Author Topic: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking  (Read 1215 times)

ninthace

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #30 on: 19:17:51, 09/09/19 »

You clearly don't know me or even follow this forum closely, I'm very much a solo walker and have been for many years, but I learnt first how to remain safe on the hills from fellow walkers a long while ago.  To suggest as you did that a novice walker should simply head out on their own and expect to learn how to navigate, select safe routes, stay safe on the hills as weather and terrain changes etc etc by somehow absorbing it from the air around them is reckless in the extreme.  You may benefit from reading this:


https://www.thebmc.co.uk/five-steps-to-starting-hill-walking
  +1 Sussamb.
I learned from my father and the Scouts.  The military also tried but they did not add significantly to my knowledge of land navigation but my maritime and airborne navigation skills improved markedly.  The learning by doing approach is based in sound Darwinism - the most fitted will survive but a lot will fall by the wayside.
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Islandplodder

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #31 on: 19:36:06, 09/09/19 »

I think we are talking at cross purposes, partly because walking means such different things to different people.
I'm not sure if I know what a 'novice walker' is nor yet what constitutes an experienced one.
For example, I walk over 1,000 miles a year, some on easy coastal walks, some on local hills which is all rough walking with no paths. I have done a fair few LDPs  (with one lovely exception without using baggage transfer)  and go up a few munros and spend a week in the Lake district most years, and in a good year get some hiking in France.  I'm not bad at navigation, but am not invariably exactly where I think I am.  My phone is registered with Mountain Rescue, but as there isn't one where I live I don't really think in those terms.  I've been doing that for most of my 60 odd years, and I'm guessing that on that basis I am about in the middle in terms of experience as far as this forum is concerned, but I don't really know.  Not sure when I stopped being a novice either.
As DA says, a novice walker on the Cuillin Ridge, with or without an experienced group is probably on the wrong place.  On the other hand, I don't think you need that much experience of anything to enjoy the Dales Way.  Both seem to be within people's definition of walking.  So those of us who think in terms of the Cuillin ridge or equivalent  have very different opinions to those of us who think of a good walk as 10 miles along a nice path.  But both should be valid descriptions of walkers.

Mel

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #32 on: 20:35:27, 09/09/19 »
I think a “novice” walker is someone who is new to the hobby and has little or no skills or experience of “fell walking” or “countryside walking” in areas unfamiliar to them, however long or short or tough or easy that walking may be.
 
Working on that ^^^ theory, I personally think that walking in the company of more experienced people has its advantages.
 
It seems a bit of a bizarre “catch-22” situation (based on recent comments elsewhere on the forum) - [a novice walker feels as if they have to] get fit enough and develop their walking skills on their own in order to join a group walk to gain skills and experience.
 
Surely anyone who wants to walk in a group to gain more knowledge / skills shouldn’t be made to feel as if they’re in some sort of way inferior for wanting to learn from others rather than tough it out themselves? (which is how DA’s posts are coming across to me).
 
 
 
