Test Your Navigation Skills on These Peak District Walks
We have set up these walks for people to try out their new-found navigation skills following the attendance on one of our Hill Skills & Navigation courses.
The walks are graded by difficulty as Bronze level or Silver (see below). For each walk, mark up the route on your own map. Consider where it might look a bit tricky. Have a think about how you might make the walk shorter or longer. Think about which scale map might be best for the given route – if you have more than one map, look at the routes on all the maps you have. Finally, check the weather, pack the right kit for the day, and go out and give it a go. Maybe, come back with a friend, a partner, or a HOT date and see if you can impress them with your navigation skills too!
These walks are more serious as an undertaking and are aimed at graduates of our Silver Hill Skills and Navigation courses. You can expect to need all the fundamental navigation skills as for the Bronze walks and also be confident to be able to:
- Use a compass to follow accurate bearings and to check the direction of footpaths or other linear features on both map and ground.
- Confidently navigate your way across open access ground where paths may not exist or may not be so obvious.
- Be happy to walk in conditions of limited visibility.
- Employ where necessary, navigational strategies such as: aiming off, attack points, collecting features.
- Be able to confidently interpret contour features, both large and small, on the map and on the ground.
- Judge distance accurately on the map and on the ground.
- Estimate time taken to complete a leg being able to take into consideration both distance and height gain/loss.
- The planning of a safe walk or route involving walking on a bearing.
- Employ simple relocation strategies when lost.
#1 SILVER Level – Upper Derwent
This walk has one aim in mind – to test your navigation skills! That said, it is probably the easiest of the walks on this page to navigate your way around. Head up to Back Tor and the follow the route in an anti-clockwise direction. For the first half try using only a 1:50K map, and then from Abbey Brook onwards you’ll need a 1:25K map since this will show the walls and fences not marked on the 1:50K map. It’s a lovely walk too! Oh and if you can, maybe have a pint in the Strines Inn afterwards – a wonderful 18th Century Inn that serves great ale and food too!
Start / Finish Location – So long as you stay for a beer and/or bite to eat afterwards, The Strines Inn, Mortimer Rd, S6 6JE will be happy to have you park in their car park. Otherwise head on down the road and see if you find some space just after the bridge over the river at the bottom of the big bridleway that leads you to the tops.
Suggested direction – Anti-clockwise
Distance: 14 km
Height gain: 472 m
Hardest bit to navigate? Looking for the path that leads you diagonally up hill from Abbey Brook towards Little Howden Moor and past Greystones Moss.
Time required? 4 hours
#2 SILVER Level – Kinder Downfall via Crowden Clough
I love this walk – it is a proper Peak District walk this one! None of the tweeness that you get in the White Peak. This encapsulates the Dark Peak perfectly. It offers easy scrambling up through the gritstone boulders of Crowden Clough, trying your best to keep yourself from falling into the Peak stained water that flows down beside you. And then from the top of Crowden Clough the marked path disappears into the mist and it’s all down to you, your map, your compass and some damn good navigation skills! This route has a perverse appeal for the winter months and is particularly wonderful too on a summer’s day.
Start / Finish Location – Parking bay just beyond the railway bridge outside Barber Booth.
Suggested direction – Anti-clockwise
Distance: 12 km
Height gain: 421 m
Hardest bit to navigate? As soon as you arrive on the plateau of Kinder Scout!
Time required? 4 hours (maybe 5!)
#3 SILVER Level – Bleaklow
The name says it all! If you can navigate yourself round this route on a forbidding winter’s day, well, then the world is your oyster! It’s a wonderful part of the Dark Peak this area and perfect for testing you navigation skills. This route starts nicely enough, but you’ll really need to use your head to navigate your way over to Bleaklow Hill from Bleaklow Head, and then down towards Alport Castles. It’s a wonderful route and well worth getting out for all days of the year!
Start / Finish Location – Roadside car parking bay at Doctor’s Gate Culvert on the A57.
Suggested direction – Clockwise
Distance: 23 km
Height gain: 628 m
Hardest bit to navigate? Up on Bleaklow Hill – you’ll need to be certain of your location before heading off on a bearing towards Alport Castles.
Time required? 5 – 7 hours
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