Author Topic: How do you find your way?  (Read 836 times)

parkthebus

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How do you find your way?
« on: 22:02:08, 06/06/18 »
So I've never done any planned hiking, and the only thing stopping me is essentially, how do I know which way to go?


I guess most people will say take a map but what do you do if you lose track of where you are?

What do you people do to plan a route?

Ridge

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #1 on: 22:10:21, 06/06/18 »
Hi and welcome to the forum.


If you have concerns then why not start with routes either from books or the internet which have instructions as well as a map.


If you get temporarily misplaced then you can retrace your steps, ask someone or see what turns up. Start small and low down and chances are that the worst that will happen is that you may be late home for your tea.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

pleb

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #2 on: 22:21:57, 06/06/18 »
Spend time looking at OS map, familiarise yourself with where you are going. Take a compass!
Smartphone GPS? If u have one.

rural roamer

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #3 on: 22:28:17, 06/06/18 »
Sign up for a Basic Navigational course? Or get a book from the library.

scottk

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #4 on: 22:42:03, 06/06/18 »
Alternatively, get with some other people or a club and get some hints and tips. A navigation course could be the fastest way to learn though.

MarkT

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #5 on: 22:47:02, 06/06/18 »
You guessed it.....Use a map.


But plan your route in advance, use maps and guide books, plenty of books in your local library covering majority of areas.  Research the internet, read about different routes, look at the photographs on people's trip reports, not just on this website but look at various sites. Just google the area you want to walk and various routes/walks will be available to you.


Once you know where you want to go, decide on where to start so you know how far you will be walking.  Once you know this then research, research and research. Take notes, print route maps, look at photo's, then try to condense all the information you have gathered so you can take it on your walk but without adding too much weight in your back pack, you don't want to be carrying 4 or 5 books. I will often use youtube to see if anyone has posted a video of the walk i'm doing.  This way, when out walking, I will hopefully recognise some parts of the walk.


When I go walking in new areas or new fells I will often refer to my map every 5 minutes or so just to be sure I am on the right path. That way, if I have gone wrong or I'm not 100% sure where I am, I can turn round and get back to the last point where I know I was on the map. I will also ask people I meet when out walking and double check with them just to make sure I am on the correct path/route.


Some may suggest use a GPS device but only worth investing in if you will be using it on a regular basis or maybe a friend has one you can borrow.


I've also found local knowledge is very helpful and have asked many a farmer or local the best way but of course you can only do that once you are in the area you are walking.


A lot will depend on where you want to go, maybe to start with pick an area or route that is well signposted, i.e. a National Trail.


But as Benjamin Franklin supposedly said "Failing to plan is planning to fail"


I'm sure others will come up with some advice but that's what I do and have never got lost.....been a few times when I wasn't sure or have taken the wrong path but because of my notes and research I have realised my errors before it's too late.

happyhiker

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #6 on: 23:06:23, 06/06/18 »
My suggestion would be to start by selecting a walk with detailed directions. There are loads of books and Internet sites, including my own, with lots of choice. Before you go, study the directions in conjunction with the relevant 1:250000 Ordnance Survey map and try to work out where the route will go on the map. This will give you a feel for how the information on the map works, including the symbols and lines.


Then, do the walk referring to both as you go. Again this will give you a feeling for how the map works on the ground. Pick a fairly short walk at first as this will slow you down. You will soon get the hang of it.


I give this advice with some confidence because that is how I started!


Once you have this sorted, you could use electronic navigation on your phone or a dedicated GPS receiver but please do not take any notice of those who proudly boast of never using a map but only electronics. Lots of rescues have been caused after walkers became stranded because their devices failed. Also, to plan your own walks, which I think is part of the fun, you really need a map.

scottk

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #7 on: 23:21:07, 06/06/18 »
Another good source is OS maps online. You can use it to plan routes, print off maps of the area and it also now does a fly through so you can actually see what the walk will look like. You can use this on your mobile too if it is a smart phone. It costs around 20 for the year.

fernman

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #8 on: 23:21:31, 06/06/18 »
Study map reading. There comes a time when you can stand somewhere and say to yourself, Well there's a valley below me, that'll be where this river is that's marked on the map, on the far side I can see the church spire that's marked, and that white van must be going along the lane on the map, while those trees will be the wood that's marked.

