3 HOUR EVENING QUICK HITS
If you want a quick hit of navigation skills, try a 3 hour evening session for just £20. There's no classroom time, we just meet at the car park and head straight out on the hill. There'll be no more than 4 people in the group, so you'll have time to practise the basics and pick up some new skills. NB: there are separate dates for runners and walkers.
What skills are covered during this taster session?
There is no defined syllabus for these sessions. We will undertake a short journey and learn as we go, covering questions and common challenges as they arise. The weather plays a big part too - if it's really misty and dark, then you'll learn about low visibility techniques. If it's a gorgeous warm summer's evening, then we'll work on interpreting detailed contours or navigating at speed.
There are common issues which many people want to work on during these taster sessions. These include:
- How to keep the map "the right way round" ("set" or "orientated")
- How to get the most out of your compass (travelling on a bearing)
- How to handle cloud, mist, or darkness
- How to sort yourself out if you get lost
- Traditional navigation skills - pacing, timing, skills such as "aiming off" or "attack points"
What equipment do I need?
If you look in the Course Calendar, you'll see there are some Evening Taster Sessions for runners, and some for walkers. The equipment you require will depend on which session you book.
Regardless of which session you book onto, you will need the following navigation kit:
- 2 headtorches, or 1 torch with spare replaceable batteries. Examples of popular models for your main night navigation torch include the Petzl Myo, Petzl Reactik, LED Lenser MH10, Black Diamond Storm, Black Diamond Icon, Alpkit Quark & Alpkit Prism.
- Waterproof map case, ideally an "Ortlieb" case. This is the only brand of waterproof case which works really welll in call conditions. It'll last you a lifetime. I find the A5 size best.
- Compass, ideally a Silva "Expedition 4" compass. This specific compass is the only model currently available in the UK which has measuring scales ("romers") for 1:25000, 1:40000 (Harvey Maps / BMC Mountain Maps) and 1:50000.
- If bringing a smartphone, it must be in a waterproof case or cover
- A digital watch with a stopwatch function. The classic choice is a Casio F-91W which costs just £9.99.
For walkers, you need all your usual hillwalking clothing and equipment, including:
- Good quality waterproof jacket and trousers - we stay out in all weathers
- Plenty of fleece or synthetic layers - night navigation can get really cold
- Sturdy hillwalking boots suitable for rough ground away from paths
- Gaiters (not essential but a great idea since we spend time away from paths)
- Hat & gloves
- Spare pair of gloves
- Spare insulating layer (down or synthetic jacket)
- Small personal first aid kit including any personal medication
- Small rucksack around 40 litre capacity
- Drink and snack
For runners, these sessions are inevitably quite a tricky combination of some running with some standing still, so think very carefully about your clothing. I suggest the following:
- Off-road running shoes with a good deep tread
- Long running tights or shorts if the weather is really warm - but long trousers usually best
- Thermal wicking top(s)
- Waterproof jacket and trousers (lightweight running-specific waterproofs are ideal but not essential)
- Synthetic insulating top or fleece that you can easily take on and off
- Warm hat, neck tube and gloves
- A small pack or running vest that you can pack everthing into. Around 10-15 litres is ideal.
- Small personal first aid kit
-Drink and snack
How fit & experienced do I need to be?
These Evening Taster Sessions are open to absolutely everyone. Unlike the Walkers and Runners courses, there is no separate course for beginners and no fitness or experience guidelines. Every session is different - just turn up and we will modify the distance and speed to suit everyone in the group.
Where will the session take place?
We don't spend any time in the classroom. Instead we meet at the public car park outside the Highland Archive Centre, beside the astroturf pitch (see map at bottom of this page). This is usually much quieter than the main Leisure Centre car park. Once everyone is together, we will share cars and drive to that evening's venue. Where we go will depend on the weather and time of year. Typically it could be a local forest such as Craig Leach, or the hills above Blackfold & Abriachan.
What are the timings for the Evening Taster Session?
The session starts at 6.30pm. We will be back at the Archive Centre car park by 9.30pm at the latest. Please note that because this is such a short session I will not wait for latecomers to arrive, out of fairness to everyone else. Therefore I recommend you arrive at the car park around 6.15pm so that you are totally dressed and ready by 6.30pm.
How much does an Evening Taster Session cost?
It's £25 for the 3-hour session. I provide all the maps for the session but you will need to bring all your equipment, food and drink.