Yesterday I went for a bit of an explore around the Richmond Hills and set up a navigation course for my partner’s Spring Challenge Team, putting 5 orienteering markers up in the hills. I had originally planned six locations but when I was putting them out I realised one was going to be on the Sylvan side of the fence where they are doing logging operations.
Navigation is a critical skill for anyone doing an adventure race. To improve your navigation you need to get out and practise it. Some helpful tips with reading maps:
- Forestry roads change and change often. Well they change more frequently than maps get updated. If you have access to other sources of information that can show you more recent roading/track systems that is a good tool to assist with navigation e.g. mountain biking and walking tracks for a region.
- With the changes over time, forestry roads that were once a prominent roadway in the hills can become disused and overgrown. New roads get built particularly during planting and harvesting of forests.
- The road in front of you on the ground could potentially be represented on the map as a gravel road, 4WD track or not at all.
The Richmond Hills have a matrix of forestry roads, firebreaks, walking tracks and mountain bike trails. These aren’t all on topographical maps and none of the mountain bike trails are on the topo map. It’s all about experience and interpreting the contour lines in the vicinity of the features you are looking at to confirm that you are in the right place.
If you (and your team mates) are keen to do the course I’ve plotted jump on the link below.
The course is laid out in the Richmond Hills. It is an all care, no responsibility course. I won’t be out there to guide you. It is up to you to navigate your way around the course. You can do the course in any order you wish. You can do the course mountain biking, hiking or a combination of both.
Be aware that not all roads, tracks or trails are marked on the map. You will need to interpret the ground in front of you and ensure you are moving in the right direction. Be courteous of other users of the hills.
Print off the maps, laminate them and then get out and find the controls. Clip each control as you make your way around the course. If you think you are in the right place but the control is missing take a photo and send it through to me. (I’m on a 5 day expedition in the Richmond Ranges until 16-Sep, so don’t expect a reply immediately).
I highly recommend downloading and printing these two maps to assist provide extra detail that isn’t on the topo map.
- Nelson Mountain Biking Club Map of Richmond Trails
- Tasman District Council Walking Tracks in Richmond Hills
If you agree to the following terms feel free to purchase the maps with the controls marked below.
Respect other trail users.
- Don’t go in the out of bounds area (this is for your safety due to forestry operations).
- Take appropriate precautions based on the weather conditions.
- Carry the minimal equipment as listed on the Spring Challenge website (it may save your life and it is good training carrying it all): https://www.springchallenge.co.nz/event-info/