Navigating England's Coast to Coast walk

Old Feb 18th, 2017, 03:59 PM
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Navigating England's Coast to Coast walk

I'm researching Wainwright's C2C walk for a trip in June of this year. I've read a lot of blogs and gotten much good advice from my readings but I have some concern about competency with compass and ordinance maps which has been recommended on a couple of sites.

The thru hikes I've done in the past had clearly marked routes but it seems that the C2C is different. Maybe my iPhone and it's GPS could be of assistance but can anyone shed some light on how much open country navigation there really is?
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Old Feb 18th, 2017, 07:21 PM
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Take a good gps, say garmin and load it with the C2C track. I have an old garmin gps map with preloaded topo maps that i load with the track. You can take a paper map as back up and learn to use a compass if that takes your fancy, but it really isn't necessary. One thing with iphones: battery life. The GPS of choice should be chargeable, and be able to take aa batteries that you can take with you and buy everywhere.

It's true that signage is spotty in some places. Usually reports or route sites point these out, so you know you'll need to be careful at certain locations

here are track options
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Old Feb 18th, 2017, 07:43 PM
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If you book through a company (there are at least half a dozen) that books your accommodation and transports your luggage from base to base for you, you would usually get a pretty thorough guide and advice on maps.
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Old Feb 18th, 2017, 07:58 PM
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I don't do these fake long-distance routes, but you seen to be describing something very different from the odd bits of the paths between West Cumberland and Robin Hood's Bay I've been over.

England's footpath system isn't about "clearly marked routes." It's an informal cobbling together of well-established rights of way across (generally untracked) private land with local informal agreements to allow access: the range of legal statuses, physical practicalities and local budgets means waymarking varies from spot to spot on every path in the land.

In practice, though, a combination of the waymarking that there is and a decent map almost always gets you along a route painlessly. My experience on this route is that there've always been so many other people on the path anyway you just follow everyone else.

BUT it's your responsibility to ensure your own safety, and I can't personally imagine embarking on a proper walk you've not been on before without the relevant OS 1:25,000 Explorer maps.

I'm not clear what "competency" with maps is. You just read them. Millions of us do so effortlessly, without training, every week: you need to have been brought up in a culture that encourages indolence and stupidity to pretend there's some difficulty about a basic life skill.

If you're unfortunate to live somewhere that doesn't have a government-controlled detailed national mapping service, you'd be well advised investing the first day of a walk learning the OS iconography, as you'd invest a few evenings learning the rudiments of language in a country you'd not been to before. It doesn't hurt to learn how to use a compass, which is about as difficult as learning how to get on a train.

But that's a subtlety. I understand that not 100% of Wainwright's walks are necessarily shown on OS maps (some of his routes stray off legally-determined rights of way, and the OS system is reluctant to be seen to confer legal access), but virtually all major foot routes are, and having the OS to hand, even if you're vague about some of the symbols, is an essential crutch. The single walking aid I rely on most is the big, transparent, plastic wallet for OS maps I hang round my neck. No walk in England is worthwhile without a fair amount of rain: and that wallet makes sure you're able to keep an eye on the map all the time.

I certainly wouldn't rely on a mobile phone's GPS alone on a remote path, since the displays are so hopeless on environmental detail. If there's an app that overlays GPS positioning onto a digitised OS, great (though personally I couldn't cope with the diddy display of phones): otherwise it's obviously sensible these days to carry your GPS device and use it in conjunction with the OS map.

I can't think of a time I've ever actually used a compass: but I don't walk across mountains in foul weather. Following these long-distance treks on a timetable mean you may think you have to - which is why I think they're a rotten idea. Learning the basic map & compass skills before a trek like this, I'd say, is as fundamental as taking a proper course in driving before sitting behind a steering wheel.

Others who'd done the whole thing might have different views. But don't underestimate the navigational benefits of being on a busy path.
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Old Feb 18th, 2017, 09:31 PM
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You can easily buy a small (deck of cards size) battery "pack" for charging devices such as a phone.
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Old Feb 18th, 2017, 10:45 PM
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Mobile phone coverage can be sketchy in the countryside. I wouldn't rely on my mobile, definitely invest in a good map.
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Old Feb 19th, 2017, 03:10 AM
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If you are walking the C2C route as per

it is very easy to follow the map, signage is good in most places but does get damaged from time to time. So get a map and learn how to read it.

If this really is beyond you, and don't worry I biked this route with the head of BA logistics who could not make hide nor hair of the map, then use GPS.

Mobile coverage is dodgy but GPS is perfect across the whole thing (American satalites not metal towers as used by phones) so make sure you have a map APP not goggle maps. I use HERE.
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Old Feb 19th, 2017, 11:00 AM
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Thanks everyone. Very good information and just the kind of confirmation and guidance I needed.
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Old Feb 19th, 2017, 07:51 PM
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>> the head of BA logistics who could not make hide nor hair of the map
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