I can’t really remember when my love of maps started. I do remember doing the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Challenge when I was 14 or 15 and I don’t know if it was during this or at some other time, when I was looking at a map, and looking around me, and suddenly everything clicked into place. That church I could see there….. yes, it was right here on the map in front of me. That ridgeline I can see there….. with the sheepfold at one end…. are these groups of lines here on the map. Once you have set the map, ie aligned the map to north using your compass (at a push just using defining landmarks will do too), you can find anything you want!
A couple of years ago I went on a Mountain Navigation and Wild Camping course, run by Backcountry Survival. We were taught the much finer details of navigation, how to orient yourself in the dark/fog/heavy cloud, how to measure distances and be able to inch along the map as if we were completely blind. We spent three days navigating ourselves around the Cairngorms and camping in the mountains. I loved it. I love deciphering the Ordnance Survey maps; the detail of the landscape that is on them is really remarkable.
So, one of my pleasures in the Peak District is plotting new routes to go and run. Pouring over a map allows you to explore an area. See what paths link one part to another. There are so many possibilities, so many different and varied parts of the Peak District I don’t think I’ll ever explore it all fully. But I’ll have fun trying! If you are coming to stay in the cottage and would like a bit of help plotting an adventure I would be very happy to assist.