By: Blonde One

Our most recent navigation course on Dartmoor was for the consolidation of previously learned navigation skills and was attended by 10 eager and enthusiastic people. We spent a short amount of time in the classroom reminding everyone of the basics before heading out onto the moors. It was a beautiful day so we were all keen to get out as quick as possible. Whether you are after a beginners’ navigation course or want to improve on your existing navigation skills, we have the course for you. Check out our Navigation Courses page today.

Here’s some of the things that were learned:

Aiming off – imagine you are trying to navigate to a bridge over a stream in the mist. Instead of setting your bearing directly to the bridge you would ‘aim off’ either up or downstream of the bridge and then follow the stream in the right direction until you get to the bridge.

Handrailing – it’s as easy as it sounds! Follow a linear feature such as a wall, river or valley. Be sure to mentally tick off features as you go along so that you always know where you are along the linear feature. Combine handrailing with …

Catching features – ideally this is also linear and will run perpendicular to your handrailing feature. When you come across it along your handrail you will know exactly where you are along the feature.

Attack points – these are used to find something quite indistinct or small on your map that is easily missed. If you are navigating to a disused sheepfold for instance it would be easy to get your bearing a little bit off and miss it completely. If there was a handy wall corner or river split nearby you could use this feature as your attack point to get you closer to the destination. Ideally the attack point needs to be no more than a couple of hundred metres away.

Contour interpretation – we spent some time explaining spurs and re-entrants and then practised finding them.


These were just a few of the skills that were learned. If you want to know more why not get in touch to join us on our beginner Dartmoor navigation course or one of our intermediate Dartmoor navigation courses. We also offer Dartmoor wild camping weekends and night navigation training.

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