Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

Navigation Courses

A blog is not a blog without an occasional rant, so…

It strikes me that the world of navigation training has strayed a little off course. If you type “navigation courses” into Google you get nearly five and a half million results. I’d be prepared to wager that more than five million of these are associated with ‘traditional’ training. To my mind the majority of these are falling between two stools. They focus on using tools but not the best ones. The two ends of the spectrum are electronics and nature. Nobody, myself included, argues that natural methods are more accurate than electronics when it is working. Equally, nobody in their right mind would want to challenge someone holding a working GPS to a position-fixing competition using compass back-bearings. Where am I going with this?

Well, why do we concentrate the vast majority of our training and learning in the area that is now neither the most accurate nor the most resilient? Electronic navigation is the most accurate when it works and natural navigation cannot break. I am not suggesting that we don’t continue to learn how to use compasses and other tools that are less accurate and not immune to failure, I am just questioning whether we should have so many eggs in those baskets at the expense of natural awareness. Would we not be better off spending a small fraction of that time studying the world around us without any tools at all?