Loch Morar

SCOTTISH WOMEN'S WALKING GROUP

New for 2021, I'm delighted to be offering these 3 hour evening sessions exclusively to members of the Scottish Women's Walking Group. There's no classroom time, we just meet at the car park and head straight out. There'll be no more than 6 people in the group. There are separate dates for beginner and intermediate courses.

What skills are covered during these sessions?

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. 

For the beginner sessions, we would typically focus on:

- basic map symbols

- understanding scale

- how to keep the map "the right way round" ("set" or "orientated")

- making decisions at path junctions

- what to do if you get lost

- planning a simple low-level walk

For the intermediate sessions, we progress onto:

- How to use a compass (travelling on a bearing)

- How to handle cloud, mist, or darkness

- How to sort yourself out if you get lost on the hill

- Using smartphones for navigation and safety

- Traditional navigation skills - pacing, timing, skills such as "aiming off" or "attack points"

What equipment do I need?

For the Intermediate sessions, you will need the following navigation kit - map, compass & watch. You don't need any of this kit for the Beginner sessions.

 

- Waterproof map case, ideally an "Ortlieb" case. This is the only brand of waterproof case which works really well in all conditions. It'll last you a lifetime. I find the A5 size best (available from Craigdon or Tiso)

 

- 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 (again, Craigdon or Tiso)

- A digital watch with a stopwatch function. The classic choice is a Casio F-91W which costs just £9.99 (available from Argos)

 

For both Beginners and Intermediate courses, 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

- Sturdy hillwalking boots suitable for rough ground 

- Gaiters (not essential but a great idea)

- Hat & gloves

- Spare insulating layer (down or synthetic jacket)

- Small personal first aid kit including any personal medication

- Small rucksack around 30 litre capacity

- Headtorch (or a normal torch will do)

- Drink and snack

How fit & experienced do I need to be?

These sessions are open and welcoming to absolutely everyone. We will always modify the distance and speed to suit everyone in the group.  Just have a look at the typical learning outcomes described above and pick Beginner or Intermediate.

Where will the sessions take place?

Beginner sessions are at Craig Phadraig, meeting at the car park on Leachkin Brae. Intermediate sessions are at Blackfold, using the small Great Glen Way car park opposite Blackfold Cottage (NH 592 408 if you're up for a little grid reference challenge!)

What are the timings for the Evening Taster Session?

The sessions start at 6.00pm. We will be finished by 9.00pm 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 5.45pm so that you are totally ready by 6.00pm. 

How much does an Evening Taster Session cost?

It's £35 per person. I provide all the maps for the session but you will need to bring all your equipment, food and drink.