I recently bought a Garmin eTrex, which is a GPS navigator. It’s the basic model and does not allow maps to be downloaded onto it. What it does do is allow me to do is to plan routes on my PC and then download them onto my eTrex
This allows me to follow the route and waypoints and ensure that I never get lost. I never thought I would ever buy a GPS as I know how to read a map and compass, but the eTrex was on special offer and cheap enough for me to try it.
I love my eTrex as I can plan routes on my PC and download them onto it
using a data cable, which has to be bought separately. So far I have downloaded walks I am planning to do in the next two months and the eTrex will point me in the right direction, should I get lost.
How useful a GPS could be was brought home to me in the winter, while out walking on the Campsie Fells. It was a clear, sunny day when suddenly at about 2.30pm the mist came down. Fortunately, I had been taking bearings throughout the walk and was able to lead everyone in the party back to safety.
Mist blanks out all landmarks such as hill, rivers etc and it is very easy to become disoriented and walk in the completely wrong direction. It can lead to death in the winter months, when walkers can get lost and die from exposure or exhaustion.
Just because I have my new GPS device, I will still be using my OS maps and compass as my primary navigation tools with my eTrex as a back-up, should bearings need to be confirmed on the hills. It will also come in handy if anyone has a fall or injury and the emergency services have to be called. The eTrex will give an accurate grid reference to guide rescue teams to the correct spot.
One of the useful features on the eTrex is its ability to give a fairly accurate time of arrival based on the walking speed of the party. This allows you to decide whether to stop for a break or continue walking, depending on progress made.
Most walkers have a good idea of when they should arrive at a given point and the Etrex helps confirm that planned progress is in line with that actual being achieved.
How did I ever managed in the past without my eTrex?