Here are some Navigation Skills Top Tips – they might make more sense once you have been on a course with us!


· Try measuring distances using the millimetre scale on the compass as well as with the conventional romer scale (It’s possible to get to 1/2mm accuracy (12.5m) as the scale is finer).
· Take care to count from zero – some scales make it easy to start at 10mm
· Measure as accurately as possible – try measuring twice a few times to check your accuracy. (Measure it twice, cut it once!)
· Make sure you know exactly the point from where and to where you have measured. Start and finish at these points.
· 1:25000 scale – 1mm = 25m     1:50000 scale – 1mm = 50m
· Use magnifying glass to count contours accurately, remember each darker contour is the 5th  –  makes counting easier when there are a lot of contours
· Pacing is more accurate over flatter and undulating ground and especially on short sections – timing is often better suited to steeper terrain and longer sections.


· Takes into account horizontal and vertical distances
· SLOW: Allow 12 minutes per km, 1 minute for every contour uphill and ½ minute for every contour down
. FAST: Allow 10 mins per km, ½ min per contour up and ¼ min per contour down
· Remember timings and pacings will vary with weather, underfoot conditions, how much gear you have, etc.
· Remember timings make no allowance for stops
· Calibrate your own timings by trial and error – work over longer distances to minimise measuring error.
· Try calculating a fast time and a slow time, then see where you are in relation to this when calibrating


· Know your own pacing for 100m uphill, flat and downhill – be aware of the limitations as ground gets steeper – consider add on in percentages for steeper ground eg add 10% for moderate uphill sections. Revert to timing for steep terrain and longer distances.
· Always count in blocks of 100m, then blocks reached by halving figures:
· Eg if my pacing was 62 per 100m, to walk 187.5m I would walk a block of 100m (62 paces), a block of 50m (31 paces), a block of 25m (15.5 paces) and a block of 12.5m (7.5 paces)

Try lots of experimenting to calibrate your timing and pacing. Choose longer rather than shorter legs to minimise your percentage measuring error. Alter your calculations if you are always quicker/slower.

In poor weather and when accuracy is required use any means to increase accuracy of measurements eg: put map on sac or rock as table, use others as windshields, get out of wind.

Consider laminating small sections of map for crucial areas – more manageable than a big sheet.

Write down critical details and carry them in map case eg: bearings and distances for descent route off Ben Nevis –easier than carrying out the calculations in a raging blizzard! Practice and experiment in controlled conditions to build up confidence. Don’t trust your sense of direction! If you have Memory Map, print out routes and key info.

Weather links site  –