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A great Peak District tour for those interested in navigation, map and compass training. Tired of guide books with sloppy route notes and cryptic maps? Fancy being able to plot your own course o’er vales and hills? This map and compass training course in the Peak District will introduce you to the basic skills needed for safe and effective independent navigation.
The Peak District is the second most-visited National Park in the world (Japan’s Mount Fuji National Park is the first), and for good reason. With rolling, rounded hills, densely wooded valleys and patchwork farmlands, this is a quintessentially British landscape. Yet look closer and you’ll discover the true diversity of the Peaks; gritstone escarpments, heather moorland, blanket peat bogs and lead rakes are just some of the unusual topographies. Scattered across the region are many iconic human-made embellishments, from Iron Age forts to towering viaducts, limestone cottages to ancient churches. All this makes for some fantastic walking, not to mention cycling, climbing, caving, canoeing, etc..!
This three-day map and compass training course, run in accordance with the National Navigation Award Scheme, is an ideal introduction to the art of navigation. Based in the pretty village of Tideswell with its famous Church of St John the Baptist (the “Cathedral of the Peak”), training is divided between ‘theory’ sessions at The Anchor Inn, a 15th century coach house with roaring fire, wood panelling, cockle-warming menu and so on, and practical exercises out in the hills. The former cover basic map and compass skills, such as understanding scale, calculating grid references, locating the three norths and deciphering the various OS symbols (how else will you know the difference between a windmill and a wind generator?!) Once you’ve got to grip with those, it’s out into the field(s) to practise what you’ve learnt. Working in small groups, you’ll try your hand at linear and point-to-point navigation, which will make use of your newfound talents in ‘setting the map’ (orienting it with the compass and landscape features), taking bearings and gauging distances. These genuinely fun (and sometimes hilarious) practical sessions will soon have you looking afresh at the landscape as a realm of myriad possibilities and endless adventure. Not bad for a weekend away! We sent journalist Dixe Wills on the course, read his detailed review here.
These courses are aimed primarily at walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts who have outgrown guide books and are after a greater degree of freedom in their walking. You don’t need to have had any prior experience to take part as everything will be explained from scratch, be it gauging distances, taking bearings or reading contours. As long as you’re fairly attentive, have a genuine interest in learning about navigation and are fit and healthy there’s no reason why you won’t really enjoy this course. And once you’ve completed Bronze, there’s always Silver and Gold to try! As they say, “a journey of a thousand miles…”
An excellent introduction to map reading and using a compass which has given me the confidence to plan my own routes.
Christine Conboy reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
We very much enjoyed the course run by Pete Hawkins. The two instructors were thorough and patient (very important in my case) and our confidence visibly grew as the weekend progressed. We were very pleased at the end to receive the bronze award and look forward to the next level.
Pauline reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
Thanks very much. Everything was of a high standard and we really enjoyed our weekend. Peter Hawkins was a fantastic leader.
EmmaW reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
I would rate the course 5 out of 5. We both had an excellent time and we learnt a lot, probably a bit more than we both expected.
First, it was an excellent walking weekend as we got to do some lovely walks in the Tideswell area. Second, we both had the opportunity to learn and then practice what we had learnt so I genuinely feel that I got my money's worth out of the course. And third, Pete was an excellent instructor.
I would thoroughly recommend it to other would be orienteers and friends.
EmilyJM reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
The Silva bronze Navigation weekend was a wonderful opportunity to mix with like-minded strangers who had missed out on learning about map reading and navigating earlier in life. The first evening was spent at The Anchor being introduced to the basics of map reading in preparation for Saturday's 7 hour walk in the lovely Derbyshire countryside with ample opportunity to practice navigating from point to point using map and compass. After many years of cursorily scanning OS maps it was only under Pete's expert guidance that they began to release their hidden store of information to make navigating both challenging and fun. The second day proved even more of a challenge having woken up to a 6 inch covering of snow obscuring many of the features that were to be the object of Sunday's attention. Unfazed, we set off for a long snowy walk putting our new skills to the test in conditions that we will meet again unless we become fair-weather walkers, which I doubt. Throughout the weekend Pete proved to be good host and the arrangements for the evening meals at The Anchor met everyone's approval. The B&B Jaret House was comfortable and I will never forget the wonderful packed lunches provided by Pete's lovely wife. The weekend Navigation course could not be more highly recommended and is well deserving of five out of five.
RichardS reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
The course was really good, Pete was very friendly and made it much less daunting -particularly when you go on your own. He gave lots of encouragement but also challenged you. Village and the b & b I stayed in also seemed very friendly. I liked the way we had evening sessions in the pub as you had the option of being sociable if you want and it helped the group to bond.
all in all would recommend it
rebecca reviewing Silva Map and Compass Courses - Bronze level
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