Navigation is a core outdoor skill and is one that should be learned by all walkers before starting out on an adventure.
Learning the various aspects of navigation can be tricky for a beginner but book publisher Cicerone has provided a title that will help you along the way.
Navigation – Techniques and Skills for Walkers has been written by Pete Hawkins a man with over 24 years of teaching navigation to walkers.
The title has been split in to 12 chapters each covering various different aspects of the skill from the basics of why you should use a map and compass and on through to more technical aspects such as the use of GPS devices and digital mapping. Topics covered include scales and grids, symbols and contours, choosing a compass, taking a bearing, walking with a map and compass, planning route and night/bad weather navigation.
Cicerone have included a nicely produced transparent plastic reference card for readers to use to practice using a romer, measure distances on a route and also estimate timing and pacing for planning purposes. This is a very welcome addition and is something that is missing from the many other books covering the topic that are widely available.
The author does a particularly good job of explaining scales and grids used in map making and reading. This is often a awkward concept to explain to a beginner especially but in this case the author has explained it clearly and fully.
The chapter covering choosing a compass is interesting and covers the various different compasses available and the factors you have to consider when choosing one to meet your needs. This something that again is a welcome addition to a book of this sort.
Clear and concise…
The areas where this title really excels is in the two chapters covering taking and working with a bearing. The author covers both techniques of taking a bearing from a map and taking one from the ground. The guidance provided is clear and concise and covers everything you should know in relation to working with bearings.
I particularly liked the description of how to perform a resection which is where you have to gauge your position by taking bearings of surrounding features in the landscape and translating it to your map. I know from experience that this is can be a vital skill to have and I urge readers to pay special attention this section particularly those who enjoy walking the hills.
Route planning is covered towards the end of the book and brings your map and compass skills together with timing in the form of the traditional route card. In my experience route cards are something that many walkers often disregard but shouldn’t as they are important to both their own safety and to those around them as well.
This book is one I will be recommending that fellow walkers read no matter if they are a beginner or more experienced as it covers the topic superbly. It has been well written and the illustrations photographs used throughout the chapters are excellent. A must read for walkers!