Recently, Winter Mountain Leader Sean McGachie led 8 Toyota GB directors on a charity challenge to climb the 4 peaks in 48 hours. Please read below to hear from Sean about the challenge.
Hello my name is Sean McGachie; I am a qualified Winter Mountain Leader, aspirant International Mountain Leader and new user of the Satmap Active 12. I have always argued that the only navigational aids I would use was a map and compass, which to be fair have served me very well on many white out days on the Cairngorm plateau in Scotland and on treks in countries as diverse as Iceland, Morocco, Nepal, India and Peru. I was introduced to the benefits of using a GPS unit, however, during my IML summer training course at Plas y Brenin, the National Mountaineering Centre in Wales.
More recently I was asked by a friend to lead a group of 8 Toyota GB Directors on a charity challenge to climb the 4x 3000ft Lakeland peaks in 48 hrs. The plan was to complete this challenge at the end of February, before the Comic Relief day in March, aiming to raise £10,000 in the process. All the directors were novice mountaineers and due to the tight deadline I was painfully aware of the potential winter weather conditions and short daylight hours. I wanted to be able concentrate more on the team’s safety than having to just navigate by pacing and timing in a white out. With a bit of research and recommendation I decided to go for the Active 12 GPS with its large screen and clear map display. The unit worked extremely well in the full on winter conditions we encountered, over the 700m contour line, giving me back up to my more traditional map and compass skills. Just a quick glance at the unit would confirm my already estimated position and I especially appreciated the ability to zoom in and view contour lines close up, as my eye sight in low light is not as good it used to be! The challenge was completed despite the snow, ice and low cloud and the directors raised an amazing £32,000 which Toyota will fund match pound for pound making it an even more impressive £64,000 for Comic Relief. Overall, through numerous nationwide events, TGB are aiming to raise £1,000,000 something I was very proud to be a small part of.
So what was the verdict? Is a GPS unit helpful when navigating in the mountains? Absolutely. Was the Active 12 easy to use? Yes. Does it make life easier? Definitely, and I really liked being able to see my whole route recorded with meters climbed and speed of progress! Here is the health warning though, always carry a map and compass, know how to use them and other complementary navigation skills competently. Life obviously moves on and there is definitely room for new technology in the mountains but still maintain the more traditional skills.
Toyota Director Rob Giles “It’s fair to say that this was much tougher than any of us expected and for me personally it was the hardest 2 days of my life, both physically and psychologically. But the whole thing has been a great experience and we have raised over £32,000 for Comic Relief so I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me and the group, this money will make a huge difference to so many people’s lives. TGB is going match all our sponsorship money £ for £ so in reality we have now raised over £64,000. But if you haven’t yet sponsored us don’t think it’s too late, the page is still open and the link is below !
Thanks again to everyone for your support, your contribution gave us the determination to battle on and complete the challenge.