4 Routines for navigating safely

How to navigate safely on your expedition

(A) Share the navigation tasks among the group 

  • Map for current section of route 
  • Route card 
  • Compass 
  • Timing, ideally with watch 

There should be a different person working on each task, but you must work as a team.  You should take turns.  There will always be another map, compass and route card in the group so, for important decisions, others should be checking. 

In addition, everybody should help the active navigation by: 

  • Looking out for the tick points agreed for the leg you are on 
  • Helping with the pacing to check distance covered 

(B) Follow these routines at each waypoint 

1. STOP 

Set the map to the ground and check the setting with the compass.  Look around and agree that you are where you think.

2. Consider Risk Assessment 
    1. Risks noted on previous leg 
    2. Risks at current position 
    3. Risks on the next leg (extra part of 5 Ds – Danger). Use map and look ahead to see whether you might expect, for instance:
      • Ground that is slippy (Risk of fall) 
      • Ground that is rocky and/or uneven (Risk of fall or twisted ankle) 
      • Ground that is steep (Risk of fall; tiring) 
      • Traffic (including bikes) 
      • Big animals 
      • Low branches that could hit somebody’s face 
      • Weather (too hot, too cold, wet, windy …) 
      • Anything else? 

For each risk, agree what to do (walk slower, change route, clothes …) 

3. Agree 5Ds to next waypoint using Route Card and map
  • Distance – (How far is it?) 
  • Duration – (How long will it take?) 
  • Direction – (Which way should I go?)  
  • Destination – (What should I see at the end of the leg?) 
  • Description – (What will I see along the way?) [Danger?] 
    • Agree ‘tick points’ – things along the way that will confirm where you are.