These hill skills and navigation courses are graded to suit all comers from the complete novice to those looking to explore the upland hills and mountains of the UK with increased skill and confidence. Our courses will teach you all aspects of map reading and how to use a map and compass and a variety of navigation strategies. All courses cover knowledge of safety and access issues when walking in the countryside, as well as an understanding of environmental issues.

All our navigation courses run with low ratios not exceeding 1:4

Hill skills map and compass courses in the Peak District

Hill Skills Navigation Training

Hill Skills & Navigation Courses 1 – Bronze

Introductory Map Skills – Finding your way in the outdoors!

“Well what can I say, another superb weekend! I loved every minute! Alan was very knowledgeable and I now feel confident enough to go out map in hand. It was a buzz going up to Mam Tor in the gale even though we didn’t quite make it to the top because of the gusts. It’s heartening to know though that safety of clients is always top priority . . . Hopefully if I passed I can then move on and book the silver level in April . . . “
– Joanna C.

Course Aim :
This 12 hour / 2 day map reading course aims to equip the novice with the navigation and hill skills to safely navigate paths and tracks on UK hills in summer conditions. On this Peak District Navigation Course you can start your journey to master the art of navigation. This course is for those of you looking at getting started in the outdoors, or those just wanting to start again from a clean slate. We will look into all of the basics of map reading including some basic uses of the compass. A great introduction to the navigation skills you need to get out and about.

Course content and assessment will include :

  • Equipment for the outdoors
  • Understand how to use map symbols and scales, on a variety of maps.
  • Take a 6 figure grid reference for any given position and also locate such a reference on the map.
  • Orientate the map with and without a compass.
  • Use the orientated map to identify land features and indicate direction of travel.
  • Choose simple navigation strategies and routes.
  • Use linear features (e.g. paths and tracks) as handrails in simple navigation exercises.
  • Estimate distance on both map and ground.
  • Using a basic understanding of contours, match major landforms like hills and valleys to their map representation.
  • Plan a safe, suitable walk.
  • Relocate using simple techniques on paths and other handrails.
  • Understand access rights and responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of local and national access issues and access legislation.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Countryside Code, and of procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency.

Location: Peak District National Park
OS Maps: 1:50 000 Landranger Series Sheet 110, 1:25 000 Dark Peak Area OL 1
Price per person: £125
Course numbers: 2 – 6
Instructor/client ratio: 1:4
Meeting point: Hathersage, Derbyshire

Alternatively, book yourself onto one day … 1:1 for £140

Dates coming up:
26th/27th September 2020
24th/25th October 2020
6th/7th March 2021
10th/11th April 2021
22nd/23rd May 2021
12th/13th June 2021

Private bookings can be taken for this adventure. Contact us with your preferred date(s) that suit you and the numbers and we’ll get back to you asap with all the details.

For provisional dates for this course see our calendar of events.

Please note: Dates may be subject to change. Alternative and/or additional dates may also be arranged upon demand.

Hill skills map and compass courses in the Peak District

Hill Skills Navigation Training

Hill Skills & Navigation Courses 2 – Silver
Map and Compass – Into the wilderness!

“… I am really pleased to have found your Hill skills course – it turned out to be exactly what I needed. HS1 made sense of the things I already knew, and made me use my Map Head – a way of looking that I’d not considered before. Alan made us consider the map and our surroundings in infuriating detail which was excellent training. He got us to look for things that no longer exist but that are still shown on the map, and twice gave us vivid demonstrations of how to misread the surrounding information. HS2 did all the exciting stuff. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be able to use a compass!! …”
– Jenny K.

Course Aim :
Confident with the basics of map reading these 2 day map and compass navigation skills courses takes the student further: teaching essential compass work to allow the walker to explore ground away from footpaths and tracks. On completion of this course participants should be able to plan and follow walks in the countryside that venture beyond paths and tracks.

