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Contour Interpretation Course (‘Jedi’ series)

April 30 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every 2 weeks that begins at 9:00 am on Friday, repeating until 1st October 2021

A student checks their map and compass on a beginners' navigation course

Our ‘Navigation Jedi’ series of courses includes this course on contour interpretation. It will take place on the moors close to Ilkley.

Many people find contour lines (the squiggly brown ones) a bit like Marmite – they love them or hate them. However you feel about them, there’s no denying that understanding them is crucial to successful navigation in open terrain.

The best areas for walking in the UK are the national parks, especially those with upland or mountain areas. Snowdonia, the Peak District, the Lake District, Dartmoor and all the Scottish Highlands, are just a handful of them. When navigating in these areas, the familiar sights of the lower lying countryside are in thin supply:- boundaries, clearly marked paths and bridleways; roads, buildings; forestry and woodland, etc. The hills mountains have none of these, but only grass, heather, bracken, bog and rock. (That is definitely not a biologically exhaustive list!).

If you add in the complications associated with winter, mainly the presence of snow, then even visible paths and streams disappear leaving you with no visible features whatsoever. Except the shape of the land, that is.

This is the reason that understanding the contour lines is both vital and liberating. Once you have begun to master the art of converting a 2-D image on the map into a 3-D image in your head, then you can visualise the terrain around you and navigate by that alone. Soon, a subtle change in contours will become a blindingly obvious landmark to you, as if there were a neon sign above it. Once that happens, a ‘contour jedi’ have you become.

Maps and compasses will be provided. You just need to bring suitable clothes, food and drink and a headtorch.

Get in touch to book a place.

If you’d like some additional navigation tips before the contour interpretation course, then read our navigation and map-reading tips article.


April 30
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:
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The Summit is Optional
07834 883900
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Ilkley Moor
West Yorkshire LS29 United Kingdom + Google Map