D of E: Map Skills and Expedition Planning


The belated turn in the weather this year has finally drawn us indoors to work on planning our routes for the spring.

Whilst we enjoyed the Indian Summer; practising navigation in the field and forest, getting to know the Sussex countryside with our maps and learning what we can contribute to a team, it is now of considerable importance to plan our expeditions on paper!


Any successful expedition is a great deal longer in the planning than in the execution. Sir Edmund Hilary's foray up Everest in 1953 actually started three years previously when he was asked to join Eric Shipton's 1951 British reconnaissance of Everest and he only successfully reached the summit in May 1953 to look out from the top of the world.

Our endeavours may be a little more modest but we too must ensure our routes are mapped out and measured to the nearest metre. We must ensure we have all the training we need to find our checkpoints, feed ourselves, shelter ourselves and keep one another safe and healthy. Whilst we can probably leave the oxygen tanks and ice axes at home, we too need to make kits lists and ration menus.

It will be a busy winter before we set off with our packs on our backs!


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