Open crossings...class exercise

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Mark R
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Open crossings...class exercise

Post by Mark R » Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:44 pm

I was interested by the other thread on crossings, but thought this deserved a fresh thread.

I've only ever done one open crossing above fifteen miles. It was, by the way, rather boring...and there was nothing much to look at.

BUT anyway, this is the trip... Lynmouth (mouth of the East Lyn River) to Nash Point in south Wales.

Map

Tides really hoon across the Bristol Channel, to simplify (which is the only way I can understand it), they flow east on the flood, west on the ebb. Very fast.

Okay, I know how I did it - by the simplest method I could think of - but wouldn't claim my way as the right way, in fact I'm amazed I ever got across...and I'm more interested to hear, how would you do it????
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Douglas Wilcox
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route plan

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:24 pm

09:00 0.0 1 Depart Lynmouth on A39 [Countisbury Hill] (North-East) for 15.9 mi
09:24 15.9 Continue (East) on Local road(s) for 0.3 mi
09:25 16.2 Continue (East) on Periton Road for 0.6 mi
09:26 16.8 Continue (East) on Hopcott Road for 0.7 mi
09:27 17.5 Turn RIGHT (South-East) onto A39 [Alcombe Road] for 0.6 mi
09:28 18.1 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 43 yds
09:28 18.1 Exit roundabout onto A39 for 20.4 mi
10:01 38.5 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 76 yds
10:01 38.5 Exit roundabout onto A39 for 0.7 mi
10:02 39.2 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 87 yds
10:02 39.3 Exit roundabout onto A39 [New Road] for 2.1 mi
10:05 41.3 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 54 yds
10:05 41.4 Exit roundabout onto A39 [Quantock Road] for 1.1 mi
10:08 42.5 Bear LEFT (East) onto Broadway for 10 yds
10:08 42.5 Continue (East) on A38 [Broadway] for 0.5 mi
10:09 43.0 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 43 yds
10:09 43.0 Exit roundabout onto A38 [Bristol Road] for 1.0 mi
10:11 44.0 At roundabout, take the FIRST exit for 65 yds
10:11 44.1 Exit roundabout onto A38 [Bristol Road] for 1.2 mi
10:13 45.3 At roundabout, take the THIRD exit for 109 yds
10:13 45.4 Exit roundabout onto A39 for 0.4 mi
10:13 45.7 At roundabout, take the FIRST exit for 10 yds
10:14 45.7 Exit roundabout onto Ramp for 0.2 mi towards M5 / The Midlands / London / Bristol
10:14 46.0 Continue (North) on M5 for 28.7 mi
10:38 74.7 At M5 Exit 18A, continue (North-East) on Ramp for 0.8 mi towards M49 / M4W / South Wales / Cardiff,Newport
10:40 75.5 Continue (North-East) on M49 for 4.7 mi
10:44 80.2 At roundabout, take the FIRST exit for 10 yds
10:44 80.2 Exit roundabout onto Ramp for 0.3 mi towards M4 / South Wales / Cardiff, Newport
10:44 80.6 Continue (West) on M4 for 7.5 mi
10:51 88.0 At M4 Exit 23A, stay on M4 (West) for 3.9 mi towards M4 / Cardiff / Caerdydd / Newport / Casnewydd
10:54 92.0 At M4 Exit 24, stay on M4 (West) for 3.2 mi towards M4 / Cardiff / Caerdydd
10:57 95.1 At M4 Exit 25A, stay on M4 (West) for 5.9 mi towards M4 / Cardiff / Caerdydd
11:02 101.0 At M4 Exit 29, stay on M4 (West) for 19.5 mi towards M4 / Cardiff (N and W) / Caerdydd (G and GN)
11:18 120.5 At M4 Exit 35, bear LEFT (West) onto Ramp for 0.2 mi towards A473 / Pen-Coed
11:19 120.8 At roundabout, take the FIRST exit for 54 yds
11:19 120.8 Exit roundabout onto A473 for 1.8 mi
11:22 122.6 At roundabout, take the THIRD exit for 174 yds
11:22 122.7 Exit roundabout onto A473 [Waterton Road] for 1.1 mi
11:24 123.8 At roundabout, take the FIRST exit for 10 yds
11:24 123.8 Exit roundabout onto A48 [Crack Hill] for 3.5 mi
11:30 127.3 Bear RIGHT (South) onto B4268 for 1.7 mi
11:34 129.0 Continue (South) on B4270 [Llantwit Major Road] for 2.3 mi
11:38 131.3 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 76 yds
11:38 131.4 Exit roundabout onto Local road(s) for 32 yds
11:38 131.4 Bear LEFT (South) onto Local road(s) for 142 yds
11:38 131.5 Bear LEFT (South-East) onto Local road(s) for 43 yds
11:38 131.5 At roundabout, take the SECOND exit for 32 yds
11:39 131.5 Exit roundabout onto High Street for 0.3 mi
11:40 131.8 Continue (South) on Commercial Street for 109 yds
11:41 131.9 Turn LEFT (East) onto East Street for 153 yds
11:42 132.0 Bear LEFT (East) onto Boverton Road for 131 yds
11:43 132.1 Turn RIGHT (South) onto Stallcourt Avenue for 76 yds
11:44 132.1 Turn LEFT (East) onto Barons Close for 65 yds
11:44 132.2 2 Arrive Llantwit Major

