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Messages - Paul Hitchen

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Training tips / Ultimate Navigation School - Launched!
« on: January 29, 2017, 05:40:48 PM »
Lyle has launched a new charity called the Ultimate Navigation School!

The school provides navigation courses across the Uk for the public through to Mountain Rescue and Special forces selection candidates. Courses are from Foundation through to Advanced levels in land navigation and sat nav skills.  The courses are externally accredited too by OpenAwards so they count as professional development courses.

But the best part is....All the net profit from the School goes to four charities who support the hills we all love - The John Muir Trust, Mend the Mountains, Fix the Fells and The Mountain Bothy Association.

The new website is here

Lyle's channel trailer on youtube is here

If the great navigation community on could help the charity by making people aware of its launch - it would be much appreciated!

best regards and many thanks   :D


Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / Re: Satnav Jamming Notices
« on: October 30, 2015, 04:31:19 PM »

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) declare sat nav jamming exercises, dates times, locations, and are shown on the NATs website.  (This is global, every country has their own  version of NATS and all show the same  global NOTAMS).

Whilst  the NOTAMS are intended for pilots, and you have to put in a pilot licence number in the NATS website details to register (not sure it is checked though), there are many apps on smartphones that interrogate the NATS site and display NOTAMS for you in the app.  Just look up NOTAMS on the app stores.  So you do not need a licence to get the App, anyone can.

That said - it's a bit of a faff to do so, you have to lookup for NOTAMS for a date range , then scan it for GPS jams, rather than they push the NOTAM to you.

Hope it helps,

Emergency & Backup Equipment / Re: Grab Bag Contents
« on: July 27, 2014, 05:54:50 PM »
All many thanks for the good advice much appreciated.  I realise it is a risk and in all likelihood it will go very smoothly, but if it does go wrong it goes wrong with a bang from your advice.   

I have done hundred of hours potting about and the engine has not coughed once, so it will be just my luck it chooses the 21 miles of wet bit to do it over!   Yes I guess the theory of a nice slow speed ditch and it floating for a few seconds is dream world.  It will be a 60 knot smack into a brick wall probably flipping over as Lost Soul says!

I was thinking of having the grab bag on the passengers lap. As you know with a light aircraft with one exit you open the door just before a forced landing in case it buckles. So the theory was the passenger throws it out holding onto the floating rope then follows it. 

But I get the message about having all the stuff attached to you and wear a survival suit as well looks like the best chance of surviving (presuming the ditch didn't finish you off).   (knife, strobe, plb etc all about your person).    My life jacket does have crotch straps luckily.

I was going to leave the dinghy on the rear seat with floating rope so if I did make it out and the aircraft takes a few seconds to sink, I might be able to pull it out behind me onto the wing.  Or maybe not reading the above! But I will throw one in anyway.  I did do a course years ago with air cadets on turning a dinghy over, getting in and playing with the SARBE, but that was a nice summer's day and all very safe for kiddies.   A ditching course sounds like a good idea.  Blimey this Sunday lunch in France is getting expensive. 

Ah well as my old Dad used to say, you are a long time looking at the lid - enjoy life.

Emergency & Backup Equipment / Grab Bag Contents
« on: July 26, 2014, 06:56:07 PM »
I am putting a grab bag together for a light aircraft flight over the channel and would appreciate advice. This is just in case the spiny thing at the front stops mid channel and I end up swimming the last bit. It has to give a nod to overall weight. Plus it is a busy shipping lane, so if I make the ditch I will probably be run over before I get picked up  :D

Thoughts please ?

McMurdo Ranger PLB 199.
Pans Wessex red flare 10
Pans Wessex orange smoke 17
Mcmurdo floating grab bag 33 to put it all in - 5 m of floating rope tied to it.

100 lumen waterproof torch 22

AESU FTA-310 AIRBAND TRANSCEIVER 190, waterproof , 5w, new 8.33 channel compatible  - to transmit on 121.5 to overflying aircraft (most aircraft have a second set listening on the emergency channel). It will be nice to have someone talk to someone while I wait to be picked up. Plus my mobile will be in a man overboard bag around my neck in case I am in range of shore and can phone for pizza.
(I thought about a marine band but I can use the air band in the aircraft in a normal flight if the 2 sets on board decide to pack in).

Jotron strobe floating.
Jotron 121.5 transceiver (I had this already not sure if blasting out on this at the same time as the 220 does it as well, will help or hinder).

Water, big block of chocky, a couple of ambulance dressings, foil blanket (radar defection).

4 person dinghy with cover (rented), plus flight crew life vests  (owned already) and worn throughout.

