Navigation

Navigation Skills

Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students hit the bush again recently.  The vibes were high and the snow flakes were falling.  The students spent the four days consolidating off track Navigation skills such as walking on a bearing, interpreting micro features in the landscape and observation of vegetation changes.

The group split in to two teams, and were lucky to be accompanied by Instructor and legend Sue Beaumont and Teachers Assistant and champion Ash Kestle.

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Off-Track Navigation

The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently headed to the East Coast for two days of Off-track Navigation.

In the Wielangta State Forest, students honed their navigation skills in challenging (scrubby undergrowth) yet beautiful floristic structure with large eucalyptus towering above.  We had originally planned a four-day trip to the Central Plateau, however a gale warning prevented that.

Students and instructors also had to deal with the giant leeches.  Yeech!

Thanks to all students that attended and Renee and Sue for imparting their navigation knowledge.

Navigation on the Central Plateau

For the final three days before the Adventure Guiding students disappeared into their mid-semester break, they found themselves learning how to not get lost up in the Central Plateau.

Navigation is an essential skill for a guide and we learnt how to use a compass, get a bearing and figure out our direction of travel; how to read a map and identify features such as spurs, gullies, ridges, knolls, crests and other features and then identify these in the landscape (and vice versa).

We learnt that Naismith (a rule for estimating the length of time a distance can be walked in) is an optimist, especially when hiking/stumbling off-track.

This trip was a first for the students in many regards.  The Tombolo class were separated into three smaller groups for this trip and we did not see each other again until we reunited back at the bus on the last day to depart.  It was the first time that many of us had hiked ‘off-track’ which meant slogging through thick scrub, cold creeks and scrambling over boulders, depending on which path the “navigator” had set the group on.  Everyone took turns to lead their group using various navigational techniques to get to their destination, and no-one got lost … for very long.

Not following a track really gave us a new appreciation for the Tassie wilderness and by using natural features in the landscape such as waterways, ridgelines, the contouring of the hills as catching features and handrails (navigational terms) we were able to identify where we were and find our way.

Something that was quite special was getting up to the high plateau and seeing cider gums and cushion plants where wallabies wandered.  It was also our first real winter trip and we experienced some high winds and wet weather, but the first opportunity for some of us (mainlanders) to experience snow/sleet (it’s cold!).

After a particularly windy wet night of wild weather the groups converged almost simultaneously back at the bus.  All a little less dry but more confident and capable in their ability to navigate.  A big thank you to the staff; Gemma, Renee and Tom who spent 6 days out in the field between both classes of students to impart their knowledge and remind us constantly to orientate the map!

As the bus drove back into Hobart and we entered the semester break, we were well on track to becoming Adventure Guides.

 

Navigation

 The TasTAFE Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students had to recently change their plans because of a severe weather warning across the state.  Proving their flexibility, they spent two days finessing their off-track navigation skills on the slopes of kunanyi / Mt Wellington.

kunanyi / Mt Wellington provided plenty of opportunities for the lively discussions regarding the nature of re-entrants, spurs and compass needles and the accuracy of counting paces.  The students are looking forward to soon demonstrating their navigational skills in an off-track multi-day bushwalking environment.

 

Lost Falls

The Certificate III Outdoor Recreation group set off on the first bushwalk for the year to Lost falls in the North East of Tasmania.

With a wonderful high pressure system sitting over Tasmania the group had lunch and photos at the Lost Falls Lookout.  After providing the students with a thorough bushwalk safety briefing we began our hike, in a warm 22 °C, sunny skies with a slight breeze.

This bushwalk was an evaluation bushwalk for all students and Course Coordinator, Renee Harrington and Coordinator of the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation, Nate Welch soon took the group off track, to really test their bushwalking abilities and equipment.

Using maps of the area, a pre-planned route and compasses, we arrived at the highpoint of Crossing Hill, which we had a stunning view of the abundant White Peppermint Eucalyptus, (Eucalypts Pulchella) the steep Sclerophyll valleys, and in the distance the calm, blue waters of Oyster Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula.

Following the ridge line towards the Wye River and introducing the students to the unit ‘Navigating in Controlled Environments‘ we arrived at our destination with an opened and cleared campsite and close to the water, which was just perfect our needs.

The aim of this trip was not only to evaluate the students on their bushwalk abilities, but to also make a connection with all group members, the environment and for Renee and Nate to emulate the standards in which TasTAFE requires their students to conduct themselves on their journey as aspiring Outdoor Recreation professionals.

Navigation Assessment

Navigation:

The process or activity of accurately ascertaining one’s position and planning and following a route.

Considered primordial to some, a skill that has been used throughout the world for thousands of years.  Once considered by 12th century Hugh of St Victor as one of the seven ‘Artes Mechanicae’.  Bringing voyagers, globetrotters and pioneers to the ’edge’ of earth, only to help them see that it is actually round, it has helped us traverse across continents, explore parts of the globe that before it, were only known to the wild, and today, more than ever, navigation leads the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students to areas off trail, and deep, deep, within the bush.

The students piled into the bus and made their way towards the central highlands of Tasmania.  Bronte Park awaited their arrival.  The forecast showed flood worthy rain, little to no sun, and temperatures closer to sub zero than double digits.  The students knew the journey they were to embark upon was nothing short of an adventure.  Luckily, that’s exactly what each and everyone of them signed up for.


We spent a total of four days traversing the highlands of Skullbone Plains.  The group was split into two, each with an assessor.  We were assessed on our ability to get the group from point A to B in the most efficient manner whilst using a topographical map and a magnetic compass.  Upon arriving to the given point, the students were asked to justify their movements and positioning by identifying micro features, distance travelled and techniques used to arrive at their given destination.  Students had to demonstrate competency in leading three times to pass the assessment.

After a long cold week, the students hopped back on the bus and made their way back to TasTAFE, where beer and chips became the primary focus of the remaining hours of the day and night.

Till next time!
Enjoy!

 

Bushwalking & Navigation at Lost Falls

Lost Falls

On the 5th of July the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students ventured to Tasmania’s North East for a 4 day off-track bushwalking adventure – or more appropriately referred to as  scrub-bashing!

This trip followed a week of Navigation day trips at Dysart, a much easier terrain to navigate, but this time we were heading to gullies, scrub and river crossings for a true off track experience.  The forecast was looking wet and our maps showed some challenging terrain as we stood in the car park at Lost Falls, discussing how the next few days would unfold.

We split into two groups with our instructors – Richard Youd in one and Nate Welch in the other, and we were off!  Both groups experienced challenging terrain, scrub, rain and long moments of confusion.  However, we also experienced the beauty of the Tasmanian bush, success as we roamed along ridge lines and immense team building and ‘lightbulb’ moments as we overcame our personal and group challenges.

All in all, the trip was a huge learning experience with a significant improvement in our navigation skills and confidence in leading groups. Everyone maintained top enthusiasm making it a fun adventure to be a part of.  Thanks again to all the Certificate IV’s for being awesome!

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RTO Code:  60142