Thursday, March 28, 2013

Navigation down!

I met more than my fair share of unexpected problems while walking half of the Weavers' Way last Sunday

This is what's left of my Explorer OL40 and the story of how I nearly had to manage without both map and phone.

I will take any opportunity to tell anyone why it's a daft idea to rely on an electronic device for navigation. Relying on the wayposts and fingerposts is also a great way to get lost. Even on a well-maintained route like the Weavers Way, there are spots with a choice of direction and no disc to be found. Written instructions and sketch maps are also just as dodgy, one wrong turn and you're lost.

The best way is surely to avail yourself of all of these useful tools - but consider the map the primary means.

My complete faith in the map has been shaken a little by Sunday's misadventures. In many years I've not thought that it could let me down.

On the marshes I was feeling every knot of the very strong wind which met no obstacle on the flat marshland. I can't remember how, but it managed to snatch the map from my grasp.

The Explorer immediately opened up like a giant sail and sped off at a rate I couldn't hope to follow. Fortunately it took a dive into a ditch full of water, but slightly out of reach and submerging itself. I had a second to consider whether it was better to spend the rest of the day with a map but with a wet leg and foot. Happily I managed to fish out the soggy mess with a stick.

The wind did serve to blow dry the map, while at the same time snatching off bits of vigorously-flapping papier mache.

It speaks of the quality of the paper and printing that the map was usable for the rest of the day and still is, aside from a couple of holes and missing corners.

Had I lost it, I would have been reduced to relying on the waymarking because of a cock-up on the phone charging front.

Only twenty years ago we would all have been without the mobile phones that we now take so much for granted. I think the loss of this lifeline was more of a problem to me than the loss of the map would have been.

So.. lessons learned...

I'll consider a map holder. It's a bit of a nuisance to re-fold the map when crossing a fold and you do look like an idiot but it keeps the map dry and securely fastened to the walker.

I won't forget the charging lead again (lessons learned the hard way are easiest remembered).

More pictures from this walk are on Flickr

2 comments:

Charlie Wildgoose said...

I use an Ortlieb mapcase ~ http://www.ortlieb.co.uk/mapcase.html ~ and although it discolours easily the plastic doesn't become brittle. As you say refolding it can be a problem. I seem to be looking at your blogs in reverse order !

aliqot said...

I hate map holders when they flap in the wind, but yes, they are useful. Have had mine for some time, and it's clear both sides which is useful.

I ran into trouble once when I was using a photocopy and it got soaked! So now the real thing comes along everywhere.

Lovely blog - we may try a version of your 4 peaks some time soon, but hoping to avoid too much road walking - this may mean we miss out Blackbrook reservoir, though.