A feat of navigation – perhaps

Decided to go off and start exploring the Inveliever Forest up the road from The Chookery today. Set off in mist and low cloud (same thing, surely – Ed.) and wandered up from Inverliever Lodge. The Forestry Commission are busy building massive new roads into the forests to enable them to haul timber long distances without using public roads, which is a good thing given the size of the timber lorries compared with the single-track roads.
The OS maps are infamous for not showing the true extent of forestry tracks in any case, so some careful thumbing of the map is necessary if you’re interested in keeping trck of where you actually are. After a while, the explorer switch cut in and I decided to follow an old track that wasn’t shown on the map, but which headed off up an identifiable valley. This eventually came out where I hoped it would, between two small hills and onto the edge of the moorland. The highest point on these local hills is Carn Duchare, some 491 metres high and crowned with a trig point. Checking the map showed that this was about two kilometres away, but fortunately there was a forest boundary shown heading in the right general direction and which appeared to correspond with a nearby fence … so I followed it. The scenery was completely lost in the mist and after 45 minutes I realised that the fence wasn’t following the line shown on the map for the forest boundary, but appeared to be heading more northerly than easterly. Eventually the fence stopped its slow ascent and began to descend fairly steeply. This appeared to correspond with the eastern slopes of Carn Duchare on the map, so I decided to head off into the mist to see if I could find it.
By now I was two hours and seven kilometres from the car and not really sure about my location, but, and this is the important thing here, I knew that I only had to return on an easterly bearing from any point I got to and I would find the fence, which was my handrail back to the forest road and the way to the car.
Well, sometimes I surprise myself and in five minutes the trig point appeared out of the mist and my navigational extrapolation was completely justified; very satisfying. Unfortunately, the cloud was so low that there was absolutely nothing to see.
Finally knowing my exact location, I was able to take a bearing to return me to the nearest point of the fence, which I found in about five minutes, and the route home was confident.
Two hours out, and an hour-and-a-half back, which is about right considering I was squarebagging in the forest. The annoying thing is that I missed the opportunity to bag a square due to the poor visibility and it’s right in the top right-hand corner of the hectad I’m working on. Still, it’ll be nice to retrace my steps on a sunny day and see what I missed on this occasion.


One Response to “A feat of navigation – perhaps”

  1. Jude Says:

    All that Scottish mist sure adds an extra dimension to your walking and photography pursuits. No wonder you’re such a dedicated and hardy lot!

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