Douglas :o)

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:28 pm

Obviously I don't have all the info for planning the trip here, but having ventured into the Bristol channel before I know what you mean by "hooning".

I would probably look at setting off maybe 1/2 an hour before low tide and paddling due north making as much easy ground over slack water as possible. Then as the flood tide starts to pick up it will carry me east and hopefully I would arrive at Nash point shortly before or around the time of maximum flow, which should be slightly reduced that close to the coast. This would if the tides run directly east-west be a 90 degree approach, but I have a feeling the tide will be running to the SE slightly so it would probably be a shallow ferry.

There are of course a number of factors - if there is a tide race and overfalls at Nash point I might want to get there at slack (high) water. My preference would be to aim to finish whilst the tide is still flooding and carrying me inland, if I aim for exactly high water, or slightly after the ebb will be trying to carry me out to sea and I really want to avoid that desperately plugging against the tide for 6 hours before I can make headway again! I could aim to arrive for slack low water but then I would have to ferry hard pointing upstream during the early part of the trip, and the first rule of any kayaking is to make the flow work for you. I guess the earliest I would really want to leave is 2 hours before low water, even then the initial hour is going to be fighting the current, but if features at my destination demand arrival near slack water I would have to accept that.

I have assumed 15 land miles will take me 3 hours, as I will probably be slower if loaded I will definitely use a plan which remains safe if I've underestimated the time.

JIM

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Post by ChrisS » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:29 pm

Start half an hour before HW Dover (i.e. Lynmouth HW -5.5hrs I think). Paddle NE for 5 hours.

Slack water occurs half way through my journey with more or less equal and opposite tidal drift either side which cancel out giving a nobrainer dead reckoning course to steer.
Last edited by ChrisS on Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Zoe Newsam
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Paddling in a straight line for 6 hours...

Post by Zoe Newsam » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:40 pm

Like you said Mark, keeping it simple.

This is all theoretical obviously as I don't know the area & don't have a copy of the chart or pilot book!

On map, draw a line from departure point to destination. At destination, draw a line representing the distance the tidal flow would carry you in 6 hours( or less if you're a speed demon!), remembering to take into account whether the flow changes direction. Join the end of this to the departure point, and you can take a bearing from this line for your 'course to steer'. Then correct as intinctively as poss for wind, as that bit isn't an exact science. When I'm rich enough to buy the pilot books for the bits of the UK I haven't paddled yet, I'll work it out properly!

Zoe

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:50 pm

15 miles + Bristol Channel = SO boring I can't see any reason to do it. I'm with Douglas.

15 miles + anywhere = would want a VERY good reason to do it.

Interesting little excercise though! Mike.

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Re: Paddling in a straight line for 6 hours...

