Pacing

Pacing is the counting of double paces to determine the distance covered.

The walker needs to establish how many paces it takes him or her to cover 100 metres on various types of terrain. This requires a lot of practice and every opportunity should be taken to count and note numbers of paces when out walking.

If you lead with your right foot, the pace counting starts with each placement of the left foot.

Having established how many paces it takes to cover 100 metres the walker needs some means of keeping track of how many paces have been counted.

Some compasses have a clicker on the side and this is normally clicked every 100 metres, and the count restarted. Some walkers use beads attached to a short length of line which can be attached to the wrist (a sort of walkers' rosary), and a bead is moved along it every 100 metres. Alternatively, move stones (or sweets) from one pocket to another (no munching now).

To use pacing effectively, the distance to the Target from a known point must be known.

Most Compasses have a measure along the side and the distance to the Target can be measured directly from the map.

If the compass shows centimetres/millimetres, then 1 cm is 250 metres on an Ordnance Survey Explorer 1:25000 scale map (Orange Cover) and 500 metres on an Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50000 scale map (Pink Cover).

Similarly 1mm is 25 metres on a 1:25000 scale map and 50 metres on a 1:50000 scale map.

With practice, Pacing can be reasonably accurate providing targets are kept relatively close to each other - i.e. 100 to 400 metres - and accurate measurements are taken from the map.

Its important that the walker is not distracted by conversation whilst counting paces. Due to the thickness of the lines on the compass, and the fact that features are hardly ever spaced an even number of 100 metre sections apart, measuring the distance on the map also requires some practice.

Steep uphill sections will considerably shorten the length of paces, as will terrain like boulder fields and slippery rocks. Pacing is also pretty useless when scrambling.



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