#walk1000miles Challenge Accepted

#walk1000miles Challenge Accepted


The Subway Arboretum Nottingham January 2017

To walk 1000 miles in a year one has to complete 2.74 miles every day for 365 days. Now just less than 3 miles per day isn’t an impossible task but one that will take dedication to pursue. Country Walking magazine is promoting #walk1000miles in 2017 after the success of this project in 2016. Currently over 24,000 people have signed up with this magazine to complete this distance. One of those is me. In the distant pass I surpassed the 1000 mile target a few times in the 1980’s when this distance was promoted by the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) for it’s members to accomplish. In 1986 I completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks, 23 miles; the Black Mountains Roundabout, 25 miles; the Surrey Summits, 62 miles; the Fellsman Hike, 61 miles; the South Downs 100; and the Lakes Four Three Thousands, 45 miles. So with just these six events I notched up 316 miles in that year. These events coupled with completing several 20 miles plus LDWA walks organised by the High Peak and Sherwood Groups at weekends and personal walks during the week it is easy to see how I hit the 1000 miles in a year target.


Superb weather on my walk through the Arboretum on 5th January 2017

However, in 2017 my time during the week will be limited to what distance I can realistically complete during a lunch hour. For this I worked out a route that I can start and finish at my work place that goes through two green lungs of the City of Nottingham, the Forest Recreation Ground and the Arboretum. Using Ordnance Survey (OS) Digital Maps Premium I could devise a route on their 1:25,000 scale maps and this even provided a target time. The route measured out at 1.93 miles (3.1 km) and the target time was 42 minutes. I have now completed this route 18 times from 3rd January to 10th February yielding 34.74 miles towards the 1000 mile target. My fastest time was 30 minutes and the slowest 36 minutes so every walk was within the OS target time. Public Health England recommend we should be doing a minimum of 30 minutes moderate exercise at least five days per week so this walk is also enabling me to meet these standards.

Further details:

Country Walking magazine #walk1000miles link:


Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) link to Groups and Events:


This challenge promotes physical activity as recommended by Public Health England:


#teacher5aday #pledge #2017

#teacher5aday #pledge #2017

In 2017 there are for me two important landmarks. The first is that I am a third of the way into my 27th year in teaching and the second sees me celebrating 40 years as a member of the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA). Both of these events will feature strongly in the #teaher5aday 2017 pledge.


Keep being involved with Twitter #PLN (personal learning network) and do more walks with groups – I value face to face connections too. It would also be nice to meet some #teacher5aday tweeters during 2017.



The trig pillar, at left, on Crich Stand, Derbyshire


What remains of the trig pillar at East Leake

Whilst on a walk take an image of something of interest. During 2016 I enjoyed taking part in the Ordnance Survey’s (OS) celebration of the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar. This assisted me organising local walks to gain access to trig pillars that were close by that I wouldn’t necessarily visit. During one excursion I noticed that a trig pillar was no longer there even though its location was clearly marked on the map. I notified the OS and they sent one of their representatives to check this out and they replied that the map in question will be updated to reflect the missing trig pillar. OS also utilised Twitter to share peoples images of trig pillars and connected these with #trigpillar80. During 2017 the focus  will be me noticing elements in the natural world and recording these in blogs.


Red Admiral butterfly – a surprise sight on 9th October and I saw six other individuals on the same day


I have always wanted to write an article for publication in a journal. I could base this article on flipped learning relating to coaching concepts in land navigation which led to the 4 D’s of Land Navigation Model. This has been the theme for my presentations at various conferences in 2016 and with an article I had written that was published by the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) in their Horizons magazine in the Spring 2016 issue. The first conference I delivered to was for the Nottingham Trent University’s Trent Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) at Nottingham in July, then at the IOL Conference, Staffordshire in October and finally at the inaugural researchED FE conference, London in December. May be I could add New York and Paris as venues in 2017! In preparing this article I will be engaged in learning and if published will be part of scholarly activity in that the results will be shared.



This should be relatively easy as I have a wealth of experience leading walks for various organisations in the past and could do this again in 2017. For example, lead a ramble for a local Ramblers’ Group or organise a walk for the LDWA. Perhaps I could plan and lead a walk for #teacher5aday as I did for #UKFEchat community in 2015.


