Rock climbing can give you a new challenge in life such as helping to overcome a fear of heights. Learning the techniques required to get you to the top can open up many new adventures along the way. Employing the services of a fully qualified mountaineering instructor will ensure that you safely learn the correct techniques to enjoy rock climbing for yourself. You may alternatively want to relax and be guided up some of the classic rock climbs to be found in the Lake District, Snowdonia or further afield.
Scrambling is often seen as the next step on from hill walking. Exploring rocky ridges and steeper buttresses can offer a new way to get to the top of your favourite mountains. If you are new to scrambling it may be worth considering a mountaineering instructor to help show you the way and introduce simple rope work and techniques to keep you safe on more exposed sections. The Mountain Instructor Award is the minimum qualification allowed to take people on graded scrambles where the use of a rope may be required in the UK.
If you want to improve your navigation skills, a mountaineering instructor will be able to coach you in taking a compass bearing and following it accurately using pacing and timing to find where you want to get to!
So next time you are planning a new adventure in the hills it might be time to hire the skills of a qualified mountaineering instructor to help you discover new places or learn the skills to get more from the mountains in your own time.
The British Mountaineering Council have produced this video to help explain what someone who holds the Mountain Instructor Award has to offer.
Mountaineering Instructor Award from team_BMC on Vimeo.
The online magazine ‘Grough’ has reported that the Ramblers Association are campaigning for ambulance control centres to train their staff to take grid references from walkers in need of assistance.
If you require emergency assistance on the hills you should phone 999, ask for the police and then tell them you require mountain rescue. Requesting an ambulance will result in a longer delay as a vehicle will be sent to the road head before establishing if further help is necessary. Sometimes it may be possible for an air ambulance to be dispatched.
To take a grid reference, first look at the top left hand corner of your map to find two letters such as NY. Then follow the numbers along the bottom of the map and then the numbers up the side to find the box you are in. This ‘four-figure’ grid reference will put you in a box that is 1 kilometre square. Using a romer, it is then possible to work out a ‘six figure’ grid reference which will put you in a 100m square box. GPS devices will display a ‘ten figure’ grid reference which can offer the greatest accuracy. The Ordnance Survey has produced a helpful leaflet called map reading made easy which explains grid references in more detail.
The compass is an invaluable tool for navigating in the mountains. Before getting to grips with how best to use it, it is important to understand all the features of a suitable compass for hill walking and mountaineering.
The base plate should be large enough that you can comfortably grip it in your hand. The base plate will have on it a direction of travel arrow that should always point the way you want to go. In the picture it is the small black arrow just above the magnifying lens. Also the base plate should have romer scales for at least 1:25000 and 1:50000 map scales that allow you to easily measure distances and take grid references. These are in the top right hand corner of the base plate in the picture. Other features of the base plate can include a magnifying lens, small hole for accurately marking your map through and rulers in cm and mm.
The compass housing (or bezel) contains the bearing dial showing degrees in 2 degree inclinents, the orienting lines which include a red arrow that points to north on the compass (these can be lined up with the grid lines on a map that run from south to north) and the red needle that points to magnetic north. An index line on the bearing dial that lines up with the direction of travel arrow is where a bearing would be read from.
A lanyard is usually attached to the compass. I have mine tied into a pocket on my rucksack waistbelt or to the zip pull on a jacket pocket to save losing the compass. If you are going to wear it around your neck, the lanyard must be long enough so you can comfortably hold the compass out in front of you whilst walking on a bearing.
The British Mountaineering Council has just announced new funding is available for clubs to receive training from mountaineering instructors. If any clubs would like to make the most of this opportunity and enjoy a days instructions in navigation or climbing skills please read the this link on funding for club training and then get in touch.