Thought about mirror but its usually cloudy over the channel ! Whistle, maybe but not much use to attract a helicopter ☺.  Thought about immersion suit but it will be summer and you can go too far, the odds are small that it chooses exactly that 25 mile stretch out of 250 to pack up, vs sweating my nuts off and not enjoying the trip.

Any advice gratefully received. Many thanks in advance.

Maps / Re: eDofE mapping
« on: June 28, 2014, 01:24:45 PM »
I'm no expert Capt.

But I think it is Satmap which needs Microsoft Silverlight installing on your PC first. You should then be able to find it under the RESOURCES section when you are logged on to eDOE.


New Techniques & Learning / Re: Approximating microleg timings
« on: May 25, 2014, 11:47:48 AM »
That's a good idea Capt P. Mind if I nick it for my doe groups?

I teach DDTT for legs. Distance , direction (bearing) , terrain ( what you expect on route , height change ) and time ( for leg ).  Most then stare at me blankly as teenagers don't wear watches. How they get to school on time is a mystery, but they happily walk down a long dale covered in trees not knowing if they have walked for 20 mins or 40 mins  ,totally watch less.

Most amusing recent items extracted from ruck sacks on bronze ( one over night camp ) = 1kg tub of Nutella, a 12 inch by 6 inch make up bag stuffed with potions and a travel hair dryer .

And that was just the boys...

I like the free app in Langdale called LangD Ale

It shows you the pubs in the valley and what beers they have on.

It even has a goto pub button

.... Genius ....


General Discussion / Re: Sadly More Grief in Snowdonia
« on: September 19, 2013, 08:07:02 PM »
Hurray. Fav Daughter in law successfully made it up and down snowdon today. The weather was 50mph wind, driving rain and thick Clag. Just as Mother Nature intended Snowdon to be.

Now I know for members of this blog, this climb could be started at 10 wearing a blindfold and tied up in a sack, and you'd all still be down and in the pub by noon.

But for a lass from planet X factor she's earned good money for cancer research and now seen our world. So fair play to her. I think the ferociousness of the weather really took her by surprise. Seeing a forecast on paper then getting the full trip head on are 2 different things.

She now thinks the old man is 3 sarnies short of a picnic for wanting to go out in the hills, but at least we now have an understanding. I did snowdon as a boy on my duke of Ed, back when men were men and sheep were nervous.

So now we have a bond her and I, created by the hills. The hills, got to love em.  And when I go out to a cas on the hill wondering how they ended up here looking like stunned rabbits, I think I'll have a slightly different view of them and what they are going through.


Dictionary / Re: New Terminology
« on: September 19, 2013, 11:55:44 AM »
Temporarily unsure of position    =   lost
Re-establishing a fix                    =  lost
Orbiting for a fix                          =  lost and going round in circles
Consolidating location data          =  lost


Wilderness Survival / Re: Starvation & Survival
« on: September 18, 2013, 09:58:11 AM »
Hi Adi

Not me but the MR team I am on were on the 4 Inns rescue (I was not born then, just).  I researched it for a book I wrote about the team's first 50 years. There are still lads on the team who were there, and one was badly injured in the rescue.  There are some really gnarly old hillbaggers on the team harder than a bag of spanners, and they remember the 4 Inns weather as a evil, especially as it was April. Some of the pics of old Coppers in Great Coats covered in Rime Ice, dragging  poor young bodies off the hill on a poncho for a stretcher are amazingly emotional. That was the birth of the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation. The team I am on started in 1957 and developed the cas bag still used today by most of MREW as a result of the 4 Inns (one lad was a textiles guru).

So I was not there but have enjoyed the stories from the old timers over many a beer. The Scottish MR lads have taken hypothermia research and the special wet kind we get in the UK to fantastic levels of knowledge. Sounds as though you know your stuff too?

all the best

General Discussion / Re: Sadly More Grief in Snowdonia
« on: September 18, 2013, 08:29:48 AM »
Fellow Navigators and Hillbaggers, I find my self on the other side of the mirror.  Having spent many years enjoying the hills and helping folk in distress, I too have wondered how say, someone can pull up at the side of the road in a car to build a snowman, then need MR. The snowman was 50m from the car, the family dressed in Marks and Spencer's best, were eventually found 9km away deep onto snow covered moorland. How?...

However now, I am seeing how this and similar things happen. Please let me explain...

My number one favourite perspective daughter in law is a lovely lass, 24, bright, and works for an International Major Corporation as a professional with a future.

