Friday, 8 March 2013

Reviewing the Twelve - Number six

For my birthday I got a book which I had asked  for: “Collins' Ultimate Navigation Manual”. I have not read it as much as would have liked and I set myself the goal of carrying out one exercise from the book per month. Somewhere out there is the idea that one day I might get the Summer Mountain Leader qualification and widen my tutoring business to outdoor education. In the short term my regular running territory has changed from pavement and park to isolated moor and it is necessary to be able to find my way safely about. Life has been so much busier than I anticipated and the imagined formal exercises have not yet surfaced at the top of my priority list but I have been out on a number of walks and runs for which I have needed to rely heavily on my map-reading skills. One early Monday morning on Brownsea Moor, ankle-deep in heather and snow I was trying to find a footpath across the desolate moon-scape of a lead-mining spoil-heaps.  I wasn’t sure I was on the right path. Then I was sure that I wasn’t on the right path. I became increasingly confused and anxious and could not make head-nor-tail of the features around me and convinced myself that I had taken a wrong turning earlier and was on completely different part of the moor. After a while I pieced together my map with what I could see and safely navigated my way back to my intended path, not all that far from where I was.  Reassured and happy that I was safe, I was left with the worry that I was still out half-an-hour after I should have been home with nearly another hour of running and hill-climbing ahead of me and my family at home may well start to consider me lost enough to be worth a call to mountain rescue. I got home, safe and tired, two-an-a-half hours after I had set out on a 75 minute run to find my partner confident that my map-reading skills and spare jacket had meant that I was in no danger. Not formal navigation practice from a book, but a far more valuable and enduring learning experience and a reminder that maybe I have been learning more than I realised all along!

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