Post by Mark R » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:01 pm

zoenewsam wrote:This is all theoretical obviously as I don't know the area & don't have a copy of the chart or pilot book!
Nether did I. All I had was the (somewhat guessed) info above, and a rough idea of when high/ low water would be for Lynmouth, given that I'd arrived there the night before.
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Zoe Newsam
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:0)

Post by Zoe Newsam » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:06 pm

Guidebook wrote:
Nether did I. All I had was the (somewhat guessed) info above, and a rough idea of when high/ low water would be for Lynmouth, given that I'd arrived there the night before.
Fair Play to you! Just shows, keeping it simple is the best way!
Zoe

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Post by Geoff Seddon » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:56 am

Just returned from the pub again, but didn't you forget to flip your vector Zoe?

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Re: Paddling in a straight line for 6 hours...

Post by Bertie.. » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:44 am

guidebook wrote:
zoenewsam wrote:This is all theoretical obviously as I don't know the area & don't have a copy of the chart or pilot book!
Nether did I. All I had was the (somewhat guessed) info above, and a rough idea of when high/ low water would be for Lynmouth, given that I'd arrived there the night before.
Just goes to support what I tell my students, theoretical navigation is all very well and good, but in reality it's all about actually getting from A to B once your in your kayak. If you can't just turn up, estimate and go, then you're in trouble if halfway through your planned journey a factor you hadn't considered scuppers all your best laid plans..

Pouring over charts and working it all out precisely is great classroom stuff, and argueably much more enjoyable over a pint or two, although I find the maths gets more difficult.

It's worth thinking about it 5 star assessment terms. My 'navigation' exercise was an hour in a room. I then spent two days on and off, actually having to tell people how to get from A to B from my cockpit without workig it all out in a classroom before hand... ;-)

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Zoe Newsam
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Theory vs practical

Post by Zoe Newsam » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:58 am

What I wrote above is the theoretical way (mine, anyway), like I said. In reality I've never drawn a line on a map (I don't use charts as a rule- map & pilot book always works fine), and I've always got there ok. Guesstimation & judgement from experience of wind & tide always seems to work fine. Having said that, I haven't done a crossing (in a kayak) yet where the target was small & not in sight until the latter stages.

So, Bertie, how's it done?

And Mark, out of curiosity, how did you do it?

Zoe ;0)

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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:55 am

oh, my general approach would still be to work it out as a paper exercise so I know what I'm looking at.. ;-)

but after that, once on the water, I'd work to the nearest 10 degrees (not rounding, but bearing into wind/tide to allow for it) as even with my uniquely excellent eyesight I still struggle to read a deck mounted compass in anything other than flat water.

Often, I'll just say as long as I'm on a bearing on the upstream side then I can always drift down onto target at later stage. An ideal strategy for hitting small islands like Lundy, or the Scilly Isles.

Also, If I can't see my target, I'd try and reappraise my position periodicially to work out where I am and whether I'm on course. If not, I either work out how to get back on course, or chose another course depending on severity of missing target etc..

If I can see my target I'd generally just work of a suitable transit. After all, it's just a big ferryglide from one eddy to another to river paddler..

I guess what I'm saying is that working it out in detail doesn't allow you to accomodate for all the variables in it. Whereas, having some strategies which accomodate for the variables will work better.

It's worth remembering that our ancestors in this great sailing nation crossed open oceans with either no means at all of working out their position or with huge inaccuracies!

Of course, I wouldn't cheat and use a GPS like some people I know, as knowing my luck the batteries would run out, and whilst swapping the spares I'd drop one over the side.
;-)

Bertie..

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Post by Zoe Newsam » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:37 am

That's what I thought. ;0)

As far as I can see the theoretical method comes into play far more when the target is not in sight. I suppose it's particularly important if you're in low visibility, so you don't keep paddling past the target & miss it altogether... I've sailed across the channel & to the Scillies, but of course then you've got GPS. I don't carry a GPS when I'm paddling, so the biggest deal I guess is keeping track of your position. Dead Reckoning, in other words. The way all the 'great navigators' did it until pretty much this century. And let's not forget the Inuit, something tells me they didn't have GPS either...;0)

Zoe

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:38 am

Bertie.. wrote:Of course, I wouldn't cheat and use a GPS like some people I know, as knowing my luck the batteries would run out, and whilst swapping the spares I'd drop one over the side.
;-)

Bertie..
It's not really cheating, it's just a quicker easier way to check your position than dead reckoning. (keep a track on the chart/map so you can revert to DR if the unit fails). However, start the crossing with fresh batteries, even if you don't drop any swapping them over, you will be drifting for the 5 minutes it takes..... and off course by the end of it.

