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Nutrition is vital when going on walking expeditions especially when walking for a long period of time. It will become even more important in A2 when you camp and stay out for a couple of nights.

It is important that you eat enough food and keep well hydrated. We ensured this by having a big meal the night before hand and eating a big breakfast the day of the walk. We also took sandwiches with us and many people had food of their own. The sandwich that I took consisted of brown bread witch is high in carbohydrates and chicken witch is high in protein and very tasty. It is important that you take in mind that you will be carrying the food for a long period of time so if you take soft food it is ideal that you put it in a box. I took several chocolate bars for initial energy (glucose) and energy drinks such as powerade and lucozade. Hydration is vital in any sporting activity especially when working for a long period of time. If you don’t drink enough you can become hydrated and feel light headed and start to have saviour headaches. To ensure that we were hydrated we all carried a bottle of water, supplied by the walking centre and many of us took drinks of our own. Without good nutrition it is possible for you to make bad decisions or errors in vital activities such as map reading and compass work.

Country code

The country code is a simple set of rules you must follow when walking:

* Guard against all risk of fire.

* Leave all gates as you find them.

* Use stiles when provided.

* Keep dogs under close control.

* Keep to paths across farm land.

* Avoid damaging fences, hedges and walls.

* Leave no litter of any kind.

* Safeguard water supplies.

* Protect wildlife, plants and trees.

* Go carefully on country roads.

* Respect the life of the countryside.

* Take only photographs, leave only footprints.

Map work

It is crucial that you can read a map and orientate yourself when mountain walking especially if you get lost. Simple definition is that you can find out where yore precise position on the map is and you can do this via your surrounding features, contour lines, grid reference and compass reading.

Map scale and distance

The scale of the map changes on each map. The map we used was on the scale of 1:25,00 scale. This means that 1 cm on the map is 25,000 cm on the ground (or 250m). The good thing about using maps with a smaller scale like the one we used, means that it can show more, and more detailed features such as hedges or cliffs. Knowing what the scale of your map is means you can calculate you far you have to walk and how long it will take you. By using the gridlines and the side of your compass (measurements) can also help you calculate the distance and walking time. A grid is 1km apart and 1.5km diagonal.

Setting the map

To set the map (or orientate) means that you can position where you are on the map and what way you are facing via the surrounding features, this meant that you would always have the north of the map (the top) facing north. To ensure that you were going the correct way you would stop and set your map at every checkpoint or before hand if you felt that you were walking the wrong way.

Conventional signs

Maps use standard set symbols, the conventional signs, to depict the features of the landscape. The symbols used on one map scale, such as 1:50,000 will be different from another scale, such as 1:25,000. To be sure that you know what the symbols on your map mean there is a key on every map at the bottom or side.

Contour lines

A contour line is an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth connecting points of equal elevation. One contour line represents 10 meters, which could be, decrease or increase in altitude; you have to look at the numbers on the map. Every fifth contour is a darker brown than those around it. In practice this means that every 50m there is a darker line – handy when you are calculating height gain or loss of a particular route. The closer the contour lines are together the steeper the land is and a minute is added in walking time for every line you cross as it will take longer walking up or down hill.

Patterns

Even spacing between the lines – shown a smooth, gentle slope.

Close together at the top, then the wider towards the bottom – shows a concave slope.

Wide apart at the top, then closer towards the bottom – shows a convex slope.

Contours in a large V shape – shows a valley or ridge.

The compass

The compass is compact, robust, light in weight and easy to handle. It has two main functions: it tells you where north is and enables you to take bearings. However the compass has three types of north and these are:

* True north- this is the very top of the earth. For the purpiose of navigation this has no real use.

* Grid north- this is the direction that lines on the map are drawn (north is at the top of the map)

* Magnetic north- this is the direction that the compass needle points to.

Taking a bearing

To take a bearing the first thing to do is to mark your current position and destination on the map and join them up as shown in A. Then place the compass with the long edge along the line that joins your current position to your destination making sure that the direction of travel arrow is pointing from your current position to your destination like in B. Then holding the compass in this position on the map rotate the rim so that the orienting lines on the compass are parallel to the north-south grid lines making sure that the north arrow on the compass is facing north on the map. Then simply take the reading on the rim from the direction arrow in degrees and add the magnetic variation and there is your bearing.

Pacing

Pacing is working out how many steps it takes you to walk a set distance. We done this for a 100m and counted how many steps we took. I took 63 steps to walk 100m. Pacing can help you figure out how long you have to walk for from a certain point. Pacing is especially good when you are walking in open ground and have no features to walk to too know when to turn or take another bearing.

Naismith’s rule

The rule was devised in 1892 by W.W.Naismith a Scottish mountaineer as an aid to estimating the length of time it would take to walk a predefine walking route including ascents and descents.

5km per hour plus 1/2 hour for every 300 metres of ascent.

Corrections for short distances

Going gently downhill – 10mins / 300m of descent

Very steeply downhill + 10mins / 300m of descent

Diary

Day 1

On the 13th of October we went to Gilwern education centre to take part on an expedition. We left Bassaleg School by coach at approximately 9 o’clock and took a 40-minute journey to Gilwern education centre. Once we arrived we put our stuff in our dooms and sat in the recreational area where for next 20 minutes we listened to the instructors tell us the simple rules of the centre and go on to talk and cover everything we needed to know about the walking we were going to do. We were then given time to unpack our stuff and have a fire practise drill. Once we done this we went to the canteen where we prepared sandwiches for our walk. We then went into the fitting room where we got our equipment and checked with the instructors if the equipment we bought with us was all right to use.

After getting our equipment and food ready we headed off to our rooms to get changed and get any items if needed and then met up at the mini buses and drove off to the drop off point. On the walk we improved on our basic skills of map reading and using the compass, and learnt some interesting facts about walking and the sites we walked passed. Once we got back we had time to have a shower and relax before heading off to the canteen to have our evening meal. After having our meal we went back to plan our route cards for the following days walk. This was a very boring monotonous activity, which got harder as it got later. After a few hours of planning and finishing our route cards we had time to chill out and relax. Considering we had an early start in front of us we went to bed about 12.00.

Day 2

I woke up at 7.00 and had a shower to wake me up. We then got our stuff ready and went to the dining area where we had breakfast. After breakfast we got our equipment (waterproofs ect.) ready and met up at the mini busses. Ensuring that we had every thing that we needed for the walk we drove off to the drop off point. The next 4 1/2 hours we were walking following our route card, which at some points got tricky, as there was heavy fog and misleading features. After walking for 4 1/2 hours we met up at the buses and drove back to the centre. We then cleaned off our waterproofs and gave the equipment back. We then packed up our clothes cleaned the dorms and headed to the main building where we waited for our coach to take us back to Bassaleg.

Conclusion

As a group we worked very well as we had a mixture of strengths and characters. I personally thought that I did all right as I could fins where I was on the map the majority of the time and where I was going. The conditions we worse than they were when I went in year 11 and it showed me how it can vary your ability to walk to your destination. Overall I enjoyed the 2-day and would like to do it in A2 and look forward to the camping.