By: Blonde Two
Over the last few weeks, Blonde One and I have been having a lot of fun setting up some night navigation courses.
This, I can safely tell you, is a lot more relaxing than being tested on your own night navigation , partly because you do it in the daylight!
There is quite a knack to course setting. You have to understand your “navees'” ability level quite well to get the right balance. You want them to have to think hard, make little mistakes and ‘relocate’ (a word nobody wants to hear on a night-nav assessment) themselves. You don’t want them to go striding off down a steep hill, through piles of gorse into a bog, mainly because you will have to follow them.
There are some key things that all good night nav sessions should include:
1. Dark! This may sound easy but the moon can be very bright and the time of sunset is just that – you will still be able to see.
2. Features that exist both on the map and on the ground. A couple of big features that you would feel if you walked straight into them – a tor or a brick wall for example (yes there are a few brick walls on Dartmoor).
3. Features that exist on the map but not on the ground. These are easy to find on Dartmoor where a wall can be a grass covered lump and a boundary stone a flat slab.
4. Features that exist on the ground but not on the map. Not so easy and require a bit of local knowledge (luckily we Blondes have that!)
5. Catching features – things that will stop everyone from walking too far if they make a mistake (losing people in the dark is embarrassing!) For example, most people would stop at a river and check their map before they swam across, a road would be another example or, on Dartmoor, a leat.
As you know, we Blondes love the challenge of night-nav. It is never simple and you can never lift your guard. Two hours can fly by like a couple of minutes, but it always, always makes you feel a bit smug when you have finished!