Learning to read signs on a trail

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

I am thrilled to introduce fellow Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion Glyn Dodwell who has kindly agreed to contribute a guest post to our blog on Tracking Signs. Creating and following track signs is a brilliant outdoors family activity, and a great way to entice kids outside – I can’t think of one child who doesn’t love following clues, and since it’s a visual activity that works with symbols, even the youngest members of your family will be able to join in!

Leaving and following tracking signs is a brilliant outdoors family activity, and a great way to entice kids outside - I can't think of one child who doesn't love following clues, and since it's a visual activity that works with symbols, even the youngest members of your family will be able to join in!

 

 

Tracking Signs – The art of leaving and/or following the tracks that are left behind to show a route by Glyn Dodwell

It can be important to be able to leave an explicit track that others can follow, and it is an enjoyable skill both to leave and to follow tracking signs. If you are forced to set out on your own, for instance, it might save your life. If something were to happen to you and you weren’t able to make it to your destination, someone could follow your trail, and eventually find you.

Below are some of the more frequent signs used in tracking. The first four are the most commonly used ones, and can be made out of anything available including piles of pebbles, sticks, or even by tying the tops of long grass together and pointing the end in the required direction. The X sign is useful as it is a simple sign which can quickly show the path that wasn’t taken at a fork in the road, for instance. The final one, Gone Home, marks the end of the trail.

The second row are some of the fancier signs, showing that you have left a message for your trackers, that your party had to split up, that you might have to cross a fallen tree, for instance, or go over water (or just that water is nearby in particularly arid places such as deserts).

There are lots of other signs, but these are the common ones:

Leaving and following tracking signs is a brilliant outdoors family activity, and a great way to entice kids outside - I can't think of one child who doesn't love following clues, and since it's a visual activity that works with symbols, even the youngest members of your family will be able to join in!

Why not try linking your new found skills into some form of fun survival activity. This could include finding a casualty, rescuing someone being held captive or simply following a trail to the perfect spot to build a camp. Although this activity could be carried out anywhere, a local woods would make an ideal spot. If you would like to save the tracking signs to take out with you, it can be found in a printable version here.

 
 

Leaving and following tracking signs is a brilliant outdoors family activity, and a great way to entice kids outside - I can't think of one child who doesn't love following clues, and since it's a visual activity that works with symbols, even the youngest members of your family will be able to join in!

 

Glyn Dodwell is an OS #GetOutside Champion and blogs at both https://60plushillwalking.wordpress.com/ and http://www.g4cfs.co.uk/Glyn has been a hill-walker for 50 years, walking all over the world but particularly in Wales, Scotland and Lake District. His love for the outdoors and survival started as a young Scout, before he joined the RAF and trained in combat survival. He is also a lovely man who is always up for a chat so do pop over and say hi to him on Twitter.

Having just turned 60 himself, Glyn was surprised to see how little encouragement there is to get the ‘older generation’ out into the hills. And despite suffering from arthritis, severe pain and a stroke 2 years ago, he is a determined Champion for the greater involvement of over 60’s in hill-walking on his blog Hill Walking For The Over 60’s – It’s better to be on the hill, Than over the hill!

Not content to take it easy, Glyn is also a Radio Amateur and participates in an scheme called Summits-On-The-Air, which involves operating portable radio equipment from the tops of summits using only the equipment carried in your rucksack. You cam learn more about this hobby on his second blog G4CFS – Summits On The Air, Meteors & Satellites.

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19 comments

Alice | Letters to my Daughter April 8, 2018 - 8:40 pm

This is really cool, I must try it with my little one!

And congratulations, someone loved this post so much they added it to the #BlogCrush linky! feel free to collect your ‘I’ve been featured’ blog badge 🙂

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Sarah - Craft Invaders May 2, 2018 - 10:01 am

Thank you so much Alice, I’m delighted you enjoyed our post and to be featured!

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Spring ideas and activities to get your kids outside this Easter – Hip2Trek March 13, 2018 - 3:56 pm

[…] of sticks I can get him whittling something fantastic – I keep saying it in the hope it happens. Craft Invaders have some fabulous bushcraft activities on their website, so I plan to have a go at making and […]

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George Ashley February 21, 2017 - 10:54 pm

I love outdoors and I am familiar with the most of the signs he showcased in this blog but there are a few I never saw before and they are good to know!

But I think that while leaving these signs it is good to make sure that the wind or no animal can rip them apart and make them unreadable.. Maybe getting thick wood branches and placing them in the ground for the half of their thickness. That way they are still visible and can not be easily moved. Naturally the same can be done with the thick stones.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders March 19, 2017 - 9:24 am

Great tips George, thanks 🙂

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Kellie February 9, 2017 - 4:12 pm

Hiking is a favorite of my family! If I ever make it to the UK, I’m hiking with you. I don’t think I ever knew these tricks.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 10, 2017 - 12:20 pm

It’s a date Kellie – that’d be so much fun 🙂 The signs are great aren’t they – fab way to turn a walk into an adventure 🙂

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Kellie February 10, 2017 - 3:18 pm

Ok, it’s added to my wish list. And on all of our hikes this year, it will be fun to make some signs.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 19, 2017 - 5:25 pm

I look forward to seeing some photos when you get out hiking 🙂

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