GPS tracking in use on the hill

These are two of the stand-out features of my 2-day courses. Live GPS tracking and night navigation combine to create a uniquely powerful learning environment. This page tells you more about the technology used for GPS tracking, and the reasons behind the night navigation component.

gps tracking & night navigation

Live GPS Tracking. 

I have partnered with Open Tracking, the UK's leading provider of live GPS tracking technology. I first encountered Open Tracking when I took part in the 2016 Glencoe Skyline race, where it was used to track hundreds of competitors during the event. I began to wonder why this was not being used as a teaching tool for mountain navigation. GPS tracking is widely adopted in orienteering, and all that is needed is a web interface which seamlessly plots the unit's position onto an Ordnance Survey map. This is what Open Tracking have mastered, and the results are impressive.

At the beginning of the course you will be given a tiny GPS unit which is taped on to your rucksack. This unit will continuously send your location back to the Open Tracking website.  This has two advantages. Firstly, we can use the 'review' tool to look back over the day's navigation, analysing any key learning points or errors. Secondly because the tracking is live, I can send individuals or pairs off away from the group on a route which is tailored to their unique learning needs. This allows me to differentiate for navigators of differing fitness and experience. All the while I can watch the live tracking on my mobile phone screen, ensuring your safety and analysing performance in real time. You might be in a group of 6 but you are actually getting a unique course which is tailored to improving our navigation, and all thanks to the latest innovations in GPS technology.

Night Navigation

It is logistically difficult to get all my clients out on the hill during the hours of darkness. It would be a lot easier not to do it! But here are two reasons why I think it is absolutely essential.


Firstly, a significant proportion of mountain rescue callouts are due to folk getting into difficulty in poor visibility and darkness. It is really intimidating to keep navigating when you know you have taken way longer you planned, darkness has fallen and you are walking into the night. If you can practise this skill first in a supportive learning environment, you're much more likely to be able to get yourself off the hill safely when things do go wrong.

Secondly, if you can manage to navigate in the dark, then daytime navigation really will feel like a piece of cake in comparison. Even a short session of night navigation will do wonders for your confidence and ability to handle a bit of cloud or mist in the daytime. I love seeing the progression and improvement that can be achieved in one session of a few hours out on a pitch black hillside. The next morning everything just seems much clearer!