By: Blonde Two

Up in the Lake District, Mountain Rescue experts (who are all volunteers) have had a record year for call-outs. They cite the lack of ability to use a map and compass and the reliance on mobile technology as one of the major problems. It’s tempting isn’t it. You don’t need to learn any navigation skills, you don’t need to go on a navigation course.There you are, in your lounge, planning a day out, and with your new, shiny, electronic map on your phone, you feel like adventure is at your fingertips. You don’t need to worry about getting lost, the GPS will tell you exactly where you are at all times.

Except that it might not! And here’s why:

  1. Mobile GPS technology can fail. There is no way that any of us would be able to navigate from the grey screen of an absent map.
  2. Mobile GPS technology relies on batteries. It also uses up an awful lot of battery, battery that is also powering your emergency link to civilisation (please don’t rely either on there being mobile signal).
  3. Mobile GPS technology does not like getting wet or being dropped off mountains. Neither do maps, but even left with just a compass, you could get yourself out of trouble if you had been studying your map.
  4. Mobile GPS technology does not always give you the whole picture. With a map, you can do more alignment and see a wider area in a usable scale (one that gives you the detail you need), always good if you are trying to work out where you are.

Luckily for all of us it isn’t difficult these days to learn to navigate. There are numerous courses and training sessions available across the country. If you want to be sure that the person training you is adequately qualified, ask them; the BMC provide a handy list of qualifications here You are looking for LLA (Lowland Leader Award), HML (Hill and Moorland Leader Award – formerly WGL), ML (Mountain Leader Award), WML (Winter Mountain Leader Award) or IML (International Mountain Leader Award).

But what do I do if I want to learn to navigate tomorrow? I hear you ask.

Well the answer to that is easy, we have spaces left on this summer’s Dartmoor navigation courses. Just get in touch as below if you want to join us: