A continuation of the discussion developed in the 'Navigating in a whiteut' thre
Low level navigation amazingly annoying yes.
Compared to the possible consequences of being stuck up a major mountain in a whiteout though?
<Low level navigation amazingly annoying yes.
Compared to the possible consequences of being stuck up a major mountain in a whiteout though>
I thought that I'd made it clear in my post that I was comparing the difficulty of navigating in lowland countryside with navigating in upland areas in good conditions.
I'd definitely agree with the sentiments expressed so far. What also contributes to the difficulty in lowland areas are the (seemingly more common nowadays) path diversions, which don't always have adequate signage.
Well maybe but you were also wondering why people didn't consider low level navigation worthy of serious consideration
Nothing to do with its objective difficulty of course! Its just that when the consequences of a mistake are mild irritation it simply isn't a serious matter.
Thus it gets discussed fairly little. Actually with some of it like path diversions in farmland, or some stuff you can meet when crossing cities like housing estates, I'm not sure if there is any advice which would help terribly much.
Really though I do much prefer bleak, open moorland where I can just charge off in the relevant direction
Navigation in upland areas often involves looking for the pointy thing, and heading for it...
Corollary for when visibility is too poor for much looking is "Yazz Navigation". If you're aiming for a summit and any of the ground around you is uphill from you then you're not there yet...
One reason Orienteering is such a good navigation workout is you go to a lot of places that you'd never be looking for on a "normal" hill-walk. It is quite deliberately contrived as a navigational challenge so you get lots of practice at lots of different techniques. Some oriebteering is even based in city centres, distancing one pretty clearly from upland navigation.
 i.e., the only way is up
Whiteout's can happen in low level area's & habitation isn't always nearby or can be missed.
Get an injury like a sprain or somesuch added to the frustration of trying to navigate & it can be a downward spiral to hyperthermia especially if you are on your own.
There are easy places to navigate and hard ones. There are rewarding places to walk and meh places to walk. You can have either (and all shades in between) irrespective of altitude.
Coastal/tidal areas clearly need real respect.
Mostly though you'd have to get things very wrong to even reach the stage of phoning some relative/family member out to fetch you. You'll be on some path/lane and close to whereever you're bound. Just not precisely in the right place and rather unsure how to get there.
(Rural lowland areas this, not 'proper' upland valleys.).
Mind you if we're talking about hazards, walking on narrowish country lanes certainly isn't an entirely safe activity!
Martin Carpenter wrote (see)
That's very true of where I live, less than an hour's walk from the tidal channels and quicksands of Morecambe Bay.
I also live at the start of the Cumbria Way, which is essentially a lowland route, despite the two short forays it makes into the fells. The start point is in a town, and that's the first place where people go wrong. When they walk past my house, it's an instant FAIL, because the Cumbria Way starts on the next street to me. I'm currently working on a Cumbria Way guidebook, so I'm on a state of high alert when I see people leaving town in that direction. This morning, three guys set off, followed by a couple, followed by a foursome. I tagged on behind as an observer. The three guys overshot the very first stile and went marching up a road completely oblivious to what they'd done. I can't say I'd be too hopeful for the rest of their trek!
A couple of days ago, on the other hand, as I was following the Cumbria Way home, I came across a family crossing a field, around 3.30pm. Clearly, they were walking the Cumbria Way, judging by their packs, but surely they weren't intending to reach Coniston, some six hours ahead? Nope, it turned out they knew exactly what they were doing, and they'd studied their maps, and despite never having been in the area before, they told me where they'd be wild-camping that night. Some folks get it right!
>I am....convinced that accurate navigation in the lowland regions of England and Wales is more demanding than in upland areas given reasonable weather conditions.
Interesting post, and one that I agree with whole heartedly. Most of my walking is done at low level in places such as the New Forest. (the mountains are at the opposite end of the country to me!). It places a real demand on concentration to avoid missing a small turning in the path and without any real landmarks to head to, I often need to take a bearing and use pacings. When I was on a trip to the Lakes with some friends, navigation was only ever an issue when we came down from the hills into the network of small fields and overgrown paths.
Common usage ways aren't marked because they aren't official paths (right of way)
They are marked, in black. That's every path on the map up here in Scotland.
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