Saturday, 28 August 2010

GPS lost and recovered

I had an interesting experience during a recent trip to Belford in Northumberland - in order to check out the SRC A-walk for the 12th September.

The incident happened in the forest near Colour Heugh while I was trying to find the path to Dancing Green Hill - see the following map.

Colour Heugh
Crown Copyright (2010). All rights reserved. Licence No. 100046831.
Produced using Memory-Map.

As can be seen from the GPS trace of my route (the red line in the above diagram), I was zig-zagging through the forest, fighting the undergrowth and fallen-down trees, when suddenly I felt a tug on my GPS lanyard. At the time, I thought no more of it. However, about 30 yards further on, I looked down to see that my GPS was no longer with me!

How could I go on with out my GPS, I thought?

While I could easily navigate with my map and compass, how would I know where to take my photographs and how would I record the exact locations where I actually took them?

So, bearing in mind the urgency of the situation, I undertook a logistic search process in the immediate forest area through which I had just come - sometimes on my hands and knees, patting the ground with my hands. Suddenly, after about 20 minutes of searching, I saw my yellow Garmin eTrex GPS lying in the undergrowth ahead of me. I was at last re-united with it!

Undoubtedly, it was the systematic search process of the forest area that saved the day.

When my excitement had calmed a little, I did a post-recovery analysis of the incident and deduced that during my battle with the undergrowth, the GPS had got caught in some low-lying tree branches. Subsequently, (not noticing this), as I walked on it got yanked from the lanyard as a result of the failure of a small plastic lug on the connector that links the GPS to the lanyard.

It's just as well that, on the particular day of the Belford adventure, I was using my 'yellow' GPS as opposed to my 'black' one - which I normally use. Had I been using the latter, it would have been very unlikely that I would have found it within the dark-coloured undergrowth that I had been searching through.



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