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river cocker

November 2021

outdoor activities lake district and training

navigation training

November 2021 – Navigation Training, Canoeing & ow no…



Sorry, a blatant plug here… Don’t forget we sell Gift Vouchers for any of our activities. A half/full day, or even multiple days can be purchased. And remember if you’ve been with Rock n Ridge before then we will look after you price wise!

We can also send you a PDF that is easily printed off and made into, or put into a card to be given at Christmas time or whatever the occasion.

Gift Vouchers: Here

Navigation Training.

Well November started off well. Kicked off with some navigation training. Navigation is one of those skills that can take awhile to get the hang of, and then as is most things you can still refine and tweak 20 years on.

I remember learning myself – and being on the receiving end of some navigation training. I remember thinking it’s like voodoo, or black magic! How does it work, finding and locating a pinpoint of a blade of grass on an ordnance survey map?! And then through practice and having a ‘tool box’ of navigation techniques at your fingertips you can pull out and use at your disposal is pretty cool. Similar to all outdoor skills, you use what’s in your toolbox (a climber and their knots for example) at a chosen and preferred time.

Break it down

When you’re teaching a day or day’s navigation training, you have to be careful not to overload someone especially if this is brand new. It can be overwhelming at first, but hopefully through the years of doing this I chop it up as if you were to eat an elephant. Not they I have by the way, as their tusks would get caught in your teeth…and I love elephants 😉 ow and I’m pescetarian.


Where were we..? Ahh yes November started good. There was the first river of the season completed. After all October/November is the start of the paddling season. Rivers go up, fishing rights are mostly off (had a fair share of angry fisherman just waiting to complain as you carefully meander by) Canoeing has transferable skills similar to navigation training. For a start you really need to plan your trip on an ordnance survey map. This helps obviously on where you are heading. But more importantly what to expect. For example, drops in elevation, sharp bends in the river, waterfalls and the canoeists dread…weirs. Which often have sharp spikes hidden under the water waiting for a tired and not paying much attention kayaker/canoeist!

Alright Cocker?!

The river Cocker is a 9km trip that runs from the bottom of Crummock water and terminates at Southwaite weir – is runnable funnily enough. The river carries on though into another days paddling but this is where I was planning to end. As the main problem is how do you get back to the car once you’ve finished? I now combine two activities into one and stash a bike at the finish and then it’s normally an enjoyable ride back to the start. But, but just remember especially at the start of the paddling season, to bring your bike lock keys with you in your canoe…doh!! Off I set with fading light after quickly checking the map for the quickest route back to the car – Just like navigation training again!

On yer bike…oops!

Luckily I hitched and managed to get two lifts back each bringing me nearer to the start. I actually forgot about hitching thinking ‘hmm not sure a bloke on his own will get picked up’ maybe it was the bare leg that put people off…but being in remote Cumbria and like minded outdoorsy type people passing it was pretty straightforward, and a nice nod to kindness in humans. Which with our busy day-to-day lives we can brush over or lose faith in. So all told a pretty enjoyable start to November but…

Ow no!

What does yours say? What does the line mean? Yes we tested positive for Covid. Since the outbreak first came to light, myself and my partner Becks have been super careful. We never socialise in big groups, I obviously work in the outdoors so plenty of space, and Becks teaches Yoga and Pilates, mostly online especially through the lockdown. But has a well-ventilated studio.

That said it’s here, and around us all from day to day. It laid me low for a good 12 days, Becks came off lighter than I did, but was left with a dry cough.

I decided to take it easy and not do any activities for at least three weeks, after all from what I have read and heard from friends it can still linger and when you think your right boom! It sets you back again.

The first day on the hill again was pretty special and I was apprehensive to see how much fitness I had, or I had lost. Luckily most of it was in my mind and all things considered felt strong and fit.


Navigation techniques: Here 

Nice little vid of some guys paddling the Cocker: Here