Navigation Skills for Walkers


The ability to have accurate navigation is a must have for every hill walker, hiker, mountaineer, and rambler or backpacker. This is specially needed in hiking mountains, particularly in Britain’s mountains, where visibility and weather swiftly change, which causes limited visibility and ineffective navigation. First and foremost, do not go exploring the countryside if you do not know how to use a compass or how to read the map. Explorations can be so much more fun if one knows exactly where to go.


Besides maps and compasses, navigation skills require the concept of three Ds: knowing the direction, distance calculation, and details of the terrain or the place of exploration. Next, a hiker must learn how to use proper pacing, timing, route planning, and bearing; aspects of slopes knowledge, scales, grid systems, and references; understanding contours, navigation in very poor visibility or around obstacles; and knowing the three Ds: direction, distance, and details.

Explorations start with map and compass reading skills; this is where three Ds are calculated. Bearings are analysed with a compass; the standard bearing of the compass must have 360 degrees, with 90 degrees as east, 180 degrees as south, and 270 degrees as west. Having exact details about the target may prevent navigation flaws. Knowing the direction through proper pacing will help hikers calculate the attack point distance to the target point. Knowledge of slopes and contours, especially on steep uphill sections such as terrains with slippery rocks and boulder fields, lowers pacing movements. Timing, like pacing, is the estimation of speed with the use of time. A hiker must also learn how to navigate in limited visibility, especially at night.

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