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Your 'Navigation Workspace'

Thursday 5th October 2023, 5:47pm

By Mountain Safety Advisor, Ben Gibson 

As the nights draw in and we edge closer towards the clocks going back at the end of October, this is one of the best times of year to make sure your navigation skills are up to scratch.  

When it comes to having a bit more head space and clarity to manage yourself when navigating on the hills and mountains, it’s always a good idea to sort out your personal admin, which is another way of saying your ‘Navigation Workspace’ or ‘Navigation Office’.

Read on for a few top tips that will help you to make sure your map and compass are easily accessible and ready for action should a situation arise and you need to navigate on your journey or navigate safely off the hill. 

Top Tip Number 1

Either have your map neatly folded up to the area you are walking in or even print off the section of map that your walk is in. Keeping it small and neat allows for easier handling and for it not to flap around in the wind like a kite!


Top Tip Number 2

Have your map in a foldable, pliable, and waterproof map case. Check out the high quality Ortlieb A4 document cases. This allows you to have it folded up and handy to keep in a jacket pocket or somewhere easily accessible.


Top Tip Number 3

Have a compass on a lanyard or string that can be clipped onto your rucksack or better yet a jacket zipper. You can then have it (literally) close to hand and you won’t drop it or loose it. Your neck is a great storage hook but, your map and compass become harder to use and often flap around in the wind, getting tangled up in your other kit!


Top Tip Number 4

Phones and compasses are enemies! Keep your phone in a separate pocket and away from your compass, as the metal and components of the phone can distort and reverse the polarity of the compass needle!


Top Tip Number 5

When it’s a bit too windy and it get a bit harder being stood stationary to read the map, measure distance, take a compass bearing, etc. try dropping to one knee and using your leg as a make-shift table to rest the map on. This also allows you to be more stable and give you a little more shelter from the wind.

If you want to improve your navigation skills for the coming season, why not take a look at our Night Navigation courses, taking place in October and November?