Maps !

Well, following on from my last post in which I talked about the start of the planning the next stage had to be to decide what maps to take with me. I know I’m a gadget lover and have a whole host of gadgets that will tell me exactly where I am but I also know that gadgets can go wrong. The other thing I have learnt in life is that disasters aren’t normally one catastrophic event but the cumulation of the effect of many smaller things that go wrong which is why planning is so important.

I will have my mobile phone with me fully loaded with maps that will be available even if I have no mobile signal. My running watch will also tell me exactly where I am ( a ten digit grid reference so quite accurate !) but I will still have maps for the whole of my route with me.

Maps can tell you so much about an area, from the type of trees you should expect to see, the gradient of a hill, possible water sources and rights of way are just a selection. I can’t really remember when I first started map reading, it is something I did with my parents as a child, then with the guides, air cadets and territorial army. More recently I’ve had some map reading training from the staff at Avalanche Endurance Events and been out refreshing my map and compass skills.

One thing I had to decide was the scale of the maps to carry. The two most popular are 1:25,0000 and 1:50,0000. I have decided to use the 1:25,000 purely because of the amount of additional detail. In particular when I’ve been out walking I have found that local dew ponds are marked on the 1:25,000 but not on the 1:50,000. This may not sound much but when I know I’m going to need about 4 litres of water a day then being able to find sources of water becomes important. I did consider the number of maps I would need to carry. for the 1:50,000 I would need 4 different maps and for the 1:25,000 then I need 5 maps. To be honest with such a small difference it made it quite an easy decisions.

So I’ve been buying maps. Lots of maps……

I have also downloaded the Ordnance Survey app on to my phone and registered all my maps online so I can download them on to my phone. I’m planning a few overnight trips before I start out on the full 100 miles to make sure I iron out all the small issues that I know I’ll run in to; no matter how carefully you plan something always happens that you didn’t expect and based on the fact that I have never done anything like this before there is actually quite a bit that could go wrong…..

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