GetOutside Champion: Philly Byrde
Philly is a walker, writer and rower living in Cornwall.
Join #GetOutside champions, The Two Blondes, for some handy navigation classes for beginners and families in Dartmoor this summer.
This summer we, Blonde #GetOutside Champions, will be running three navigation workshops (in conjunction with Dartmoor National Park and Ordnance Survey). People have asked us why we want to do this and there are a few reasons:
Learning to navigate can keep you safe. There are no two ways about this, being out on our hills gives you exercise, fresh air and a fantastic experience; but not being prepared in case something does go wrong, can turn a great day out into something close to a nightmare. Our Mountain Rescue teams (all volunteers) do a fantastic job; but they would be the first to advise you to carry a map and compass and to know at least the basics of how to use them.
Between us, we Blondes have over twenty-five years of experience teaching teenagers expedition and navigation skills. We quite fancied the challenge of teaching different age groups the same skills, so have elected to run one ladies-only workshop and two that are aimed at families.
We love honing our own navigation skills. Navigation isn’t just about safety, finding things using a map and compass can turn a walk into a great big Get Outside treasure hunt. Dartmoor (other national parks are available) is the perfect place for what we call ‘finding’ as it has a wealth of features; from Bronze Age man-made cairns to some very interesting contour deviations (do you know what a reentrant and a spur look like on a map?)
Our first ladies only workshop was on Saturday 18th June. We had a great day with thirteen very enthusiastic ladies, who all took part in a morning of classroom skills, and then demonstrated what they had learnt out on Dartmoor. We are pleased to announce that when we sent them off, walking on their own bearing, across some rather featureless terrain, they stopped in the right place and none of them fell in the nearby bog.
As well as meeting and teaching new people; one of the things that has thrilled us about our latest venture has been the support that we have received from two of our favourite organisations: Dartmoor National Park Authority provided us with splendid accommodation at their Princetown Visitor Centre (you should visit), and Ordnance Survey very kindly donated some of their excellent navigation leaflets and loaned us compasses for each of our trainees (you should buy one).
So, a big champions’ thank you to all who came along and all who supported us. Our mission to get Devon navigating is well underway (you can follow us here) and it only really remains for me to remind you to Get Outside with a map and compass, you will enjoy it, we promise!