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Newsletter – November 2020

By 27th November 2020January 26th, 2021Navigation, Newsletters, Scrambling, Summer

Tip of the Month

This is the first of two related navigational tips. The second one will be in the December Newsletter.

On navigation courses, I encourage clients to consider each navigational leg as a set of directions that you would give someone in “real life”. Suppose you were visiting met at my house and wanted to know where the nearest cash-point/post-office/pub was. I would describe to you in just the right amount of detail how to get there. Not enough detail and you are likely to miss something and go wrong; too much detail and you’ll get confused and forget important steps.

Thinking about directions

When planning a navigational leg, this is a good habit to get into. Try to think of the following components:

  • What will you be walking along? (Road, path, track. Or maybe a mountain ridge etc).
  • What will be to your left and right? (Houses, woods, river. Or maybe steep cliffs, a gentle uphill slope etc).
  • How far or for how long to you go along each segment? (Follow the road for 10 minutes. Or maybe head steeply uphill for 500 metres etc).
  • What will you pass along the way? You could call these landmarks, or the more technical term of ‘tick-off features’. (Cross-roads, traffic lights, post-office. Or maybe a ridge dividing/splitting, the entrance to a valley, or a gradient change from gentle to steep etc).
  • Are there changes in direction? (Turn left at the traffic lights. Or maybe head south when the slope steepens etc).
  • What does the place look like. This is often referred to as the ‘target’. (The King’s Arms – large white pub with wooden seats outside and lots of hanging baskets of flowers. Or maybe the summit of the mountain; or a small knoll just west of a small lake 50m x 50m, etc).
  • Finally, many sets of directions finish with the words “and if you see x then you’ve gone too far”. These are referred to as a ‘catching feature’. (If come to a large Tesco then you’ve gone too far. Or maybe, if you are looking for the summit and you start going downhill, then you’ve gone too far).

Fact of the Month

Wilfrid Noyce is perhaps best known as being one of the climbing members of the 1953 British Everest expedition that saw Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay summit the mountain. He was a very fit and capable climber and mountaineer and was highly regarded by Hilary, amongst others. His wartime record included teaching mountaineering techniques to aircrew in Kashmir. Perhaps more impressive, was his work as a codebreaker stationed in Delhi, where in 1943 he was one of a pair who broke one of the high-level Japanese Army codes.

Route of the Month

In the past I have mentioned Sharp Edge on Blencathra. However, I don’t think I have mentioned its sibling, Hall’s Fell Ridge.

Hall’s Fell Ridge is one of the ridges running northwards from the area of Threlkeld and up to the top of Blencathra. It get’s a grade of Grade 1 as a summer scramble, but is very low in the grade. The difficulties are short-lived and are concentrated at the top, but they really aren’t all that hard at all. It’s another classic “Grade 0.5” route.

For this reason, it’s perfect as a your first solo scramble if you are new to the area or new to scrambling in general. It also makes a very pleasing and entertaining descent to a brilliant traverse of the mountain – up Sharp Edge and then down Hall’s Fell Ridge.

 Photo of the Month

Here’s an unusual view of the Yorkshire Three Peaks taken from just outside Settle on an area of limestone pavement.

Ingleborough’s distinctive flat-topped summit is clearly visible in the distance, centre. Whernside is to its right, under the branches of the tree. Meanwhile, Pen y Ghent’s bulky dome is poking its head above another band of pavement on the very right of the photograph.

Limestone pavement and a hawthorn tree in front of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales - a typical view on a guided walk© thesummitisoptional

Forthcoming Events

These are some of the scheduled events coming up in the near future:

  • 5-6 December – NNAS Bronze Navigation Course, Ilkley – places available
  • 25-29 January – Winter mountaineering course, Scotland
  • 1-5 February – Winter skills course, Scotland
  • 8-12 February – Winter mountaineering course, Scotland
  • 15-19 February – Winter mountaineering course, Scotland
  • 22 February – Island Peak expedition technical training day, Scotland
  • 23-26 February – Winter mountaineering course, Scotland

See Last Month’s Newsletter

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