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Report on Navigation Day
Sunday 19th September 2004

With Staring Role's:

Beagal 2- Maureen Powell

Wee Willie Winky - Ewan Reid

A Fish Called Wanda - Carol Barrie

The Diddy Hills - Irene Cahill

We started out for the hills between Largs and Kilbirnie, looking forward to some good Scottish weather ideal for learning navigation, and it didn't disappoint us. The motley crew consisted of Michael, Carol-ann, Irene, Peter, Ewan, Carol, Maureen and Anne.

Starting from the off we managed to get the directions wrong and Carol-ann, Maureen and Michael were waiting at the farm, while down the road waiting were the others. We eventually found each other and started out with measuring our pacings instructed by Peter and Wee Willie Winky (Ewan). After walking up and down the side of the road, the passing cars must have wondered what the mad folk were up to at the side of the road. No wonder, I didn't remember saying it was daft hat day but everyone seemed to be geared up for it.

So off we set with Beagal 2 (Maureen) charging up the hill like a tracker dog on speed, leading the motley crew. Once at the top of the first rise we checked our bearings and set off for the Knockside Hills, which Irene infomed us are known as the diddy hills as they look like too breast's from the distance. We stopped occasionally for minor adjustments to equipment so we not only learned how to map read but also to dress ourselves properly but Irene was having trouble trying to find a space for her map inside her jacket due to the size of her own diddy hills. Peter and Ewan kept us right with the map reading and explained in great depth the concept of how to read a map and use a compass skills totally alien to all of us, as we are used to playing follow my leader.

Eventually we were starting to get to grip's with it and eventually set a bearing for Irish Law to find the crash site of a downed plane from 1948. Just as promised by the weathermen we got our good Scottish mist coming in lots and lots and lots of it. On went the waterproofs and there they remained for the rest of the day, it was a lovely day to be stoating about the hills soaked to the skin. But testing weather for our map reading with great skill and gile we eventually came across the plane crash site appearing out of the mist, to the surpise of us that we could actually use a map and compass to find it.

After a quick lunch in driving wind and rain, we discussed whether to use our new found skills to seek out a new way back, but due to the lovely climate we decided to go back the way we came. Trudging down the hill with heads down into the driving wind and rain, we thought it would be beneficial to do some more exercises on the way down to check we knew where we were and get a grid to be rescued from if needed, as the weather was now totally closing. We all seemed to be taking in what we were learning as we were not lost and managed to get off the hill safely to a chorus of:   " I'M SINGING IN THE RAIN "

Michael Nicol

Photos: Irene Cahill

Affiliated to:
Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Scottish Youth Hostels Association

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