A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Navigation for hill runners

12-13 March 2016
While Richard was leading a group up the snowy mountains of Glencoe, Steven was navigating with a group of hill runners over the Pentlands...

photo 1 I was running a two-day navigation event for Scottish Hill Runners based in the Pentland Outdoor Centre and in the Pentland hills.

The group gathered for our morning based session in the 'classroom' - the cosy meeting room on the top floor. There were 8 people in the group, all keen to learn and get outside. So we went through the basics in the morning, cramming in lots of stuff and pouring over maps. After aiming downstairs for a break in Apres Cafe, it was outside for the practical stuff on the hills. Some folk didn't have appropriate compasses, so having Craigdon Mountain Sports on the ground floor proved handy !

photo 2 Out on the hill, much was played around with and new skills learned - how to locate yourself, back bearings, the 4 'D's, pacing vs timing and much more. We navigated up to the summit of Allermuir Hill, then jogged over to Capelaw for the day's last exercise - putting bearings, distances and timings all together to find various landforms on the grassy slopes of the hillsides.

The group aimed home (hopefully chuffed with what was learnt) and I headed in the opposite direction to lay the flags for tomorrow's mock Mountain Marathon. A glorious evening, I jogged around the course (still slightly injured in the calf), some of the flags might be devilously tricky to find !

photo 3 Day 2 began in better conditions than forecast. I was hoping for mist to test folk :) Again, we started our day in the 'classroom', this time going over hill races, nutrition, safety and what to do when getting lost. Out on the hill and time for some fun ! I followed to sweep up, remove flags and ensure everyone was fine. I caught up with two of the group west of Bell's Hill, they'd left me a nice wee suprise at the check point - a sheep's skull ! After chumming them to the next checkpoint at Threipmuir Dam, we went our separate ways and I headed in search of others. In Glencorse, while blethering to some mates on bikes, I could see them running above me, quick I better to the next checkpoint before them. They arrived smiling and relaxed - what no peching ? - I wonder if should we have made the course more difficult.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves and learned loads. Some of the guys are booked into this year's Highlander Mountain Marathon, so I'm hoping this weekend has really benefitted them.

Some more photos are up on Flickr.

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