Monday, 25 November 2013

Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District. November 21st & 22nd 2013.

Once again, it's been a while since we have posted up any thing on the Kendal Mountaineering Services Blog but, we have been away on holiday (more about that later) and then there was the Kendal Mountain Festival. This post is about the great work that Iain has been doing since all of that!

Photo one shows John McMurray and his Fiance Suzanne during Thursday last week when they were attending one of our Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Courses. As the pair were staying in Borrowdale, Iain jumped at the chance to join them and run his first ever Navigation Skills Training course in this beautiful valley.

John & Suzanne had travelled up from Norwich the previous day and were keen to get some practice in before attempting Scafell Pike from Borrowdale on Saturday. For the duration of their Navigation Skills Training Course, the pair were to be staying at Borrowdale Youth Hostel so Iain met them there. Photo one shows the two working out their location - en route from the Youth Hostel to Rigghead Quarries.

We spent the day starting from the basics as usual - how to orientate the map, measuring distance on the map and pacing it on the ground before setting off on our walk under Johnny Wood towards Scaleclose Force and on to the quarries.

Whilst on this route, we discussed "tickoff features" and found lots along the way, this really got the pair focused on reading from map to ground and it worked well!

Eventually, we arrived at the climbing hut at Rigghead Quarries where we enjoyed some lunch and then moved on to the topic of grid references - something that both John & Suzanne picked up quickly. The next task was to use their compasses to take a bearing between grid references and then walk on that bearing to find the next grid reference.

By now we were heading up on to the small plateau on top of High Scawdel and here, Iain got the pair to find some small features such as a stream junction and some small pools of water and they were successful in finding all of these. The second photo was taken as we began our descent to Honister Pass and was of the sunset - viewed through Black Sail Pass.

The weather on day one of John & Suzanne's Bespoke Mountain Navigation Skills Training Course had started off with an odd wintry shower and a cold north easterly breeze but conditions improved as the day went on. There was a dusting of snow on the mountains above 2000 feet and it felt like a real Winter day!

The weather had been forecast to improve over the duration of John & Suzanne's course and it certainly did. We all awoke next morning to calm and sunny blue skies - a perfect day indeed!

Iain decided to offer the pair the option of continuing their course in a different part of Borrowdale today and we chose to go to Rosthwaite Fell - a little to the south.

To start the day and build on their experiences from the previous day, Iain asked John & Suzanne to get us all to Tarn At Leaves from the Youth Hostel. This pretty little tarn is to be found on Rosthwaite Fell nestling under Bessyboot - the true summit of the area. Photo three shows Tarn at Leaves with a covering of snow on Great & Green Gables way in the distance. We stopped here for lunch and it was pleasant in the sun - however, stepping left into the shade en route for our next grid reference felt like walking in to a deep freeze!!

We spent the remainder of the day on Rosthwaite Fell navigating around it's many small peaks and hollows - finding pools of water, stream junctions and contour features - true Mountain Walking Leader Standard Navigation stuff and the pair found every point. We also tried "boxing" around an obstacle and using the compass to working out what "unknown" features were from a known point of reference. During this time, the weather remained calm & sunny, and the views were fantastic.

John & Suzanne had requested a slightly earlier finish today in order to prepare for their walk up Scafell Pike on Saturday and all too soon it was time to head back to the Youth Hostel. Photo Four is taken on our descent route down the side of Combe Gill where the temperature was already starting to drop below freezing again.

Both John & Suzanne thoroughly enjoyed their Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and, with their long "wish list" of outdoor skills to be developed, we hope to see them again. Iain really enjoyed working with them - running a Navigation Skills Training Course from a different venue in The Lake District - but that is we we do for anyone! Let us know where you are to be based and we will happily come to you to run your course.

It must also be mentioned that Borrowdale Youth Hostel is a great place to stay, full of personality with a good bar, a great atmosphere and very competetively priced beds and food.

John & Suzanne each paid £160 for their two day Bespoke Navigation Skills Training Course in The Lake District with Iain and you have this option if you are looking for flexibility to suit your itinerary. We also run Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District to suit people operating on smaller budgets and our 2014 dates for these courses are out now with these courses priced at £80 per person.

So, if you would like to book on one of our great value Navigation Courses then please get in touch. Also, with Christmas fast approaching, if you are looking for something different for that special person and would like a Christmas Gift Voucher to be redeemed against one of our Half or Full Day Activity Sessions or Skills Training Courses in 2014 - than contact us to arrange this for you. We look forward to working with you.

1 comment:

John McMurray said...

Susanne and I had an amazing two days with Iain learning navigation skills. His knowledge and experience is amazing.

His easy going nature allowed us to really enjoy learning the various skills. When necessary his attention to our safety was obvious and reassuring.

Another great aspect was the fact that Susanne and I were able to pick Iain's brains in relation to outdoor clothing and equipment which is a huge help in assisting us to make the correct choice the first time.

Both of us have no hesitation in recommending any one to take part in one of the courses Iain offers. We have no doubt you will enjoy it as much as Susanne and I did. We have already decided what the next course we want to do with Iain is and are already looking forward to it.