GPS is especially useful in awful weather when you can't see your transits, again best not to focus on it but use occasionally to make sure you are on the course you think you are!

It's all much easier if you can see the destination! Crossing Enard bay with Geoff, Phil, Nigel, Chris and others a couple of years back was my longest crossing. We didn't cut accross a tidestream but also failed to head far enough out to properly use the one that was due to give us a lift all the way there. One of the problems was that the destination was lost in the haze and that the white building most could see was not the lighthouse so we needed to head several degrees west of it. Despite that my most challenging crossing is still one of my first - Steep Holm to Flat Holm, not very far, but by eck does the tide motor through the gap!

JIM

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Fri Feb 25, 2005 11:58 am

Bertie.. wrote: but after that, once on the water, I'd work to the nearest 10 degrees (not rounding, but bearing into wind/tide to allow for it) as even with my uniquely excellent eyesight I still struggle to read a deck mounted compass in anything other than flat water.
Confessing to neither liking nor having done any "big crossings" - the longest I've sat in a boat slogging from A to B and bored witless would be 2.5 hours - (do I not like them because I've never done them, or dont do them because I don't like them . . . . ?).

I see that the Silva 70 on my deck is graduated in 5 degree steps anyway. Thats a lot of room for error, and when combined with the movement of the boat, creates even more.

From my hill-walking days I seem to remember the futility of trying to navigate on a compass bearing, holding the compass in your hand, without having something as a physical reference. The same would apply at sea.

I like to see where I'm going - and have something to see - LOL.

Anyway, so how did you do it Mark? Seems like a classic one for Lauries principle of letting some flood push you east and use the remains of the ebb to bring you weat and onto target.

Mike.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:15 pm

MikeB wrote:Anyway, so how did you do it Mark?
As far as I understand the answers above - and I don't understand them all - I think Jim was nearest. Although, Douglas' plan sounded pretty good to me.


1] Wait for low tide.
2] Launch.
3] Paddle north for a few hours.
4] When it looks like you're within a couple of miles of Wales, alter course to suit.


That's it. Not for a moment suggesting it's the best or right way, but it's what I did and it seemed to work.
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:21 pm

Guidebook wrote:
Not for a moment suggesting it's the best or right way
I'm not sure there is a 'right' way. I think you've got to be flexible & do whatever works.

Zoe

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tpage
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open crossings

Post by tpage » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:50 pm

Im with Mike on this one- Im not a fan of big open crossings- I think the longest Ive done is out to Ailsa Craig (9miles or so) then back. Very tedious boring paddle - but worth the effort to get to the island and do some exploring. I much prefer sticking to coastlines or island hopping- having something to look at on the way. I couldnt imagine planning a large open crossing just for the sake of it. The actual paddle to somewhere like St Kilda must be mind numbing- but then again worthwile to get there and explore the islands. I still dont understand why people use treadmills and bike in the gym when they can go for a run or cycle in the countryside- im i loosing the plot here or what?t

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Post by MikeB » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:06 pm

Not lost the plot Tony, just lucky enough to have an objective view on life and to be able to enjoy our open spaces!

I'm going to spend 4 hours sitting in a car this evening in order to get my weekend exercise in Glencoe - - -

Always amuses me when I see folk driving to a gym to get excercise either by sitting on a bike going nowhere or pounding a running machine thing to no good effect.

That said, the thought of cycling on most urban roads fills me with even more dread than trying to find somewhere like St Kilda in the fog, on a compass bearing, (with Mark LOL)

As to "technique" Mark - did it work? Yes. Thats ok then.

Mike.

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Post by Zoe Newsam » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:25 pm

MikeB wrote:
I'm going to spend 4 hours sitting in a car this evening in order to get my weekend exercise in Glencoe - - -
Say Hello to the Clachaig for me- I used to work there...
And if it's on, enjoy a pint of Atlas 3 Sisters. Beautiful. :0)

Zoe

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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:33 pm

...the Heather Ale is much nicer ;-)

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Mark R
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Re: open crossings

Post by Mark R » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:41 pm

tpage wrote:I couldnt imagine planning a large open crossing just for the sake of it.
I did it because I was working my way up the coast...the crossing wasn't done in isolation.
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JohnC

Post by JohnC » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:45 pm

MikeB wrote: That said, the thought of cycling on most urban roads fills me with even more dread than trying to find somewhere like St Kilda in the fog, on a compass bearing, (with Mark LOL)

Mike.

