Underground Inventions

Underground Inventions

In the cold and fast running streams that run under the Yorkshire Dales I found inspiration in our indestructible invention.  Our latest inspirations flowed like the near freezing water that regularly topped my wellies as we developed our underground inventions.

Taking the High Ground

It was only 3 weeks ago that regular customer, Andrew Marshall invited me to join him for caving and fell walking with his team of trainees at Above and Below training. Andrew’s an ex-military man, having served as a specialist mountaineer trained in taking the high ground from insurgents in the major conflicts of the last 20 years.

Slings and Shelters

His enthusiasm for SplashMaps in navigation and survival in the hills is borne of a whole heap of experiences I’ve never had. From using a map as a sling for a walker in trouble in his mountain rescue role to making a make-shift shelter from maps during white-out weather conditions in the Peaks. Andrew had been issued the “silk maps” on the highly stiff material I’ve seen issued from the Feltham military mapping establishment.

SplashMaps with the military in Colombia

The deluge

In a pause during our progress into the hillsides I was able to pull out our popular Ordnance Survey 3 Peaks Yorkshire Dales SplashMap and test it against the rocks and in the deluge of water that constantly flow here. It survived beautifully as well as providing much needed neck warmth when not tied up. Down here it’s easy to lose things to the tide so Andrew had been doing some invention of his own.

Draw-string and toggle

He’d sewn a draw-string and toggle to our brand label, enabling him to attach the map firmly around his wrist. Not only was this an amazingly practical addition in use, it also served as as a handy storage solution to hold the map compact.
The cave map itself of Alum Pots will soon feature on our Toob. Though Andrew is not particularly keen on the Toob for fell walking, considering this more of a gimmick (ed. Each to their own!), the benefits of the Toob underground are far greater for him.

Lost for good

“If the map forms loop around your neck, you’re not going to loose it at all” says Andrew. Loosing things is a major issue in these conditions. Once something is lost in the stream it’s considered pretty “lost for good”! On the way to the caves we’d even left wedding rings behind… let alone watches cameras and phones which just wouldn’t survive the conditions.

Into Production

Example of 1:25k OS Map on our Pro fabric

Getting back to base I was keen to get some of the innovations we’d discussed into production. Picking the easier fruit came first, and our simplest innovation was our latest Military Map. The 1:25k Ordnance Survey Map of the training ranges close to Richmond at Catterick. Know anyone in the military? They will at some point train here. The map will be presented to the barracks by Andrew shortly, but are available for you to buy now!


If the map can survive the extremes…

And why learn underground? Well, if the map can survive the extreme’s it will survive whatever you use if for. Can you prove us wrong?


Help define the most important improvements

We are now commissioning work to improve SplashMaps’ service and offerings.  Can you help define the most important improvements? Take our 2 minute survey now!


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