By: Blonde Two

Those of you of a certain age will remember fondly the 1993 film Groundhog Day in which the hapless Bill Murray becomes stuck in a time loop and has to repeat the same events over and over again.

Navigation for ladies

Well this is almost exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago for the Two Blondes on our ‘teach ladies to navigate’ marathon. Approached by the team from the wonderful Dartmoor Way, we had been asked to teach beginner navigation skills as part of an initiative funded by Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign.

This Girl Can

By the way, if you haven’t seen the This Girl Can campaign, it’s definitely worth looking up. With fabulous messaging, and a ‘real women’, ‘this is how it actually looks’ approach, it will definitely make you smile and probably make you want to join in.

Route planning the Dartmoor Way

Our remit for the set of courses was to provide navigation training for as many women as possible using routes based on the Dartmoor Way. We choose to start from Bovey Tracey because it has good bus and road connections.

In order to provide a day’s training and a half day’s consolidation for each lady, we decided to plan two routes. They both needed to provide just the right amount of map reading challenge, and fit (with time for teaching) into the timescale available. The other proviso was that the second route needed to be short enough for us Blondes to walk round twice in a day (and still have time for lunch).

We’ve been here before

Despite one (or two depending on which group) rather ‘eager’ hills on the first route, we picked well, and we now know the lanes around Bovey far better than we did before. There was one particular location that brought on our Groundhog Day feeling. At the end of a disused railway line there’s a bridge over a junction. Whether you’re on the bridge or at the junction, it’s a great navigation feature with plenty to discuss. Our whole day route took us out over the bridge, then back to the junction below by lane.

We did that walk a total of seven times. That’s fourteen visits!

Guess what’s down this lane!

Our half day route was supposed to go in an almost opposite direction but the Devon weather had different ideas. With the heatwave refusing to break we decided to adjust our plans to keep our clients (and ourselves) almost entirely in the shade. This meant visiting our favourite junction three more times, from yet another direction.

That meant we visited the same junction seventeen times in two weeks!

Where am I now?

Blonde One and I have long had a weird location system that’s nothing at all to do with grid references, coordinates or apps with three words. With a brief description we can locate ourselves exactly (usually on Dartmoor). Here are a couple of examples:

‘The only rock with phone signal.’

‘Ten o’clock, no dinner yet.’

‘The kink.’

Our new favourite bridge/crossroads/signpost place shall henceforth be known as…

‘Groundhog junction.’