Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Navigation for hill runners, March'15

Scottish Hill Runners had asked me to put on a navigation event on for runners. We did one of these last year and a very successful event it was too ! We stuck to the same format this year, improving a few bits and pieces and also bringing in GPS apps on smartphones.

Saturday began in the meeting room of Cafe 360 at the top of the Midlothian Snowsports Centre. In a 'classroom' situation, we examined different types of maps in detail and discussing the subtle and not-so subtle differences. Once sorted, we moved onto compasses, with everyone quickly getting the knack of getting a bearing. After a break, it was outside - we sorted out our pacing and then headed uphill.

Blooming heck, the wind was strong today ! Splitting a hike into manageable 'legs', we worked our way up to Allermuir, trying out a few techniques on the way, keeping an eye on how the terrain related to the map as we walked, jogged and ran. On Allermuir, we could hardly stand up, the storm force winds blowing up from the west. Over to Capelaw Hill, some practice following bearings was the last exercise of the day. Once done, the group headed back and Helen and I jogged against the winds and set the course for tomorrow's mock Mountain Marathon.

Day two began in the Cafe like yesterday, this time looking at different kind of hill races and the techniques used to pick the ideal route on longer races. Helen lead us through a fine presentation about nutrition and how not to 'bonk'. Some more topics including safety and what to do when 'lost' were gone over before we headed out for our mock Mountain Marathon. The course was a linear one, covering around 22km and ascending 1000m, a lot of which was over pathless terrain looking for summits, knolls and the infamous 're-entrants'.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, including Helen and myself, and hopefully (and most importantly) learnt loads !

More photos are up on Flickr !