Try to do basic flexibility exercises everyday and complete a long walk every weekend. In 2016 I celebrated my 60th birthday with a walk to work. This was almost 13 miles in distance and I planned the route to ensure the minimum of walking by a road. It was a neat challenge and one I had in mind since I moved there twenty years ago. My previous home was 23 miles from work! I managed to complete this walk in 4 hours and 36 minutes just two minutes outside the OS Maps guideline time. Other walking events of note completing the 26.2 miles Dovedale Dipper challenge walk in the Peak District during August – such fabulous weather and my sixth completion of the 16 miles Seagrave Wolds Challenge walk in November – not so good weather!


Stunning scenery on the 26.2 miles Dovedale Dipper Challenge Walk 7th August 2016

The highlight though was that I took part in the LDWA Three Forests Way 54 miles challenge event but I only completed 49 miles! However, that 49 miles was the furtherest I have walked in almost 30 years! I would love to have another go and finish the walk this time. To enable this to happen requires building up not just physical endurance but mental fitness as well. This preparation will certainly provide enough for #teacher5aday throughout 2017.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year, don’t be to obsessed with work, and ensure you build time for you every day.

In completing this blog I would like to acknowledge Dawn Jones @stowdawn

#BoxingDayWalk South Notts. Wolds

#BoxingDayWalk South Notts. Wolds

Sunday 26th December 2016



The way to the hill

At night I looked at the weather forecast for Boxing Day and at last we were going to have sun. Well at least for the morning and early afternoon so I decided this was the day over the Christmas holiday period I needed to do my usual countryside route which starts and finishes at my front door. The forecast also mentioned that the temperature was going to be 6 degrees so I wrapped up before venturing out with a silk scarf wrapped around my neck and the Patagonia Stretch Syncilla hat pulled down over my ears. A Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic waterproof jacket provided an effective outer barrier throughout the walk and the upper zip outer pocket was useful in making the iPhone SE accessible. The lower pockets housed the Black Ice fleece gloves, kit I didn’t use, and the Patagonia hat and silk scarf when I was overheating. Keeping the cold at bay was an Iguana fleece jacket used for the intermediate layer. Craghoppers Basecamp trousers once again proved their flexibility as they more than coped with today’s windy conditions.


Unusual architecture approaching the village of Bunny


The footpath to the wood

Throughout the walk I noticed lots of people out much more than normal and these included extended family groups so perhaps they were on their traditional Boxing Day ramble. Even saw a few joggers on the early part of the walk which is on the streets and one jogger past me on a Bridleway in white trainers trying to avoid the mud. Thankfully, even on the footpaths mud wasn’t the problem I thought it was going to be and the Merrell approach shoes, which don’t have a waterproof liner, coped really well over today’s terrain. The sun with the blue sky provided superb images on the iPhone SE and at times the contrast was too great so the HDR function kicked in with amazing results. A couple of images had sun streaks but these added to the scene captured.

Coming to the end of the countryside part of this walk I thought that I hadn’t seen any bird life of note then I hard a crow and almost immediately the call of a buzzard. On hearing this I raised my head to see two buzzards, perhaps the same pair as I saw a couple of months ago, circling around then perching on two different trees. Seeing these two just added to what was a fine day’s walk.


Field pattern close to East Leake

This was my last proper walk in 2016 over my mainstay 7.2 miles countryside route and the ninth time I had completed this walk this year. Today it took me just over 2 hours 32 minutes which means I walked at 2.84 miles per hour. Kit wise my gear of the year goes to the iPhone SE which has provided most of my pictorial record of my walks since the end of May. This was a great 60th birthday present from my wife and daughter. One of my purchases for 2017 will be an Otterbox Defender case to protect the iPhone and save me worrying about dropping it.

Weather information courtesy of BBC Weather:

6 degrees C at 11am staying here until 3pm. Sunny; Humidity 65%; Visibility Very Good; Pressure 1031 (Millibars); Wind direction W & Wind Speed 14 (mph)

It will be a cold but dry Boxing Day, with plenty of sunshine. There will also be some blustery winds at first, however these should gradually ease.

Sunrise 08:17 Sunset 15:55 GMT

#rEDFE Empowering students’ to find their own way through the trees

#rEDFE Empowering students’ to find their own way through the trees


These notes are based on my presentation delivered at the inaugural researchED Further Education and Vocational Conference held on Saturday 3rd December 2016 at BSix College Hackney London.

