Teaching younger children about maps
As part of National Map Reading Week, we are looking at how you can teach younger children how to read and create maps.
There are many ways to conquer the height of the world's mountain; not all of them involve taking on just the one. #GetOutside Champion, Tim Meek, explains a more accessible way to take on Everest.
Imagine our excitement when, after hours of struggle and determination, we summited and were finally able to say – as a family of four with no formal skills or qualifications relating to the outdoors – that we had climbed Everest!
Yes, we’d done it!
Well, kind of …
You see, the thing is, when I say, climbed Everest, I actually mean, climbed (the height of) Everest. Of course we hadn’t summited Everest itself – that would be absurd and beyond our wildest dreams (and abilities), but what we had done instead was apply our D.I.Y approach to adventure … We’d climbed the height of Everest by climbing various mountains (over 610m), to give an aggregated total equivalent to the top of Mount Everest (8848m).
So, back to our exciting summit moment: well, we’d actually completed our Climb (the height of) Everest adventure on top of the highest peak in England, Scafell Pike (978m); it seemed quite a fitting place to finally reach the 8848m total we had been working towards.
But it is one of the first peaks we summited as part of our Everest challenge that stands out as much as the final leg up Scafell Pike: Galtymore, the highest peak in the Galtee Mountains in County Tipperary, Ireland. It was actually our first walk in the country and we took on the climb without, what I would class, a suitable map, as such. Now, this might be deemed irresponsible and we should know better (being Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champions and all that), but there was no suitable map available. That’s right, we hunted high and low for a map that would give us the level of detail required, 1:25000, but quite simply, they don’t exist! Or they didn’t when we were looking for one.
Some local walkers we bumped into as we searched for the start of the walk laughed our concerns off as, “Well, that’s how it is – this is Ireland, you know!”
In the end we bought an OSi 1:50000 Discovery Map but soon found ourselves craving more detail and certainty of where we were both on the map and on the ground itself (the paths were really unclear too). Call me old fashioned, but I like to know exactly where I am when I’m out on the hills.
Anyway, to cut a long, and at times a slightly unnerving five hour story, short, we successfully completed Galtymore safely, on what actually turned out to be a very wet, wild and foggy day – “Well, this is Ireland, you know!” said yet more locals.
Our Climb (the height of) Everest challenge saw us climb mountains in Spain, Scotland, England and as mentioned, Ireland. We walked in sun, rain, hail, mist wind and snow, on our own and with family. We met new people, saw new places, stepped out of our comfort zones sometimes and walked, relaxed and contented, well within our means at other times.
It was a great family adventure, and if it taught us one thing, it was just how important it is to have an appropriate map with you when you are out on the hills; as well as the importance of being able to read it, of course.
"Call me old fashioned, but I like to know exactly where I am when I’m out on the hills."
If you want to try something as challenging as ‘climbing’ Everest, why not start off small by taking on one of our own mountains or hills first… You never know where it might take you!
Happy (and safe) adventuring!
Find out more about the Meeks and read other adventures from them here.
Tim is the dad of the Meek family. In 2014, together with his wife Kerry and daughters Amy and Ella they decided to educate the children in the great outdoors, and he now writes about and films their adventures. You can find out more about the Meek Family on their blog at DoTryThisAtHome.com or read more from them on #Getoutside.