Well, with my long walk fast approaching I thought I should brush up on my map reading skills. It is easy to fall in to bad habits, take shortcuts or just not really know what you are doing when it comes to map reading and route selection. So, when I saw that Avalanche Endurance Events were running a Navigation training day about an hours drive from home it was a no-brainer to attend. If you haven’t come across Avalanche Endurance Events (AEE) before they run the toughest events I’ve ever done, namely the Fan Dance in the Brecon Beacons. I won’t write too much about it here but I have previously written a couple of blog posts about it or head on over to their website here 🙂
The instructors (Directing Staff) are all ex special forces so I think it’s fair to say they REALLY know what they are talking about and I’m sure by putting what they know in to practice has a) helped keep them alive b) gives them some real credibility. This is real practical experience rather than just something they’ve learnt on a days training course…..
The day was aimed at teaching us how to move fast over ground and still not get lost. The day started by going back over the basics and it is easy to forget how important this is. We all pick up bits and pieces of information along the way but there is always some terminology we don’t fully understand or some general “holes” in what we have learnt and DS Nick, our instructor for the day made sure that we fully understood the basics before moving on. My biggest worry on any event that AEE organise is that I won’t be fit enough but these training days aren’t races and I will say that DS Nick is very good at making sure everyone keeps up and no-one is made to feel they can’t do it and teaching like this is a real skill…. There were a few sets of penalty press-ups dolled out when we made mistakes.. and I was daft enough to make the same mistake twice and picked up press-ups for it on both occasions; I must admit I will be careful never to make the sam mistake again and that comes down to practice !
Learning how to really “read” a map, match what you can see to your terrain and not fall in to the trap of “confirmation bias” will, hopefully, mean that I don’t stray too far from my path on my walk and at the same time mean that I’m not having to check the map and compass every 10 mins.
If you really want to learn how to navigate then these guys really are the best in the business and will make sure that you go away not only having had a fantastic day but being more confident in your own abilities.
The photos below are some that DS Nick too on the day…..