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Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #33 on: 21:07:04, 09/09/19 »
Mel you're very tuned into the feelings of others I think based on you noticing these things and taking my self-absorbed comparisons for feelings of inferiority which they could have been. I wouldn't have noticed DA's post could be taken that way without you pointing it out. They certainly didn't make me feel inferior, my self esteem is only really outranked only by sociopaths and narcissists. Nobody should feel inferior for bettering themselves by whatever method they thinks best, providing they're not crushing others beneath their feet and in the context of walking they'll only be crushing the miles.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #34 on: 21:07:16, 09/09/19 »
Suggesting that a complete novice should just get into their car and head off into Snowdonia or the Lakes is a bit reckless. I have several times had to assist or dissuade novices without the necessary skills, experience or common sense from getting themselves into quite a bit of trouble. For example, a walker who suffered from vertigo following a boundary, rather than a footpath, straying onto scrambling territory with his 8 year old son; a pair of walkers about to descend Crib Y Ddysgl thinking they were on the Pyg Track; a couple in jeans and anoraks starting to ascend Hellvellyn in what was at higher levels a white out and screaming gale. It pays to learn the basics from someone experienced. I learned in the scouts and then from more experienced walkers. Now I mainly walk alone, but will also walk in groups on occasion. I have also paid back the teaching by taking new walkers into Snowdonia and up Munros. This has included 17 year olds in the Moelwyns and up Snowdon for dawn on the summit followed by a descent of Crib Goch and its north ridge. I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing the latter descent as a solo novice.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #35 on: 22:31:04, 09/09/19 »
I think we are talking at cross purposes, partly because walking means such different things to different people.
I'm not sure if I know what a 'novice walker' is nor yet what constitutes an experienced one.
For example, I walk over 1,000 miles a year, some on easy coastal walks, some on local hills which is all rough walking with no paths. I have done a fair few LDPs  (with one lovely exception without using baggage transfer)  and go up a few munros and spend a week in the Lake district most years, and in a good year get some hiking in France.  I'm not bad at navigation, but am not invariably exactly where I think I am.  My phone is registered with Mountain Rescue, but as there isn't one where I live I don't really think in those terms.  I've been doing that for most of my 60 odd years, and I'm guessing that on that basis I am about in the middle in terms of experience as far as this forum is concerned, but I don't really know.  Not sure when I stopped being a novice either.
As DA says, a novice walker on the Cuillin Ridge, with or without an experienced group is probably on the wrong place.  On the other hand, I don't think you need that much experience of anything to enjoy the Dales Way.  Both seem to be within people's definition of walking.  So those of us who think in terms of the Cuillin ridge or equivalent  have very different opinions to those of us who think of a good walk as 10 miles along a nice path.  But both should be valid descriptions of walkers.

I agree with Islandplodder - and especially about how we're talking at cross purposes.

It does seem to me that whenever someone makes a general point about walking, someone else applies it to hillwalking and sometimes finds fault.

DA said: "We were all novice walkers once in our lives. The only way to become more experienced, is to go out adventuring by ourselves, so we can then learn by our mistakes." I can't see anything in the post to suggest that an inexperienced person should do that adventuring in potentially dangerous places such as mountain ridges, yet many subsequent replies talk about (for example) mountain rescue, coping on hills, and carrying torches.

Speaking as someone who's been learning on the job, I have to point out that going out adventuring is likely to be a gradual process over time (and probably quite a lot of time) rather than someone deciding one day to take up walking and heading off to the Highlands the next!


WhitstableDave

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #36 on: 23:03:29, 09/09/19 »

You clearly don't know me or even follow this forum closely, I'm very much a solo walker and have been for many years, but I learnt first how to remain safe on the hills from fellow walkers a long while ago.  To suggest as you did that a novice walker should simply head out on their own and expect to learn how to navigate, select safe routes, stay safe on the hills as weather and terrain changes etc etc by somehow absorbing it from the air around them is reckless in the extreme.  You may benefit from reading this:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/five-steps-to-starting-hill-walking

I had a browse - thanks.  O0

It does focus on hillwalking though, which perhaps isn't surprising given the title, but I do wonder what percentage of walkers (as in people who do hundreds or thousands of miles a year as a pastime) actually ever walk in potentially dangerous areas - such as remote places above a few hundred metres. That's rhetorical of course because I doubt we'll ever know, but at a wild guess I'd say... a tiny percentage.

Incidentally (and probably irresponsibly in the view of some!), I question the supposed necessity of always taking a paper map (as mentioned in the article). A compass - yes, but a paper map? I took one on a walk a few years ago. It was pouring with rain, I didn't have my reading glasses, and it was useless to me. Yes, a handheld GPS device can malfunction, but if my phone, watch and compass all also happen to malfunction at exactly the same crucial moment, then I'll just have to accept that it's not my day! And (and I'm sure someone can answer this) just what use is a map in the middle of thick woods?

 

Mel

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #37 on: 23:26:32, 09/09/19 »
Rob, I wasn't referring to you specifically with my comment.


