My favourite compass

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My favourite compass

This week has been all about the compass, running a Silver National Navigation Award course. My first ever compass was given to me by my Granda when I was probably 10 years old, I’m not 100% sure if it belonged to him or his dad but know he used it in the war. It has our surname scratched onto the brass case, I guess there must have been quite a few of these instruments issued out to the soldiers. 

 My favourite compass

My favourite compass

Today the compass has moved on but the principles are still the same, there’s a needle that points to north, or south if you’re down under. That simple concept of aligning your map with the needle is the fundamental concept of navigation, and most of the time you can align your map without it, just looking at the ground features around you. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to walk off in the required direction. Mappa Mundi, the “cloth of the world” now just a map, was not always drawn with north at the top, east was once at the top of the map. Back then, circa 700 years ago, the navigator knew that map orientation was essential, in some ways it’s a shame our maps today have north at the top...and most of the text on the map is written as it is, drawing the reader to hold the map in a certain way. The map should be held pointing in the direction you’re traveling in, if you can do that, you’ve set your map and your compass needle should agree with you.

 Checking the map

Checking the map

As time moves on, maps and compass will change but it’s a basic concept that will remain forever. Will they be replaced by technology? GPS is advancing too but a simple compass and a map is more reliable than any gadget currently and costs much less. If you look after them you can hand them down battery free to your grandchildren, like my Granda Hamish.

 Taking in the views

Taking in the views

If you’d like some navigation tuition get in touch.

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Carn an Tuirc

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Carn an Tuirc

A hill I’ve been up many times, although this time views were perfect. One of those days where clouds and hills merge together off and on. Big cumulus clouds floating over the tops bringing flurries of snow in their path but luckily mostly avoiding us to the north. 

The walk up from Loch Callater gives opportunity to peer into Coire Loch Kander too, where you can view the gullies and cornices from a safe distance. This way up also has the added benefit of a stop off at the bothy and the views over Loch Callater, almost completely frozen in April. 

Jo suggested this route as our plan B and it didn’t disappoint. Lots of folks on the hills for such a beautiful day. Very jealous of the two kite boarders who seemed to cover about the whole of Glenshee and White Mounth Munros in about an hour but if you go that fast you miss the views!!

Photos below :)

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February Update

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February Update

Hello all,
As the “beast from the east” blasts through I thought I’d spend a bit of time in my office this week catching up on the paperwork and preparing for a busy season ahead! Hopefully the snow will not impact you too much, if you don’t want it too! This winter continues to deliver with some record temperatures and snow fall. Unfortunately, it’s also been a very busy period for our Mountain Rescue Teams, huge thanks to these volunteers for looking after safety on the mountains, I’ll be hosting another charity event in August for Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team and any training I do in Braemar percentage of fees will go to the Braemar team. Stay safe, stay informed and get trained.

I was absolutely delighted to be in the latest issue of Scottish Mountaineer magazine and to be included on their website. You can read their article via my earlier blog here. My journey from back injury to Mountain Leader will hopefully help inspire some to believe they can get out and do more, thanks to Neil and the Mountaineering Scotland team for publishing the article.

We had a great mid term break down in Loch Tay, weather was good so we had some nice fresh walks up Glen Lyon and also up toward Meall nan Tarmachan for a bit of sledging! I also took the family to see the Fortingall yew, the oldest living thing in Europe, right here in Scotland, some 5000-year-old. Our time on earth seems a little insignificant next to that tree.

 Meall nan Tarmachan

Meall nan Tarmachan

 Fortingall Yew

Fortingall Yew

February has also seen me finalise my procedures and processes that I will submit to the HSE for my Adventure Activities Licence. This is the next stage for Hillgoers and will allow us to take groups of youngsters out on expeditions and walks, as we aim to become a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Provider by the early summer.  These activities will run aside the current activities and I’m delighted to be building my team for this with some great people.

The season ahead is looking quite busy already but there are still some places left on the planned walks and we have spaces for bespoke walks or corporate events. There is some availability on our hill skills and navigation award courses too. I have put in some new events for this as we try and cater for all – “Hill Skills with dogs” and “Navigation Awards during school hours” for busy parents! I’ll keep trying different ways to run the courses, if you have any suggestions I’d be happy to have them!

Keep an eye on my website, social media, etc for new events and please get in touch if you have any questions.

Take care in the snow.
Garry.
garry@hillgoers.com

 Luna preparing for Mountain Leader exam!

Luna preparing for Mountain Leader exam!

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