Did you know that you can still practise your navigation skills at home? There are lots of ways you can do this … from simply getting a map of your local area and finding the bearings to certain buildings, to estimating the distance and time it will take you to walk somewhere and testing it out. However, something a bit more meaty and interesting is using No-Mad’s navigation puzzles – and these can be done from the comfort of your sofa with a cup of tea (or other beverage!) in hand.
Whether you are a walking/mountain leader, or just enjoy doing your own personal walking off the beaten track, these navigation puzzles test the skills everyone should have.
There are currently 9 challenges, however, a new one is added roughly every week – so you have no excuse for getting bored! I have been doing them with a friend over zoom. We both do it at the same time, and see if we agree with each other. It’s a great way to make sure you are doing it correctly, and to help each other out. If you can explain it well, then you know you really do understand it! Doing it with someone else also allows you to discuss your thoughts and the reasons behind your decisions – all valuable skills.
To be honest, I am not sure if I have a personal favourite, as they are all so different, and good in their own right. Puzzle one is a great as you follow some nav clues, collect letters as you work your way around a map, and then enter them into a URL to get a beautiful photo of some bronze age history – this is a great introduction to using some basic navigation skills.
I also love a bit of detective work, so puzzle three appealed to my inner detective. During this puzzle, I even learnt about some new map symbols. Did you know that gothic font means the site is archaeological but not Roman? I’m not going to say anything more though, as wouldn’t want to give the game away! A friend and I are considering the Silva Great Lakeland 3 Day event, so I roped her into doing puzzle four with me. We both came up with our routes of how we would get between points and discussed what we had – thankfully we pretty much always agreed on the same action plan, which bodes well for the Great Lakeland event!!
I love a bit of maths (sorry that is the truth as well!), so using Naismith’s rule in Puzzle 6 was right up my street. Did you know Naismith’s rule was first used in UK Law in 1996? For more random facts check out the puzzle itself! Naismith’s rule works on the time it takes an average person to cover a certain distance, which is 12 minutes for every kilometre, and 1 extra minute for every 10m of height gained. And if you want to test your maths even further, or just learn more interesting facts, then look up puzzle seven. And linguists do not fear, if maths is not your strength, then puzzle eight where you learn about the Welsh language will certainly be one for you – who knew the Welsh alphabet consisted of 29 letters, with double letters counting as one letter?
These navigation puzzles will test your general map skills such as contours, coordinates, bearings, distances and map symbols, and if one of them doesn’t take your fancy, then try a different one. They all work independently from each other, so don’t worry if you are no good at contours for example (although this is a key navigational skill!), just move onto the next one.
If you don’t have the correct paper maps, then don’t worry, I didn’t have a paper map for most of the areas, but still managed to complete them using Ordnance Survey maps online. Another option could be Bing maps and switching from the road setting to ordnance survey. You can also use Harvey Maps for some of the puzzles if those are your ‘go to’ maps!
Although not all the answers are on the website, either do it with a friend, and you can see if you’re both in agreement, or email No-Mad your answer and they will very happily reply. After all, it stops you being tempted to cheat and have a sneak preview at the answers!!
These puzzles are great to keep your skills up if you can’t go out, or during the winter when you may not feel like standing in the pouring rain to keep your nav up to date. So whether you want to keep up your CPD and skills, or simply enjoy a challenge and want to learn something new, get onto No-Mad and try these puzzles out. Now where’s that cuppa – its time for Puzzle 9 to commence!
Pit your wits against No-Mads puzzles and see how many you can do – https://www.no-mad.org/post/navigation-puzzle