e n e c s e h t t Se and compass skills, Eddie In another piece on teaching map ting hike routes, in all terrain Langdown offers some ideas on set
ne of the realities of map reading and setting hikes is that it is a far more difficult exercise in suburban settings than it is in open countryside. Following field footpaths, especially near built-up areas, requires the skills of a detective whereas deciding upon and walking on a long uninterrupted route in open countryside is easier but potentially more risky. I recently planned a five mile hike in Kent which required no less than 30 map-reading decisions as the route crossed small roads, went into a churchyard with three possible exits, through a new housing estate, re-routed around a golf course, across the local football pitch (with a Sunday match in progress) and exiting from the corner of a packed pub car park.
How to set a hike route (in a farm footpath/mixed countryside setting) Gaze long and hard at the map in the immediate area of your campsite, chosen area or starting point. The blessings of the Magna Carta and the subsequent history of our â€˜Rights of Wayâ€™ leave us spoilt for choice in England when it comes to the sheer abundance of public footpaths. Settle down and read the map like a good book, study the detail like a beautiful oil painting, notice the oddities; 4
wells, monuments, trig points, tumuli, small bridges, churches, woods and so on. Get curious. Now, read the footpaths only and begin to see how they might link up, stand back a little until you see a run of footpaths. Avoid all roads and pay particular attention to where roads have to be crossed. Get excited. Can you make a circular route with Patrols starting at either end? Could you have two somewhat parallel routes that keep Patrols (and yourself) quite near, but out of sight? Could you have two routes from a station to a campsite so the groups exchange and walk a different one back? Get your Scouts to plan and walk their own hike by giving them a piece of string the exact length of the route, the general area of the map, some pins and a selection of suitable start/end points.
How far/how fast? Around 2.5 to 3 mph is often quoted as a good walking speed, but to be perfectly honest you will be lucky to get half that from your Scouts, such is the amount of time they spend standing gazing at maps and arguing about the route at every junction and crossing. In my last article I suggested to my fellow leaders that we start by walking with our Troop for the first couple of
Scouts February/March 2011
SCOUTS FINAL.indd 4