Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Navigation: Common Mistakes

Following yesterdays stove mistakes Strong Training Roots have put together a list of common navigational mistakes. I  have seen these and can see these ones happening. I might even be guilty of one or two of them.

This time it was Brunton that commissioned the study into the most common mistakes made when navigating.
Strong Roots Training asked a team of outdoor professionals what are the most common mistakes they have made whilst navigating.

They are listed below: (with my comments)

1. Having the map 180 degrees incorrect when taking a bearing i.e. getting north and south mixed up.
(this could happen quite easily and shouldn't take too long to correct, a beginners mistake I'd say.)

2. Using a compass near metal objects, or near electronic items, causing the magnetic needle to be inaccurate.
(I imagine, especially in recent years, this happens a lot. With the involvement of technology in everything in this day in age. Although, I've read news articles where there was no compass at all because they replaced it with a phone app! No replacement for a map and compass.)

3. Looking at the map all of the time and not looking at visual clues in the real world.
(Andy Kirkpatrick did a post recently on navigation which touched on this. Becoming blinkered and not using features/landmarks to aid navigation is poor map reading in my opinion.)

4. Losing concentration and walking too far when you get to your point - falling victim to confirmation bias. [The tendency to see things that confirm you are right, but miss things that show you are wrong.]
(Hands up, I have done this. Complacency pure and simple.)

5. Only carrying one compass with you  - if one breaks you are stuck.
(I have never carried two compasses, if I'm with a group there is always more than 1. It's attached to my map, so if I loose it I loose both)

Couple of points that sprung to mind when I was looking at the list were -

Magnetic variation, I think there will be a lot of folk that don't know what this is. Still wondering why they always pass a cairn in the mist when they never came off their bearing.

Trying to get the needle to north when taking a bearing from the map, this is something I remember doing when I got outdoors again after a few years not reading maps. It's quite difficult to explain in writing. Basically, with the compass on the map trying to get the needle pointing along the north arrow on the spinning bezel. You start doing pirouettes, until you realise how much of a plonker you are being.

The main one for me is - Trust your compass!
Once you know how to use it, it doesn't lie.

The actual research (not my opinions) will form the basis of the Brunton TruArc Compass Demos that will take place at the Telegraph Outdoor and Adventure Travel show on the Brunton stand [OU1314] on the 12th – 15th February.

More about Brunton visit: