Even more beading marvellous

To carry on from Steve’s previous post regarding the use of ranger beads, I headed out to this fair stretch of woodland myself last week, intent on trying out this method of pace counting.

I decided to be bold and go for the most difficult way I could think of for testing this method in this particular location. I decided to strike out on a bearing directly through the woodland, heading for a junction of two footpaths a kilometre and a half away. That involved going up and down hills, pushing through thick undergrowth and simply strolling across open areas.

Well, I would love to report that I hit the junction bang on, but sadly that was not the case. I had been allowing 75 steps per 100m and that turned out to be a massive over-estimation. When I came to the path too early I didn’t trust it. In fact I reckoned on having another 100 metres or so to go still.

I carried on for a bit and having realised my mistake I decided  to search around. I had actually only missed the junction by about 20 metres to the right, which I considered not too bad from a first time ‘following a bearing’ point of view; especially considering the terrain and not being able to fix on a distant point to walk to. However, by getting the distance wrong I definitely would have sailed right by in an unknown area.

Measuring distance through the wooods by pace-counting is definitely going to take a lot more practice before I feel I can rely on it; especially bearing in mind this test was over a pretty short distance.

After that I decided to test out the ranger beads while following clear pathways for a couple of kms. I have to say that when walking along in the open it was an amazingly accurate way of  measuring distance against the O/S map; I was truly surprised by it. And it was great fun too (it really was).

For now, definitely a new tool to the navigation kit when crossing open ground, but not something to be relied on yet in the forest.

Give it a try.


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