Cycling on urban roads is just a matter of having the right approach. "I have the same rights on this road as you and woe betide anyone who disagrees!". There a few drivers with damaged cars or reduced no claims as a result but in the end the health benefits outweigh the risks.

Going back to the subject of navigation I'd agree with heading north on the last of the ebb and then getting carried back in on the flood. Just remember to check which side of your target you are when you get to shore. I've made this sort of mistake in the hills and after hitting the right path a few hundred metres from my target at night proceeded to run about 2km the wrong way.


John

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Re: open crossings

Post by tp nli » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:30 pm

guidebook wrote:
tpage wrote:I couldnt imagine planning a large open crossing just for the sake of it.
I did it because I was working my way up the coast...the crossing wasn't done in isolation.
Didnt mean to imply that YOU were planning the crossing just for the sake of it- just making a personal veiw point. So where were you going anyway.? tony

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:41 pm

zoenewsam wrote: Say Hello to the Clachaig for me- I used to work there...
And if it's on, enjoy a pint of Atlas 3 Sisters. Beautiful. :0)

Zoe
Yes, I like the Clachaig although having once been refused a request for soup & sandwiches at 8.45pm as an "about -to-be-resident", I took myself and my bag and stayed in the Glencoe Hotel instead . (Highland hospitality - not! Probably when you wern't working there Zoe - LOL). Like the bar though and had many a guid nicht there in front of the fire.

Using a B&B in Onich this time though, and frequenting the Loch Leven Hotel for the social side of this SCA trip! Luxury or what?
Bertie.. wrote:...the Heather Ale is much nicer ;-)
Hah yes - good beer that!

Mike.

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Re: open crossings

Post by maryinoxford » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:46 pm

tpage wrote: I couldnt imagine planning a large open crossing just for the sake of it. The actual paddle to somewhere like St Kilda must be mind numbing- but then again worthwile to get there and explore the islands.
The way to do that is the cruise-boat supported trip; you and the kayaks go as passengers and luggage, until you get to the place that's rewarding to paddle. I haven't done it yet, but I'd like to, one of these years...

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Douglas Wilcox
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GPS

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:56 pm

Bertie>Of course, I wouldn't cheat and use a GPS

Hi Bertie,

Although I have only been kayaking for a couple of years, I have sailed and hillwalked and round various bits of Scotland since the late 1950's. Because I can navigate with watch, map, tide tables and compass (I can even use a sextant) I was a luddite and refused to buy a GPS until 18 months ago. Now I have two! I would not be without them now and in no way consider them to be cheating.

Is anyone else here old enough to be able to use a slide rule or log tables? Even if you are, I bet you use a calculator. I would not dream of using a sextant now, even in a yacht offshore. A basic Etrex costs £85 quid which is not much more than a deck mounted Silva compass, so they are not even too expensive. If you set it to battery save mode (not a problem since kayaks travel slowly), you get over 24 hours out of a high capacity pair of rechargeable batteries and about 20 hours out of duracells.

Since I am happy to use a compass, which might have been considered a cheat by Eric the Red on his way to Vine land, I am now more than happy to use a GPS along with my maps and charts, (although my GPS map 76CS has all of the Scottish charts, even the large scale ones loaded in memory!)

If I was the sort of person that enjoys building kayaks out of stuff found on the beach and eats and wears only the flesh of creatures I have hunted and killed with my bare hands (or perhaps a spear with a flint head) then, perhaps, I would forgo the pleasure of using watch, compass, maps AND GPS!

I was watching a very interesting programme about Inuit life on satellite TV the other night. The elder was bemoaning the youth of today, what with their drinking, antisocial behaviour and all. But he was running a programme to reintroduce Inuit neds to traditional values and hunting culture. He was taking them out through the ice floes in a very tasty looking, long hunting boat with a 100 horse four stroke Yamaha on the back, a GPS unit and a fishfinder. Way to go!!!

Douglas :o)

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