to ElBarto)
> Buy your local map, start from your own back door and start to relate the ground and map to each other.

This is the really important thing in my experience. I basically leant to navigate by going for walks where other people were technically in charge of navigation and just pottering along at the map try to see if I could relate every physical feature on the map to something on the ground and vice versa. There's a bunch of other stuff that you learn about (I think there are some good books out there...) like how to follow a bearing, aiming off, using "catching" features, dog legging, handrailing etc, but the really big thing is just learning to match the map to reality as accurately as possible.
Shani - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto:

I'd recommend a book called 'The Natural Navigator Pocket Guide' (or its bigger brother 'The Natural Navigator'. Truly inspirational.

AndyE9 on 19 Nov 2012
I have been working on navigation with my daughter , as she lacked some essential skills, we are off to nevis in a few months ..

We take our maps/compass and gps out to a local marsh nature reserve , and go for a walk, using map and compass , backed up by gps it don't take long to become proficient , we even practice with gloves on
Banned User 77 - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave: yeah, also people are too scared to get lost.. go out and relocate.. also once ok try orienteering or mini mountain marathon events..
Welsh Kate - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto:
Mountain Navigation by the appropriately named Peter Cliff is a good place to start if you want to use a book rather than go on a course.
matt.woodfield - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto: I run courses in South Wales that would suit you, see www.outdoor-matters.co.uk for more info.

One day with good teacher can save years of making mistakes and trying to work it out for yourself.

If you want to learn in another area check out www.ami.org.uk or www.mountain-training.org.uk for an instructor near you.

Hope thats a help...
Sceptical Bastard on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto:
> ... any beginner / basic courses someone on here had done and would recommend to me?

Firstly, you can read up on a lot of the basics on the WalkHighlands website:

Secondly, a short practical course will really help you put that 'book learning' into practice. I did a two-day course a while back with a guy named Iain Gallagher and can recommend his tuition:

You can also find courses at many outdoors activity centres. One of the best known is Plas y Brenin:

Malpractise on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to ElBarto: Have you tried the National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS). Theres a course provider reasonably close to you at Tidworth.

ElBarto - on 21 Nov 2012
Thank you all for the tips and advice, certainly given me a few places to start and more / better information than I asked for.

Hopefully other people will find this useful too.

Thanks again.
In reply to ElBarto: Since someone's mentioned websites (and not UKH) I feel I should point out our extensive archive of navigation articles:

Beginner's Navigation, Tips, Tricks http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=3132

Six Navigation Tricks - what to do when lost

The Dark Art of Night Navigation http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=3069

A Beginner's Guide to Orienteering

Navigation with an altimeter

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