There are many reasons to improve your skills with a map and compass, here are my 3 key ones:
- Safety; Getting lost is not a problem (we all do it) but getting lost in a dangerous situation is. Being unable to find your way around a lake or between two lowland villages may mean that the walk takes longer than anticipated but getting lost on the moors of the Yorkshire Dales or in the rocky slopes of the Lakes can be. The danger is accentuated by being in cloud or mist or, if the walk takes longer than anticipated, darkness falling! You can call the Mountain Rescue to save you but in most cases there is no need (they are all volunteers after all and their prime focus is to deal with genuine accidents, not people who get lost because they are unprepared)
- Confidence; Many people I teach join one of the courses to give them the skills and confidence to go that bit further. They want to be able to judge how long a walk takes, what type of terrain they are walking on, how steep the land is but most importantly have the skills to recover the route if they get lost or the cloud comes down unexpectedly.
- Navigation is fun; I am one of those people who love reading maps, planning a new route is one of the joys of walking. Getting the map out during a walk and deciding to change the route to see something more interesting is also fun. Even the challenges of using a compass effectively is extremely satisfying. Leaning the skills just makes a day’s walking much more enjoyable.
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