Coast is partnering with the Ramblers each month to promote coastal walking. In this month’s column, SAM KNIGHT, mountain leader, reveals how a new video guide makes taking a trek easier for everyone.
Among all the barriers to getting outdoors, one of the most common is also one of the easiest to solve: the fear of getting lost. According to a Ramblers study, 21 per cent of people aged between 18-54 cited concerns about losing their way as a major reason why they didn’t go walking. So we decided to do something about it.
A Beginner’s Guide to Navigation, our series of free-to-access videos, makes finding your way in the outdoors simple. From fundamental techniques to practical advice, these short, accessible videos are packed full of tips, tricks and tactics to demystify the art of navigation and equip everyone with the skills they need to get out exploring.
So whether you’re venturing out to discover remote parts of the coast or strolling through town, you’ll have everything you need to find your way with ease. And there’s no need to know your tracks from your trails: these user-friendly tutorials are tailored to cater to individuals with little to no prior experience, making them accessible to everyone.
Want to put your skills to the test? The Llyn Peninsula is known as the Land’s End of north Wales – and it’s the perfect place to practise finding your way.
You’ll start off in the picturesque village of Aberdaron, wandering through its whitewashed cottages and if the tide is out, along its wide sandy beach. Keep an eye out for 12th century St Hywyn’s church – the Welsh poet RS Thomas was vicar here from 1967 to 1978. The nearby Y Gegin Fawr (The Big Kitchen), where pilgrims were fed before continuing on to Bardsey Island, still serves a similar function as a cafe.
Heading along the coast path towards Porth Meudwy, where the boats leave for Bardsey, you’ll make your way around the peninsula in the direction of Braich y Pwll, the headland known as the Land’s End of north Wales, and the prominent hill of Mynydd Mawr (Big Mountain). The cliffs are home to a variety of seabirds and keep an eye out for the chough, the emblem of the Llyn Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which you can recognise from its harsh call, red legs and beak.
A modest climb up Mynydd Mawr will take you to the old coastguard station and a splendid view of the peninsula and the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance. Follow a path across the heath close to the coast towards Mynydd Anelog, another excellent viewpoint. Heading north, the path keeps close to the cliff edge, passing the promontories of Dinas Fawr and Dinas Bâch, to reach Porth Oer. Porth Oer is commonly known as Whistling Sands – the sands are said to whistle underfoot as you walk along them.
From the beach, follow the access lane inland to the road and turn right. Here you can put your navigation skills to the test: if you have an OS map, turn left along the farm lane and follow the inland route with way markers for the North Wales Pilgrims Way back to Aberdaron. If you prefer a slightly shorter route back, stay on the road and keep to the cycle route.
For full route instructions, visit: ramblers.org.uk/go-walking/routes/llyn-peninsula-gwynedd
Read our latest feature with the Ramblers here.
THE PERFECT PREPARATON
A Beginner’s Guide to Navigation is made up of 17 short videos, guiding you from the basics of reading a map to more advanced techniques. Presented by experienced mountain leaders Sam Knight and Lucy Wallace, they’re short, snappy and jargon free. So whether you’re looking to learn how to use a compass, find your way using natural landmarks or work out exactly where you are at all times, they’re the perfect preparation for taking your first step into nature.
And the training isn’t just limited to physical maps. For many of us, using our phone is the main way we navigate. So we’ve asked our experts for some tips on how to make the most of your phone’s features and how you can make sure you keep safe and secure while out and about.
We know that finding your way in the outdoors can be intimidating. But with this easy-to-follow video series, you’ll learn all the skills you need to navigate with ease, opening up a whole new world to explore. So only one question remains: are you ready to embrace adventure?
A Beginner’s Guide to Navigation is available to everyone on the Ramblers’ website and our dedicated YouTube channel. Grouped into an easy to save playlist, you can choose to watch all of our short videos in order or pick and choose the skills you want to focus on.
And with each video being roughly two minutes long, you’ll be out exploring the great outdoors in no time. Embrace the spirit of adventure by visiting ramblers.org.uk/go-walking-hub/beginners-guide-navigation.
THREE MORE TO TRY…
Want to keep exploring? Check out these three alternative routes:
Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire
A circular walk perfect for wildlife lovers, exploring Frampton Marsh, a RSPB nature reserve and one of the largest expanses of salt marsh in the world, and along the coast with views out over The Wash. tinyurl.com/mp3ppraw
St Aldhelm’s Head, Dorset
Starting from the beautiful village of Worth Matravers, some spectacular coastal walking takes you to St Aldhelm’s Head where you can visit the coastguard station and the historic little Norman chapel. tinyurl.com/2akwsaj5
Crimdon Dene, County Durham
Exploring Crimdon Dene beach, one of the finest in County Durham, and the former Hart to Haswell railway, this short walk takes you along Durham’s coastline as well as delving into an inland nature reserve. tinyurl.com/td526yp9