“Jungle, you fool!……You’ve been and gone round in a circle!”

The Ascent of Rum Doodle, W.E. Bowman.

Shepherds huts in the upper Malana Valley
Lost again…

I’ve been mountain walking most of my life, starting with childhood holidays in the Lake District and expanding to trips and mini-adventures to the Pyrenees, Rockies, Andes, Himalaya, Karakoram and Pamirs (you can see pictures from more recent trips in the Gallery). In between times I’m slowly trying to complete a round of the Munros.

Over the years (and in various places) I have committed most of the classic navigational blunders. Whilst I haven’t quite plumbed the depths of navigational incompetence so ignobly explored by Jungle, I have in fact walked in a large circle on a featureless plateau. Sadly, I’ve also gone 180 degrees wrong on a knife-edge ridge, gone down the wrong valley and up the wrong ridge – even climbing the wrong pass in the Himalaya (how we laughed at that one).

Some have speculated that I might benefit from a navigation course, but I shrugged off these uncharitable suggestions and instead designed the Compass Caddy.

You see, often the reason I go wrong is because I don’t look at the compass.  And the reason I don’t look at the compass is because I use walking poles, and I find it hard to juggle those three things with two hands. An added handicap is that being male, I’m allergic to asking for directions.

Thus was born the idea of the Compass Caddy. All that was needed was a crash course in 3D CAD programmes (vertical learning curve) and an introduction to consumer-grade 3D printing (great for quickly making physical objects). Fourteen prototypes later, and here we are – no more excuses for getting lost. Maybe I will need those navigation lessons, after all……..

Compass Caddy, compass and walking pole on grass.