Engaging learners through the flip learning method and discovering that there are other ways to deliver land navigation techniques


As a lecturer in adventure activities within the further education sector I am always looking for innovative ways to assist learners in acquiring skills. Whilst using established methods to teach land navigation techniques I am constantly looking at new ideas and developments in teaching this subject. Attending the “Understanding the Art of Flip Learning” seminar at Loughborough University on 2nd September 2014 #flipart14 provided evidence that the flip learning teaching method engaged learners and produced improved outcomes. Five researchers all from a higher education background presented their findings at this seminar on the value of flip learning. The information that follows is based on the presentations from:

Prof. Simon Lancaster University of East Anglia

Dr. David Dye Imperial College London

Dr. Jeremy Pritchard University of Birmingham

During this seminar I was also introduced to a method of teaching through ideas (concepts) rather than teaching to a recipe or to a set of instructions. I found this particularly interesting as it may help to reduce the copy and paste internet sources students use to describe various land navigation functions such as obtaining a six figure grid reference and how to obtain a bearing on a base-plate compass. Coming back enthused I looked at ways in which I could introduce both methods in my delivery to students studying land navigation as part of an Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Public Services. There were 56 students on this course and throughout the research stage these students were utilised to test findings in both theoretical and practical land navigation activities.

Flip learning

In essence, “flipped learning” means that students gain first exposure to new material outside of class, usually via reading or lecture videos, and then use “class” time to do the harder work of assimilating that knowledge, perhaps through problem-solving, discussion or debates.


Why flip?

The traditional teaching method in HE is the lecture and this is a didactic process which provides a baseline knowledge and understanding both of which are low levels on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning with the process being passive not active learning. After the lecture students are then encouraged to improve upon this with personal research. However, for flip learning the students attain this base-level before the lecture through completing pre-learning activities leaving the lecture time free to apply this learning. To enhance knowledge flip learning in the HE environment is achieved through students learning through concepts not a set of recipes (ideas v instructions).

Putting flip learning into practice using a HE science module as an example

To ensure that flip learning embraces the learners a task needs to be drawn up which inspires students to look afresh and seek out unseen/unknown problems and suggest solutions on how they might be solved.

Task: Develop a better steel for a road bridge in an extreme environment

Objective: Stuff matters (to the student)

Assessment – link to module’s criteria and on-line content needs to support this

Context – provide a realistic work related scenario

Vocational interaction – skills needed for work in future as a scientist

Results provide evidence that flip learning was found to increase:

Engagement – encouraged wider reading

Performance – grade profile improved

Promoted ownership!

All above provide benefits in future careers as a scientist: “I felt like a real scientist” were remarks by students. I was impressed with this statement and I wanted to make our students feel like real navigators! During the presentation I put forward Roald Amundsen as an example of a competent land navigator as he led his team to the South Pole, the first humans to get there. His team looked at navigation problems on the way back to base with locating supply depots. These had food and fuel, and it was essential for their survival that they found them. They solved this problem by using a new land navigation technique they developed and every supply depot was located without difficulty and the result was all the team arrived back to base safely. This is in contrast to Scott and his team who had made it to the South Pole a month after Amundsen but had problems locating their supply depots on the home bound route with the result that everyone perished. Amundsen’s technique is still used today under the term aiming off. Amundsen is certainly an excellent example of a competent land navigator.


Overall flip learning works in HE taking the following into consideration:

  1. Concept (ideas)
  2. Active learning
  3. Vocational interaction – real issue
  4. Frame the challenge – why they need to know?
  5. Unseen/unknown problems – how are these solved?
  6. On-line interaction – videos on VLE with Q & A

With this underpinning students will hopefully have a “Lasting understanding” and a “Proper understanding.”

Flip learning what I did for Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Public Services:

Using the above summary I devised the following:

  1. Move from teaching recipes to concepts
  2. Active learning and introducing low level practical sessions in preparation for assessment during two full day navigation events – walking and orienteering
  3. Vocational interaction – navigation skills in a public services environment
  4. Framed the challenge – how do we become a competent navigator?
  5. Posed unseen/unknown navigation problems
  6. Generated on-line content via college VLE and Scoop It curation

Link to Scoop It curation: http://www.scoop.it/t/land-navigation

Developed the 4 D’s of Land Navigation model

Teaching through concepts and the development of the 4 D’s of Land navigation Model 

Ideas regarding the key themes of land navigation were based on requirements for an effective navigation system noted by Professor Kate Jeffery in Navigation News Sep/Oct 2014. The key themes being: Where are we? Where are we going to? Which way are we going? How far is it?

These became the 4 D’s: detection, destination, direction and distance.

They then formed the set of concepts. Critical characteristics of these concepts were then formulated and these were then discussed with students and they provided comments. A summary of these characteristics were then defined through personal research and student interaction. The next stage involved developing, refining and collating these critical characteristics.

