Navigation Course for Denis Rankin Round – Date TBC


A solid half-day course getting your head around the basics of maps, compasses and GPS, tailored specifically to the needs of a mountain runner looking to give the Denis Rankin Round a go.

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Want to give the Denis Rankin Round a crack but can’t use a compass or read a map? Want to hear top tips from a two-time Denis Rankin Round finisher about how to get around the route? Then this navigation course is for you…

Location: Leitrim Lodge Car Park, 114 Leitrim Road, Newry BT34 5XX

Time: 9 am – 2 pm.

This is a practical half-day course run in the Mourne Mountains. We’ll meet at the Leitrim Lodge Picnic Area at 9 am and be based entirely from there for all sessions. We’ll start the day on the picnic benches with some theory work. Once everyone is comfortable with the basics, we’ll head up on to the mountain for 3-3.5 hours to put into practice what we’ve learned. Typically, by the end of the course you’ll:

  • Understand maps and contours better.
  • Know how to orientate and thumb a map.
  • Understand how to use a compass, in particular take and follow a bearing.
  • Practice taking bearings on mountain terrain.
  • Improve how you read the terrain and know when something is going wrong.
  • Practice different route choices, and have an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of alternate routes.
  • Be more confident making and following a navigation plan.
  • Learn about the types of GPS that can be useful on the a round attempt.
  • See a marked-up map of the Denis Rankin Round and understand what that route looks like.

Of course, if there’s anything else you’d like to know about mountain navigation for runners, we’re more than happy to help out.  Or if you want to know for example about start times, support stops, where to source water on route, or tracker device usage, then all these questions can be answered.

What to Bring Along

Please note that, given the current health issues, sharing of equipment will be kept to a bare minimum, so please come self-sufficient. Where equipment / resources need to be shared, they will be disinfected beforehand. We will provide hand sanitizer to ensure good hand hygiene from the outset of the course. At a minimum please bring with you:

  • Harveys Mourne Mountains 1:25000 map – not the Ordinance Survey (OS) one.
  • Compass – make sure it doesn’t have a bubble!
  • Bring along your Fell Running Association (FRA) mountain running kit – whistle, waterproof coat with hood, waterproof trousers, hat and gloves in a bumbag are a minimum for the mountain section.
  • Clothing that will keep you warm and dry – there’ll be quite a bit of standing around looking at the terrain and maps so a couple of layers would be good.
  • Fell running shoes are fine. If you prefer mountain boots to keep your feet dry, that’s perfect too.

Also note that there’ll be no mad running during this course as the emphasis will be on reading maps and taking bearings correctly. Speed demons will be slowed down on this session!

Social distancing measures will be in place throughout. As government guidelines do not allow indoor activities, all briefings and debriefs will be held outside:

There’ll be tea, coffee and hot chocolate and a bit of cake available once we get off the mountain – please bring your own mug if you’d like a hot drink. If you want something more substantive while out on the hill (snacks/sandwiches/fruit), just bring it along for yourself.

If the date doesn’t suit, don’t worry… just get in contact and we can arrange to run the course on a day and time that suits you best!

Please note that, so that we can get everyone’s medical and emergency contact details, only one course place can be purchased at a time i.e. If you are buying two course places, you’ll have to make two separate payments. We apologise for the inconvenience but want to make sure we’re all safe and sound out there!


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