Quality Mountain Days
                                                                 & Advanced workshops

Estimating Distance Travelled

Fig 1: Use either the millimetres scale or one of the romers to measure distance on the map. 
It’s obviously very important to know how far you have travelled from your last known point - this is done by Estimating Distance.
There are two tried and tested ways of estimating how far you have travelled. These are TIMING and PACING. Timing is probably the easiest to carry out but it is often the least accurate. Pacing is usually the most accurate but it can be laborious, especially over long distances. When the weather and conditions are difficult it is often wise to use both methods concurrently. 

Fig 2: Using the 1:50,000 scale romer to measure the distance between two spot heights.

Before using either of these methods you will need to measure the distance on the map between your present location and the target you are walking to. Some people use the millimetres scale which runs alongside the compass baseplate (Figure 1) while others prefer to use one of the romers (Figure 2). Millimetres can sometimes be hard to distinguish especially in rain or snow. On a 1:50,000 scale map, one millimetre represents 50 metres on the ground (an easy mistake is to count one millimetre as 100 metres). On a 1:25,000 scale map, one millimetre represents 25 metres on the ground. Using the compass romer may be clearer although some compasses don’t have romers. Some compasses have removable scales for different maps.

Important: Participation Statement

Climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.

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