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Discussion Forum - Events - Ambiguous L & R on route descriptions

Author: Tony Cartwright
Posted: Mon 17th Jun 2013, 12:53
Joined: 1978
Local Group: Surrey
I agree with the problems caused by L and R wording. To avoid this very problem Surrey group adopted the ' in-at-do' style (i.e. in 20m, at post, TL) way back in the early days of the Surrey Summits and the Punchbowl Marathon. I belive the style was first introduced by Jeff Ellingham - a very early Surrey member. The Surrey Tops uses it although the Winter Tanners does not yet fully comply - but we are working on it!
In-at-do removes all ambiguity to L&R and gives a consistent 'feel'' to a route description which, from feedback we know, is valued by walkers. For longer events where there may be multiple route writers it makes the editors job much easier since writers all follow the same construct. For those interested in this style take a look at any of the PBM, Summits or Tops RDs in our Challenge Walks archive at
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Thu 13th Jun 2013, 11:51
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
I agree with the last but one post - I very quickly learn what the author means and their way of writing, but it is a pain when the RD has been written by several different people, for instance one author might mention every gate, and also things to ignore such as 'ignore stile on left' and then when the different author takes over, gates / stiles are not mentioned which can be confusing and lead to you thinking you've gone wrong.
Author: John Pennifold
Posted: Wed 12th Jun 2013, 22:15
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
It occurred to me that omitting the verb "pass" removes any ambiguity. e.g. "pass barn on L" becomes "barn on L". What else are you going to do other than pass it? You might conceivably "see" it (e.g. "see barn on L") but this then passes the centre of attention back to the reader, so again, no ambiguity. If you're going to turn, obviously "turn L at barn" is needed.
Author: Roy Zelionka
Posted: Thu 25th Apr 2013, 19:54
Joined: 1990
Local Group: Cornwall & Devon
I have been doing challenge walks for a number of year and the use of L & R have never been a problem, you get to know what is meant by the routes author in a very short time, problems only arise when two or more people write the description, then common sense prevails.
Just enjoy the walks a lot of hard work has gone into organising them.
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Wed 24th Apr 2013, 9:44
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
If in doubt one could always check ones OS map, they can be quite usefull.
Author: Ken Falconer
Posted: Tue 23rd Apr 2013, 22:24
Joined: 1983
Local Group: Heart of Scotland
See the LDWA 'Guidelines for Events', Section 2.13 under 'Ambiguity' where an example of this, 'Pass barn on left', is cited!
Author: Chris Chorley
Posted: Tue 23rd Apr 2013, 21:22
Joined: 1982
Local Group: Norfolk & Suffolk
Norfolk and Suffolk descriptions usually clarify this by stating in the abbreviations summary that “... on R ...” means “... on your R ...”.
We also picked something up from Kent (or was it Surrey ?), In-At-Do. If you stick to that when writing a description it follows your progress, "In 25 yards at phone box TR", rather than "TR at phone box after 25 yards". It's better not to standardise though, dialects are more fun.

Author: John Pennifold
Posted: Mon 22nd Apr 2013, 17:20
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
I have just been perusing the route description for this year's 100. I have done about a dozen LDDWA challenge walks and I still get confused by (in my opinion) the ambiguous use of L & R with regard to static objects.
A couple of examples from the 100:
"thru small gate in hedge to L of house" - This seems clear enough because the direction is given relative to the object.
But how about "pass tall granite post on L" - This is ambigous because it doesn't specify the relationship; is it to the L of the post or on walker's L?
To me it would be better if worded "pass to L of tall granite post" as in the first example.

Does anybody else have this problem or is it just me?
Should there be a grammatical standard for route descriptions?

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