How to Teach Navigation and Tech Tracking Solutions

On a sunny but cold November morning I went out with 6 volunteers from Bowdon Parish Church. Bowdon are one of our DofE centres who do all the training of groups themselves then ask us in to manage their expeditions. They have a number of qualified staff so they provide some volunteer supervisors on these expeditions too, which helps them keep the costs down. In fact, as some of them now occasionally freelance for us on other groups expeditions they now make up the majority of the staff on their own expeditions with us only supplying a course director for each cohort of groups.

Anyway, they asked me to run a ‘How to teach navigation’ course so that they would have a more standardised approach to their teaching. For the first 3 hours of the day we mooched about on the edge of the access land under Saddleworth moor and by lunch time had only walked 1.5 km!! We then looked at 2 trackers (Spot and Beyond Marathon) in detail looking at the pros and cons to both) (more info on trackers can be found here). We also looked at two ways of getting a group to send their location to you using a smart phone. We discussed OS Locate but demonstrated ‘Whatsapp’ and the new but beautifully simple SARLOC for DofE.

How to teach navigation course

After lunch we headed up in to the wind on the top of the moor to cover the more advanced aspects of navigation before dropping back down to the car park.

Areas covered on the walk were

  • Selecting a suitable venue for your navigation training
  • Teaching strategies for estimating distance
  • Comparing different methods for measuring distance on the ground, thoughts about what to teach at each DofE level
  • Describing a leg and keeping the whole group engaged
  • Different navigational strategies for different terrain and DofE levels
  • Discussions on use of the compass at different DofE levels
  • A method for teaching compass bearings on a navigational training walk, focusing on practical application (with different detail for different DofE levels)
  • Letting a group make mistakes but not setting them up to fail
  • Walking on a bearing
  • Relocation strategies

If you would like a similar session to train your staff then please do get in touch.

A spot tracker route
A tracker route