Pacing for navigation accuracy

Why use Pacing?

If you’ve ever tried walking on the moors with (or without) a map, you’ll appreciate just how hard it is to guage relative distances, how far you’ve walked, how far to the next rest point etc. Pacing is a simple but highly effective solution to measuring how far you’ve travelled. The more you do it the more effective it becomes, within a few attempts you’ll have it nailed and your appreciation of the moors and its’ hidden secrets will be expanded. If you’ve ever tried to find anything small and obscure when the weather is moving in, i.e. a hut circle or cairn then you’ll need more than a map and compass, you’ll need ‘Pacing‘.

How do you measure paces?

What you need to do is find out how many normal paces it takes you to cover 100 metres. The reason is that everyone is different and therefore everyone takes a slightly longer or shorter ‘Pace’. This can be achieved in a variety of ways by walking normally over a prescribed distance, i.e. a running track or a known kilometre (and dividing by 10, of course). You may be able to find two known points on an ordnance survey map, measure the distance, pace it out and then do the maths. The choice is yours but you will need to measure this somehow.

The second part of calculating your Pacing is to ‘halve’ your number of paces claculated for 100 metres so that when using this new skill you only have to count every other pace (obvious really). It takes me ‘130‘ normal paces to cover 100 metres, therefore my pacing calculation is ‘65‘. From here we can work out how many paces for any other distance, we so choose and then set these out in a nicely laminated table to take on our walks with us, see below.

Pacing Aide Memoire
Distance 100 m 50 m 25 m
Paces (Flat) 65 paces 33 paces 16 paces
Paces (Incline) 73 paces 37 paces 19 paces
Paces (Decline) 70 paces 35 paces 18 paces

Other Pacing Techniques (Timed Walking)

There is another Pacing Technique which uses time rather than paces. It is well known that if you walk at four kilometers per hour then you will cover four kilometers in one hour. If we extend this principle to differing walking speeds and use the power of maths to break down distances to 100 metres then we can start to create another aide memoire for timed distance measurement. The only issue you then have is to work out how fast you are walking at any given time. This I’m afraid has to be done on the day or over time, when you start to appreciate your natural ‘moorland’ walking speed but again this can be a highly accurate means of measuring distances on the moors. Please see the table below for details.

Timed Walking Aide Memoire
Speed 2 km/h 3 km/h 4 km/h 5 km/h 6 km/h
1 km 30 mins 20 mins 15 mins 12 mins 10 mins
500 m 15 mins 10 mins 7.5 mins 6 mins 5 mins
250 m 7 mins 30 secs 5 mins 3 mins 45 secs 3 mins 2 mins 30 secs
200 m 6 mins 4 mins 3 mins 2 mins 24 secs 2 mins
100 m 3 mins 2 mins 1 min 30 secs 1 min 12 secs 1 min
50 m 1 min 30 secs 1min 45 secs 36 secs 30 secs

As a compliment to this technique we can also introduce another smaller table to allow for inclines, as follows:

Timed Walking (Incline) Aide Memoire
Moderate to steep incline + 1min/10 metres
Steep to v steep incline + 1.5 mins/10 metres

There is only one real way of doing this successfully and that is to practice every time you go out on the moors however you cna certainly make it easier on yourself by creating your own set of tables and laminating them for your map-pouch against the weather. This way you won’t have to remember these figures you can just read them off when you need them.