Author Topic: Really how good are your navigation skills?  (Read 3610 times)

adi

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Really how good are your navigation skills?
« on: January 23, 2012, 02:09:01 PM »
How do you know you are a good navigator?  Have you ever tested you navigation skills? Ok if you are like me you have probably crossed some terrain using map and compass in conditions less than perfect which suggests you have confidence in you navigation skills but have you ever truly tested them?

I used to study and teach survival skills. A couple times each year some friends and I used to set tests for ourselves. These always started by choosing a century, we would research what technology people would have to hand. We would collect, borrow or make replicas of this technology and go out into the wilds and see if we could survive. For instance, if we chose the 18th century we would go out in the woods dressed in clothing made of natural fibbers. Use tents of canvas, bed roles of wool and canvas. Boots of leather. We never allowed any equipment newer than that century. We were all very confident in our own survival skills so we didn’t even take modern emergency equipment, such as mobile phones or anything.

The further we went back into history the harder it became. We did two weeks on Dartmoor as Neolithic men, which was very tough. Dartmoor’s landscape and climate has changed a lot since then. And stuff Neolithic man traded for such as flint tools in the case of Dartmoor me had to make or have made for us before we went. We were lucky we knew some Archaeologists that would help us and in return we would test some of their theories. It was these trips that proved to ourselves we could practice what we preached.

My question to you is. Do you think you could cross Dartmoor or the Cairngorm Plateau using only kit of the 19th century including a map of the time, you might be lucky an OS map of the area might exist. And, Field compass and separate protractor. That means all clothing, rucksack, tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, food and navigation equipment of the time.

How do you think you would fair? Would you be up for the challenge? 
"We do not belong to those who only get their thought from books, or at the prompting of books - it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing or dancing, of lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful." Friedrich Nietzsche

adi

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Re: Really how good are your navigation skills?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 06:29:47 PM »
I think once I am out of hospital and returned to full fitness I will arrange a trip like this on Dartmoor, if anyone is interested?
"We do not belong to those who only get their thought from books, or at the prompting of books - it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing or dancing, of lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful." Friedrich Nietzsche

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: Really how good are your navigation skills?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 09:29:53 AM »
Count me in for this Adi; just give folk lots of advanced notice please.

Big heroes like Shackleton and Simpson (Aussie desert) managed extraordinary feats using kit it is easy to disparage today, which simply meant their skills needed to be that much better
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance” - Plato

Rescuerkw

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Re: Really how good are your navigation skills?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 10:58:00 PM »
Hi Adi. What a fantastic idea. I think the one thing that is different these days is our ability to endure physical hardship. I couldn't help feeling amazement when I read the achievements of Shackleton and his crew. From the outset, when they were on the ice, they were sleeping in bitterly cold and wet conditions. Even their sleeping bags were wet through most of the time - and yet they went on and on and without a great deal of complaint either! People may not have lived long in centuries past, but I do think they had the ability to endure prolonged and often severe hardship of a type that we (fortunately) never have to encounter these days. So, if there is an element missing now, it's probably that. Love your idea though, although I won't be joining you(sadly).

Regards

Ron

Callum

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Re: Really how good are your navigation skills?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 12:33:23 PM »
Adi, sounds like you are on the mend - good - with plenty of notice count me in  :)