For me navigation is the most important knowledge to have when being outdoors, always important knowing exactly where you are, how to get to where you want to be and how long it will take to get there. It also helps give you the extra confidence if you’re ever lost. I wanted to do the navigational skills course because it is something I am not super confident with, especially since I’m focusing on becoming a Mountaineer. I decided that taking the Tiso Micro Navigational Course would be a great start, especially as Tiso are one of my main sponsors and I was curious to see what they had to offer. The courses are run for Tiso by the staff at Climb MTS (link to their site at the bottom of this blog).
The course all started last Friday at 7pm with the introduction from Deputy Team Leader Paul Russell, head of the Scottish Mountain Rescue Tayside. The group consisted of 6 people including myself. I was a tad nervous going into this thinking I would have zero knowledge & be totally out of the loop. Paul made it super easy and we went over everything that we would be doing the next day out on the hills.
After having an hour long informative introduction we called it a night & organised to meet at Alva Glen at 9.30 the next day. (Alva Glen is a beautiful gorge situated above the village of Alva at the foot of the Ochil Hills, I highly recommend this hike for anyone that loves a fairly easy walk with stunning views).
We arrived at Alva Glen carpark and started off focusing on our pacing and working out how many paces it would take to do 100 metres. After figuring out my pacing it was then time to read the map, look for any details that would determine where I am on the map and then put my pacing skills into action. Finally after getting familiar with my pacing, time & distance it was time to make sure I could tell which way to go on my compass. I had an idea of how to read a compass but it was great learning the different tricks Paul has learned from his years of experience and then getting to put them to the test. The whole day was great, Paul was super approachable even with the silliest of questions. After a fantastic day in Alva Glen I can proudly say I am much more confident with navigation & it was a privilege learning from Paul and I look forward to working with him in the future on the mountains.