The 4 D’s of Land Navigation Model – concepts with their associated critical characteristics

4ds-of-navigation-jpegThe 4 D’s of Navigation Model’s concepts integrated into a course delivery scheme (BTEC) – concepts located in bottom left hand corner


Did using flipped learning techniques work?

  1. On-line interaction through VLE with Q&A and links to Scoop It curation only partially successful with 50% of students actively engaged over the entire unit time frame – September to January
  2. However, these students achieved higher grade profiles than those that did not fully engage in pre-learning
  3. This evidence suggests a link in student initiative and their on-going development of independent learning techniques but ……
  4. Result could also relate to students personal interest in topic
  5. Positive on-line feedback with these active learners provided information to develop the 4 D’s navigation model.

Did delivery using concepts work?

  1. Utilising concepts was largely delivered in session time either classroom based or during practical outdoor activities
  2. Nothing like this on the internet so effectively primary research undertaken by both teacher and students – no copy/paste
  3. Land navigation concepts and critical characteristics were developed through student engagement by face to face discussions this resulted in a perceived ownership with 100% involvement
  4. Performance – students developed real life solutions to unseen/unknown problems during practical navigation activities
  5. Used experiential learning method based on concepts they helped develop
  6. This interaction provided evidence for the 4 D’s Land Navigation model to be included in future delivery scheme

Scholarly activity

An article based on the development of the 4 D’s Land Navigation model was published by the Institute of Outdoor Learning in Horizons 73, Spring 2016

Title: Land Navigation – Coaching Concepts


Also I presented findings at the Nottingham Trent University’s Trent Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) Conference held on 5th July 2016



‘Understanding the Art of Flip Learning’ seminar held on 2nd September 2014 at Loughborough University #flipart14

Walter Parker in Concept Formation http://teachinghistory.org/teaching-materials/teaching-guides/25184

Professor Kate Jeffery ‘Navigation Networks in the Brain’ published by the Royal Institute of Navigation in “Navigation News” September/October issue (2014)

More on concepts http://cmap.ihmc.us/docs/concept.php

Students studying the Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Public Services

Poppy’s Birthday

Poppy’s Birthday


Poppy waiting for her ball to be thrown (ball is at the bottom left hand corner) We were heading west and the tree in the foreground can be used as a direction indicator as most of the growth is on the left (southern) side.

Yesterday Poppy celebrated her eighth birthday. The sun was out and out we went for a walk. Poppy is a chocolate brown labrador cross and has a wonderful personality. Poppy is a neighbour’s dog and my wife takes her out almost every day but today I came along too. No, me being there wasn’t a birthday treat for Poppy but on this day she would go out on two different walks. When my wife takes Poppy out each walk they go on the route can vary subject to the weather conditions and state of the terrain. Which direction and route selection is very much in my wife’s hands and can change at a moments notice taking into account my wife‘s observations based mainly on the condition of the ground ahead. I wanted to see if Poppy has these routes imprinted. So out we went and every time Poppy reached a point where the route could go a different way she stopped. Poppy only moving on when instructed which way we were going and keeping on track until the next cross point. So does this mean that Poppy uses observation with points of recognition? With the evidence provided today it is highly likely that she does.


This Grey Poplar is located in an arboreum area and is a specimen tree grown in a nursery and was installed here a few years ago. This specific tree provides evidence that knowledge is as important as observation in direction finding.

Earlier in the week I received a copy of Harold Gatty’s book: “Nature is Your Guide – How to Find Your Way on Land and Sea by Observing Nature” which was published in 1958. This book has been on my really would like list for a few years and after unwrapping the packet I eagerly scanned though each section. Now having read a few chapters the underpinning elements to successful natural navigation are observation along with knowledge. Gatty was fascinated in how the early Polynesians navigated across the Pacific Ocean. He put his research based on their observations and knowledge into practice with two major events. One, in 1931, when he was the navigator on a record breaking eight-day flight around the world in an aircraft piloted by Wiley Post. The second was in 1943 when his first published work on navigation  “The Raft Book” became standard equipment on life rafts with the United States Army Air Force Pacific operation in WWII. “Nature is Your Guide” covers elements from both events together with general navigation observations on gaining direction which includes the effects of wind and sun on tree growth.

In summary then observation is a much needed element for navigation whether you are going on a local walk with the dog or crossing the Pacific Ocean. Also it is an important element in how a dog navigates and one cannot get more natural than that.


Poppy’s birthday was the first time I saw ground frost this autumn

Harold Gatty; 1958; “Nature is Your Guide – How to Find Your Way on Land and Sea by Observing Nature”; New York; E.P. Dutton & Company, Inc.