Navigation courses: Find your way without your phone!

Lake District navigation course learning map and compass skills

So you’ve looked on Weatherline and seen that mist and fog is forecast for the Lake District fells. How confident are you in navigating in these conditions?

“I’m fine” you say, “I have a smartphone which will guide me all the way.”

Most mobile phones have built-in compasses and various map apps provide a useful navigational tool, but how many smartphone users realise that:

  • If you can’t get a mobile signal you may find yourself unable to locate where you are
  • Phones are not waterproof 
  • Small phone screens may make it difficult to help fully orientate yourself
  • Battery life can be poor, especially in cold weather
  • If the compass on the smartphone has not been recently calibrated it may offer poor navigational data.

For these reasons, smartphone users should know how to read a map and to be able to use it with a handheld compass.

Map and compass skills

Throughout the summer the Lake District National Park offers six-hour Map and Compass courses which run from both Glenridding and Grasmere.

At the end of the course you may not be competent to lead a team to the North Pole but you will be equipped with the basic skills to enable you to plan a route and to navigate a day on the hills, even in some fog.

Our course participants are always delighted to learn how easily they can de-mystify all the numbers that make up a grid reference, how to take and use a basic compass bearing to keep you on the right track,  and are often surprised to realise how much use can be made of features on the map which they had never noticed before.

I get so much satisfaction from seeing how competent and confident people become by the end of the day. These really are worthwhile courses as demonstrated by the feedback we get from customers.

Group navigation course in the lake district

Get the skills for the hills - book on a Lake District navigation course

Author: Tricia Brown | Volunteer Coordinator for the National Park Navigation Days.

Date: 14 Jun 2019