BB1911 : Lessons In Navigation

Wednesday 20th March 2019

It could have got a bit hairy today.  Fortunately it didn’t but there were several reminders of things to do and not to do, navigation-wise.

The first lesson, though I say it myself, was a master class in organising the fox, the goose and the corn so that we could have linear walk, end up at a pub and still be able to pick up all the vehicles.

Cars A and C met at High Newton where car C was left and the occupants drove off to meet Car B at Ghyll Head Reservoir.  Lesson number two: Don’t bore your readers with unnecessary detail!  Sorry.

Lesson number three: If the clag is down and the only reason you have parked at your chosen place is to see a view that can’t be seen- change your plan to avoid a road slog.

Change of plan- started walking from High Ludderburn instead and headed south in the hope of finding Gummer’s How and the even more remote hope that we might actually see something when we got there.

Lesson number four: Don’t place all your navigational reliance on one piece of technology.  The Outdoor Map Navigational system on my phone let me down.  Again.

It locked up and when I reloaded it all it showed me was the trail of where we had been- a blue wiggly line on a blank screen.  

Fortunately I had been in Blake Home Plantation before and had a good idea (and memory of) where we were heading.  It was no problem whilst heading through woods alongside a stream.

When we emerged onto open fell that was a different matter.  Visibility was poor.

Lesson number five:  When walking in mist remind the team to make sure that each person is able to see the man in front and the man behind.  Adjusting the advice accordingly, of course, for the front man and the tail end Charlie.  Or in our case, tail end John.  John stopped to take a telephone call.  We forgot about him.

John then made a telephone call.  “Don, where are you? I’ve tried shouting and there has been no reply”.  Lesson number six: Sound doesn't travel well in damp air.

John was able to give a description of where he was so I set off in search.  Lesson number seven: Even if the map isn’t showing, you can use the track on your screen to reverse your steps.

Lesson number eight:  Do it properly.  It is so easy in mist to drift off an assumed line and that is the mistake I made.

John then made a telephone call.  “Don, where are you? I’ve tried shouting and there has been no reply”.  Somehow, he had found his way to the group.  I was now the missing person.  However, I had now got the hang of tracking back and was able to find them.

I put my phone away and got out my Garmin.  Yes, my secret weapon.  A proper mountain gps albeit a few years old and only holding the 1:50k map.  It took us directly to the summit of Gummer’s How.  Lesson number nine:  In the wild, use decent equipment, not so-called smart phones for navigation.

I suspect we are the only people this year to have climbed Gummer’s How, one of the best view points over Windermere, knowing that there would be nothing to see!

We lunched shortly afterwards then headed past Sow How....

.... and on, following Mike B’s footsteps of a few days earlier, to Simpson Ground reservoir.  A first for me.  It looked very atmospheric in the mist.

This I had navigated to using, wait for it: Paper!  An OS 1:25k printed version of the planned route for the walk that I had secreted in my pocket.  Lesson number four in action:  You mustn't always rely on technology.  I also had an old fashioned compass in my sac, just in case.  

Actually, although I did have the said paper and compass, the truth is that I just followed Mike!

It was impossible to get lost once we were back on the track from Simpson Ground farm.  Philip, John, and the Mikes just followed their instincts.  Tony would have been proud of them.  Directly into the Crown bar they strode gaily, leaving Robin, Stuart and I to head back north in car C to collect cars A & B.

Lesson number ten:  Don’t volunteer to drive!

Don, Wednesday 20th March 2019



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John PL:  I look forward to Bryan's comments!

Don:  That's what I'm afraid of!

Bryan: If John had the free app “OS Locate” on his phone he could have given you a 6 figure grid reference of his location. You could then have put this in to your (unreliable and not recommended) phone, or your (infinitely more reliable) Garmin, as a waypoint then navigated straight to him.

Don:  Good advice; easy to use and can also be used as a compass. An alternative is an app called "Grid Refence" which gives the option of a 10 figure reference but no added features.

Tony:  Woohoo!! Spotted a fascinating picture!! Major RA Crewe-Read's chest!! Where were you and do you know what you were looking at? Does the SWB mean anything to you?? 

Don:  The Crown at High Newton.  Don't know what SWB is but looking forward to you enlightening us.

Tony:  Being honest I didn't recognise the name Major R O Crewe-Read but I do know what the SWB stands for - its the South Wales Borderers who fought at Rorkes Drift in 1879 earning 11 VCs.

There's a chapel in Brecon Cathedral (Brecon is marked on the chest) dedicated to the regiment (and the battle) that holds the actual flag that flew at Rorkes drift. I think it was captured by the Zulus but later recovered. I visited the chapel a few years ago on a ride back from the Rhondda.

Four of us are off down the Black Mountains near Hereford on the 5th April and will be riding through Brecon again on the way back and I've already arranged a stop there to show the lads.

Turning to Major Crewe-Read I did google him and found this link to the Mayu Tunnels.

Wonder how his chest got to the pub?  Fascinating!

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Comitibus:  Don, Robin, Mike B, Mike T, Stuart, Philip, John

Map: OS 1:50k


BB1911 : Lessons In Navigation


Wednesday 20th March 2019


Gummer's How, Simpson Ground Reservoir


Don, John, Mike B, Mike T, Philip, Robin, Stuart

Distance in miles (Garmin):


Height climbed in feet (OMN):


GPX track



If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other hills, see BOOTboys Hill Log.  Warning- it might not be fully up-to-date!

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