Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hill running navigation weekend in the Pentlands, Apri'14

The navigation event that we run for Scottish Hill Runners is one of the finest events in our calendar ! It's over two days, based in the Pentlands and we get 12 runners heading all over the hills learning lots of new stuff. We decided to run it in early April as the first of the year's Scottish Mountain Marathons is not too far away (The Highlander is at the end of April, details on www.facebook.com/HighlanderMountainMarathon).

This year we booked the Steading Pub's conservatory as our location for each day's morning classroom session. Saturday was going to be the day for getting all the basics of navigation into place. We met there, introduced ourselves, discussed what we wanted to get out of the weekend, then dived right in. Maps were first - comparing different ones with their scales, contours, features and much more, then onto compasses and finally timings and how to navigate successfully were all covered in detail. After lunch it was time to put everything we'd learned into practice and we headed up into the Pentlands. We planned a linear route up to Allermuir, discovering features present on both the map and ground and some that weren't ! Onto Capelaw Hill for a final fun exercise following bearings and identifying landforms such as re-entrants and knolls. 

Everyone aimed back to the Steading, but my work wasn't yet done - I had to mark part of tomorrow's mock Mountain Marathon course. The evening had turned calm as I cycled up the glen from Flotterstone. Up into the hills, I placed various markers as the sun began to set. Back down on the cycle out, a heron didn't seem at all phased by my presence as it eyed up its evening meal in one of the burns.

While Dave headed out to mark more of the mock Mounntain Marathon course, I began our second day, again in the 'classroom', this time looking at different types of races, discussing what should be in your bumbag, tips for successful navigation and what to do when you get lost. Upon his return, Dave did a good talk on nutrition as regards what and when to eat when on the hills. The group were all psyched up so off they went, running uphill. Some took longer than others (we made the route a bit more challenging than last year after feedback) but the smiles on folks' faces throughout the day told it all. Hopefully everyone learnt lots and we look forward to seeing them placed high in future race results !

More photos are on our Flickr site.

You can find out more about Scottish Hill Runners on their website www.shr.uk.com.

The Steading pub by Hillend was a great venue for the event !