But, her idea of wilderness is somewhere where there is only 3 bars of 3G signal on the mobile. Survival is having to to be more than 3 feet from a mirror. To her great surprise then, her company sent out a 3 line whip. Everyone is climbing Snowdon for charity ( a good charity can't ague with that ).  The girls in the office started discussing what Snowdon was.  What equipment did they need, flats or heals, leggings or jeans, hair up or down.  You get the gist.   She tells her favourite future father in law about it.  Me.

I showed her the weather forecast and handed her this funny handbag called a rucksack. It wasn't Gucci. Did I have one in dusk pink? No.  The jacket is Goretex not Prada. Goretex, is that by Top Shop? No.

What is this daft old bloke talking about? She did spot the waterproof battery pack for the iPhone5 - that can come, it means more Facetw****g power for the mobile.  She can tweet and text and facetime all day now.

I love her to bits but we are from separate worlds, even ages.  (Me stone age, her facebook age).

Because she is a bright lass she did accept the kit, trust the old man, but she was clearly worried that she will look daft getting on the coach with her work mates dressed in Prada and she is in this Goretex thing.  I tried to point out that it is they who will look daft as they are stretchered off Snowdon as their Prada jeans have frozen their legs to lumps of lard. 

I am sure they have commissioned a respectable company or experienced members of staff to lead it, but there did not seem to be a mandate on kit. And as they are doing for charity, no one wants to put a dampener on it, and wants to make it happen.  I feel sure they will all be looked after, the company is too professional not too.

But at least I can now see how an incident develops in weeks before and the type of thing that leads up to it....  I have had a look through the mirror to their view of our world. 

Wilderness Survival / Re: Starvation & Survival
« on: September 17, 2013, 06:25:06 PM »
Hi Hugh

Not my area of expertise I'm afraid. But as a grunt I can observe two things.  Cold casualties improve if you stuff them with calories. As we are insulating them at the same time, it's not proven what works by that, i.e how much the calories or the insulation contributed to the improvement, but people who do know about hypothermia in Scottish Mountain Rescue write a lot about this subject and they agree, calories when cold if you are fit to eat are a good thing. 

Secondly, the MR team I am on were on a famous UK incident called the 4 Inns. In the 50s and 60s boy scouts did a long distance hike  the Peak District (England) in small groups with kit of the day (but there were 100s of scouts did it on the same day). One four Inns  walk in April 1964, the weather went south fast. (Sleet, then snow and freezing conditions). Three scouts died of hypothermia.  Lancet (UK medical journal) did a write up on it looking in detail (for 1964) at the scouts' clothing, the weather and their calorie intake.  They concluded (para phrased) that they were stuffed from the kick off. i.e they did not have enough insulation for the cold, the cold loss consumed energy as did the walk excursion, and they did not have enough calories to refuel - so they would not make it.  I read it in an archive it was interesting. Not saying that helps in any way or was correct - just saying it was interesting stuff.

all the best

in the old days they left a pot under the bed, so you did not have to travel.  Who said progress is always better?...

Maps / Re: The maps transforming how we interact with the world
« on: September 17, 2013, 09:24:24 AM »
Even better Callum. I have it on good authority from Google (not really) that the next generation version will be able to generate a holographic image of Kyle for you to interact with right in front of you, and she will even laugh at my jokes as though I was funny and look at me as though I was attractive.  The head up display Sat Nav will also detect that you have been at the pub and automatically have a man at pub button, which when pressed, will lead you home and project a big green arrow above your house saying ' this one' and a big red arrow over the neighbour's saying 'not this one'.  At last man is finding a use for this technology stuff.   Sadly though in a a generation's time, I bet we will be the old guys with a map and compass in the loft and great grand kids who look at Granddad's map like I look at a sextant today.  Their DOE exped route will be loaded onto their google glass with a direction arrow projected ahead of them, and so the wheel turns.

Emergency & Backup Equipment / Re: Leading walks; what do you take with you?
« on: September 17, 2013, 08:17:44 AM »
Me too. When I run alone I carry a 4 man clan tent from Terranova and a blizzard survival sleeping bag.  With a group, or when dragging the missus out,  I swap the 4 man for a Vango 12 man but always keep the blizzard bag. I also carry a large double plastic bag that is quite thick, to sit on or under insulate the blizzard from wet ground.

(On an MR call out I found a women mid thirties exhausted, o/s temp a very wet -1c. Her core temp was 34c heading south.  I threw over the clan tent and put her in the blizzard, then as she was talking to me, I stuffed her full of calories through the usual hole.  By the time the rest of the team arrived she was up to 35.4c and her mood had improved massively.  This is only my personal view and choice of kit I hasten to add).

all the best

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