DA can sometimes write some confusing posts which can be misinterpreted - as has been highlighted by the comments on here.  All I hope is that anyone new to walking and reading this topic doesn't think their only option is to go out and "learn the hard way" alone.  Why?  If there are groups available to walk with then there is no shame in joining one, two, three or as many as you like if if gives you the confidence, skills, company and new ideas to get out there and enjoy the countryside, particularly if the alternative is "I want to get out in the countryside but I'm nervous or inexperienced to go it alone so I'll stay home and snort coke instead"


As for paper map in forests WhitstableDave, I may have "a possible" answer... to orientate your map and walk on a bearing of "generally in *that* direction" mainly because forest tracks change and are rarely the same as what's on a map.  Of course, you can do exactly the same with a GPS too....


I do wonder if (generally) the advice about having a map and compass could be updated to something about knowing how to read a map and use a compass as these skills are transferable to a GPS.  Are GPS skills (uploading a route and following a dot on a screen) transferable to a paper map?  :-\


Anyway, back on topic, yes, there are lots of benefits to walking with a group, just as there are benefits to walking alone and practicing things you have learned from others, be that on the internet, from a book or with real, live other people (imagine that!)



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Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #38 on: 05:08:46, 10/09/19 »
Rob, I wasn't referring to you specifically with my comment.

Wasn't sure if I was included...


DA can sometimes write some confusing posts which can be misinterpreted - as has been highlighted by the comments on here.  All I hope is that anyone new to walking and reading this topic doesn't think their only option is to go out and "learn the hard way" alone.  Why?  If there are groups available to walk with then there is no shame in joining one, two, three or as many as you like if if gives you the confidence, skills, company and new ideas to get out there and enjoy the countryside, particularly if the alternative is "I want to get out in the countryside but I'm nervous or inexperienced to go it alone so I'll stay home and snort coke instead"


I hope so too and the drugs reference made me  ;D I used to think drugs were brilliant but they take the shine off the rest of life, for me at any rate.


I do wonder if (generally) the advice about having a map and compass could be updated to something about knowing how to read a map and use a compass as these skills are transferable to a GPS.  Are GPS skills (uploading a route and following a dot on a screen) transferable to a paper map?  :-\


Some of it is, you still learn how to read the map symbols and contours as an indication of steepness and later the contour shapes and handrail a bit as you plan the next feature you need to get the GPS out at to plan the next leg of the journey (though I often get it out before then to check how far I've walked/how far to go).


sussamb

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #39 on: 07:50:46, 10/09/19 »
Incidentally (and probably irresponsibly in the view of some!), I question the supposed necessity of always taking a paper map (as mentioned in the article).


You're in good company, I haven't used a paper map in years, have a GPS and my phone as backup, never had a backup when I used a map that could have been blown away, left behind etc  O0
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happyhiker

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #40 on: 08:18:42, 10/09/19 »

You're in good company, I haven't used a paper map in years, have a GPS and my phone as backup, never had a backup when I used a map that could have been blown away, left behind etc  O0


To all those who eschew paper maps, unless you have a very high spec (and thus expensive) GPS receiver, which most walkers will not have, how can you always be certain which side of a wall a footpath is, if it is not clear on the ground?

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #41 on: 08:23:56, 10/09/19 »

To all those who eschew paper maps, unless you have a very high spec (and thus expensive) GPS receiver, which most walkers will not have, how can you always be certain which side of a wall a footpath is, if it is not clear on the ground?

By the map on the GPS? I clearly don't understand this right, there's an OS map on ViewRanger what's the difference? I've actually made this mistake before but it's because I didn't look at the map properly.

happyhiker

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #42 on: 08:40:16, 10/09/19 »
Not everybody has Viewranger and even those that do are at the mercy of battery exhaustion.

ninthace

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #43 on: 08:42:24, 10/09/19 »
Indeed. If you are using OS maps on a gps device or phone, you have an advantage over the map user. Paper maps cannot be enlarged. The zoom function is very useful in finding your way through farmyards too.  Never, had a battery issue, don’t expect to either. I have spares.
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Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #44 on: 09:00:40, 10/09/19 »
Not everybody has Viewranger and even those that do are at the mercy of battery exhaustion.

My Samsung Galaxy S10e has held up for almost 8 hours of GPS with plenty of battery to spare in aeroplane mode and I take a waterproof power bank capable of fully recharging it over 3 times.