My experience with XC is that its in a big field that you navigate around. Its usually hilly and sometimes bushy so you can't just see all the jumps.
I always walk the course - its annoying because you have to wear what you would be wearing on the course - so you can't do the walk in comfy sneakers, you have to wear you boots and helmet.
The jumps are numbered and often there is a map, if not you can make your own. Generally its pretty easy though, at least at the lower levels, you can often see the next jump.
Really?? Why do you have to wear riding clothes to walk the course?? Is it a rule over there? Over here you can wear whatever you want and most people walk the course the day before the show.