Get a compass. You don't have to learn to use it properly immediately, that can come later, but you can use it to check which way to go when your indistinct route crosses a convex bit of land where you can't see the other side, or you can make certain you turn the correct way at a junction of paths or tracks (it's easy to get it wrong, I still do sometimes).

Learn about grid references and how to read them. Then when you become uncertain where you are, aka lost (something  else that happens to me), you can quickly get your current grid ref from a free app on your phone so you can pinpoint where you are on the map.

Largely I don't plan routes, nearly all of my day walks are circular routes from guidebooks. Sometimes the same is true of my multiple-day walks, while others are bits and pieces of published walks cobbled together. If someone else has walked it, the paths should be OK, whereas a path you decide to include that is marked on the map might be non-existant on the ground (this is often my experience when I go to North Wales).

Mel

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #9 on: 23:30:30, 06/06/18 »
I guess most people will say take a map


Yes, we would.  But a map is next to useless if you don't know how to read it. 


....how do I know which way to go?



Again, knowing how to read a map really helps.


...what do you do if you lose track of where you are?


The simplest thing is to re-trace your steps to your last known point of reference and study the map to see where you should have gone (a compass can come in useful here too).


What do you people do to plan a route?


A map.  Be that digital, on line or paper.


Honestly, learning basic map/compass/navigation skills is worth it's weight in gold.  Then simply practice, practice, practice  O0
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
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Peter

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #10 on: 21:45:10, 07/06/18 »
It's actually a very good question.
A map will show you the paths, but not where to start or which way makes for the best walk.
It doesn't matter in lots of areas, one place is as good to start as any other.. but on the bigger hills it can matter a lot.
Guide books are the simple answer. Follow their predefined route.. BUT at the same time take notice of other paths and check them out on a map.
Some 15 years ago I stepped into Crummack Dale for the first time, I followed the guide book carefully and was blown away by the beauty of the dale.
Now, I sometimes visit it on a daily basis and have explored it all. I haven't looked at a map of it in years, I know it well enough.
Though when I wanted to walk Pen Hill, I could find no guides. So, it is down to study a map, find a parking spot and start. Follow the map carefully. I assume you would have studied it before hand. It brings a bit of excitement to the game :)
Peter
sometimes I fall off the learning curve....
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gunwharfman

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #11 on: 10:15:47, 08/06/18 »
One purchase for me is really good, The A to Z booklets. I used one when I walked the Pennine Way, even for my colour blind eyes, easy to read, never put a foot wrong.

When I'm hiking in France I use the app SityTrail, the footpaths are highlighted in blue (IGN maps) wander of the trail and the phone bleeps, wander back to the trail and the phone bleeps again. Can be very reassuring especially in thick fog.

KimE

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #12 on: 22:04:37, 08/06/18 »
If you are lost in the forest follow a tractor track it always leads to a road or follow a stream/ditch ,walh with the flow, it leads to a lake, river or roads.

Skip

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #13 on: 06:49:05, 09/06/18 »
The Ordnance Survey website is a good starting point for basic mapreading skills:
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/resources/map-reading/

More detailed guidance from Scottish Mountaineering Council:
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/safety/navigators-dozen.shtml

And another beginners' guide from the internet:
http://www.walkingandhiking.co.uk/beginners-guide-map-reading-grid-references.html



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dartmoorrambler

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Re: How do you find your way?
« Reply #14 on: 08:29:13, 09/06/18 »
Often the ability that is overlooked is the ability to use your eyes and understand the landscape arround you.A map represents this landscape, and is only useful if you can understand how the map portrays the landscape, and you can match what you see on the map to what you see on the ground.If you are new to the outdoors, stick to well used paths that follow obvious routes. Learn how to use a GPS as well as a map. Following a GPS route on your GPS unit shows you quickly how far off the path you have gone, and which way to go to get back on track.With experience you learn to recognize a path even when little used or overgrown, and with a lot more experience you learn how to pick the best route over a landscape where there are no paths.