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Tips for finding the summit

Been looking around the web site etc.
Now being a beginner at activating of summits and Kitt hill so easy to find as its sign posted and a bloody great tower on top you can’t miss for miles.

Now in wonder what,s best way to find other summits not so well marked out and in middle of nowhere.

any advise please


Hi Karl



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Like the idea.
Can no afford, need slightly cheaper way more old fashioned way.

thanks again


Map, compass and Mk1 eyeball

Only works well in good visibility :smile:


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First of all Karl I recommend that you read up the reports on the hills you are interested in (on the summit pages and this reflector and elsewhere on the web (for the example the hill-bagging website)) and then have a look at the Ordnance Survey map. You can do this using Bing. If you are a cheapskate like me, you can get them onto paper by using the “print screen” key and pasting into a program like Paint. Determine your route and the likely pointers you will look for as to your position on the ascent. Locating a decent parking spot can be the biggest issue, but the reports often give guidance on that and a satnav will get you there if you program it with the latitude and longtitude.

As Carolyn suggests, a mapping GPS is the best way to locate the summit, though for the DC summits you won’t need one - just some map reading skills. I don’t think you’ll be looking for a “in the middle of nowhere” summit until you venture into Wales or Scotland. Hone your skills on the easy ones, darn sarf. :wink:

73, Gerald G4OIG

Good Topo map and compass will work, but gps is so much easier.

Many smartphones now have gps chips that can output your coordinates. Android and IOS apps are available that will put integrate the gps output with preloaded maps. I use GAIA on an iphone. Summits are downloaded from sota mapping project and loaded into Gaia. Gaia shows distance and bearing to summit on the screen.

If your smartphone doesn’t have a gps chip, you can buy a used Magellan Crossover topo gps on ebay for < $50.

73, W0CP

Thanks for that, that is most useful information.
More planning required is key thing here.
Need to study this a little more I thinks and like you said plan better O/S maps etc.

thanks again

Just head for the highest point. Usually works for me.


OK, that will work on most summits, and most of those near to you Karl. There are some where you need to know which of the seemingly similar high points around you to head up and many other potential difficulties.

There’s a limit to how practically useful the admittedly excellent advice on here actually is. Get a paper OS 1:25000 map for the expedition you are planning, plan it and execute it. Experience forms the best advice of all, so get out there and have a go.

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Learning one is :hushed:

Right for G/DC-001

its about an 40 miles drive from here to this point on Google maps upon where I find the foot path to lead me to the G/DC-001 from there its Walkies. Been studying area and can see what am aiming for.

Can see a parking point for Unnamed Rd, Okehampton EX20 4LT,
Then just follow the path around to the summit.

Yep slowly picking this up the sat Nav will get me that far. Now study area via O/S maps etc.

thanks again folks for your help


Don’t know what it is like down there Karl, but in my local market there is a second hand book stall that also has OS maps. Every now and then I have a rummage through and buy any that I don’t already have (covering places with summits). Some charity shops have them as well.

Only time I came unstuck was using and old 1 inch scale map, struggled up across boggy ground and then found that there was a good track that I could have used, built a mere 20 or 30 years ago, but not on my map :smile:


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At its simplest, even in lousy visibility, just keep going until you run out of up! Few summits are without a path, where there are false summits you can reasonably expect the true summit to be marked in some way so follow the path until you come to a marker, a trig point, a cairn, a shelter, a monument or a spread of rubbish!

It is safe to ignore advice about a GPS, this gadget has been about for a mere fraction of the time that people have been going to the hills for pleasure, OFs like me learned to read maps and navigate by compass, this has worked for generations and is not dependant on batteries not running flat, LCD displays not freezing up or some military b****r not switching off the satellite to make a training session harder! Don’t get me wrong, they are a convenience but might be so convenient that you will find yourself literally lost without them!

If you are not already trained in the use of map and compass, buy OS Landranger sheet 191, Okehampton & north Dartmoor, study the route to G/DC-001 High Wilhays and navigate yourself to it one fine day - you can get a basic but quite serviceable compass from Poundland. Don’t look up, say “there it is” and head for it, but do it from the map, take bearings, treat it as a navigation exercise followed by an activation and a welcome 4 points. The village of Belstone is already 302 metres ASL so you are in effect starting halfway up! Do this successfully and you are ready for virtually any summit in England, confidence will come from meticulous preparation by studying the map and the resources on the summit page followed by successful climbs.



They normally will have the maps for anywhere but “local”. People dump maps for places that are not visited regularly.

What’s needed is some kind of method whereby people with maps they don’t want could advertise them nationally for minimal cost. If people looking for maps could somehow search what was on offer you’d be able to link up seller and buyer. :slight_smile:

However, like you Adrian, if the OS map price is right I’ll pickup a map to two even though I have it all online and on my laptop.

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Brian, you jest… and you of Highland walkers fame! That comment may apply darn sarf, but I’ve been on many a summit where there hasn’t been a path, even those made by animals.Then there is the cartographer’s imagination to account for - many paths shown on the maps do not exist…

Karl - note DC-001 is on land used by the military. Read the reports and check out which days they are not firing. We don’t want to lose you, you’ve only just started! :wink:

Thanks for the Major tip :smile:

check this website out Karl re access to Mil areas https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dartmoor-guaranteed-public-access


Thanks again all
Made note of the web site and phone number so when planned one can give them a tinkle to make sure its ok to go.


Oh, no doubt you have to get your eye in, but often you can see where people have walked by just a change in colour and/or texture of the grass or even by a change in colour of the scree or rock. On the higher summits you can even follow the trail of crampon scratches on naked rock! The higher the summit, usually the better marked the route, its the one point pimples that you need sharp eyes on, but even summits in the remotest parts of GM/NS have been trodden on enough to leave evidence. Plenty of people collect Marilyns, they will always leave evidence of their passing - look at the first picture in Andy’s report on Creag Nam Mial, a trackless waste if ever there was one, but you can see where other people have followed that wall if you have your eye in!


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Don’t forget Google Earth/Maps.
Checking out aerial pictures in advance can give you all sorts of clues as to what to expect on the ground.
This extends to “Street View” for finding parking spots as alluded to above. Checking each junction in advance, on minor unknown roads, really makes a difference when you’re navigating to a first time activation.

OSM is also a goodsend. The maps contain tracks provided by real users in the recent past, unlike the OS maps where marked tracks were mostly all surveyed sometime in the early 20th century :slight_smile:

Above all, always take a compass, learn how to use it, and know the right way to walk to safely intercept a navigable road or track, should you get caught out in low cloud or fog (a very likely possibility if you’re doing this with any regularity).

Above all else, have fun.

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You could put this book on your Christmas list:

Several people on here have recommended it, so I bought a copy and found it really very good. Only thin, and easy to read. You could even just take it with you in case you get stuck :wink:


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