Course content and assessment will include :

  • Consolidation of Bronze objectives.
  • Breaking navigational stages into ‘coarse’ and ‘fine’ navigation using clear features en route.
  • Navigational strategies: aiming off, attack points, collecting features.
  • Understanding of contour features, both large and small, on the map and on the ground.
  • Judging distance accurately on the map and on the ground.
  • The planning of a safe walk or route involving walking on a bearing.
  • Employ simple relocation strategies when lost.
  • Use of a compass to follow accurate bearings and to check the direction of footpaths or other linear features on both map and ground.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the effects of fatigue and physical discomfort brought on by navigating in demanding countryside and/or extreme weather condition. Knowledge of basic first aid is also expected.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of the Countryside Code and current access legislation as for the Bronze level together with an appreciation of basic environmental factors in mixing ‘man with nature’

Location: Peak District National Park
OS Maps: 1:50 000 Landranger Series Sheet 110, 1:25 000 Dark Peak Area OL 1
Price per person: £135
Course numbers: 2 –4
Instructor/client ratio: 1:4
Meeting point: Longshaw Estate, Derbyshire

Alternatively, book yourself onto one day … 1:1 for £150

Dates coming up:
17th/18th October 2020
20th/21st February 2021
27th/28th March 2021
17th/18th April 2021
19th/20th June 2021

Private bookings can be taken for this adventure. Contact us with your preferred date(s) that suit you and the numbers and we’ll get back to you asap with all the details.

For provisional dates for this course see our calendar of events.

Please note: Dates may be subject to change. Alternative and/or additional dates may also be arranged upon demand.

Hill skills map and compass courses in the Peak District

image of two men on Hill Skills Gold Navigation training reading their maps by torch light in night time darkness

Hill Skills & Navigation Courses 3 – Gold Training

The master-class!

Course Aim :
This advanced navigation course aims to give you the hill and mountain skills to get off the beaten track in all of the UK’s mountain, hill and moorland areas.  Day 1 of these courses incorporates a night navigation phase focusing on micro-navigation strategies in zero or reduced visibility.  This course is for those that wish to advance themselves that bit beyond hill walking and more into the realms of mountaineering below the snow line. Also this course is perfect for those looking for a navigation refresher for their Hill and Moorland Leader or Mountain Leader assessment.

Course content will include :

  • Consolidation of Bronze and Silver skills.
  • Close use of contours, to identify landforms (e.g. hilltops, valleys, spurs, re-entrants and knolls) and utilise them as the prime method of navigation.
  • Use of ridges and valleys as reliable handrails and the size and relationship of contour features, (e.g. a series of knolls) and use them for micro navigation to specific locations.
  • Use of distance judgement, compass skills and continuous contact (by frequent checking) in complicated areas.
  • Planning a safe walk or route in open country in line with set criteria of duration, difficulty and objectives.
  • Demonstration of the special physical and navigation demands posed by hill and moorland terrain, poor weather conditions, daylight hours and the effects of fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route. This includes awareness of the effects of heat and cold.

Location: Peak District National Park, Lake District and Snowdonia
Price per person: £155
Course numbers: 2 –4
Instructor/client ratio: 1:4
Meeting point: Edale, Peak District / Capel Curig, Snowdonia / Elterwater, Lake District

Alternatively, book yourself onto one day in the Peak District … 1:1 for £150

Dates coming up:
24th/25th April 2021 – Peak District

Private bookings can be taken for this adventure.
Contact us with your preferred date(s) that suit you and the numbers and we’ll get back to you asap with all the details.

For provisional dates for this course see our calendar of events.
Note: Good hill fitness is required in order to walk with a full pack for two days.

Gold Award – The Assessment

Overview :
This will be a one day assessment of your navigational abilities with a map and compass at the NNAS Gold Level. A rigorous day in the hills looking at how you plan and execute your navigation across wild country and including time spent in poor visibility. For assessment at this level you must have completed in the previous 3 years the NNAS Gold training, or completed your Hill and Moorland Leader training or ML training.

This assessment will cover the following objectives with 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 maps :

  • Consolidation of Bronze and Silver Award skills.
  • Close use of contours, to identify landforms (e.g. hilltops, valleys, spurs, re-entrants and knolls) and utilise them as the prime method of navigation.
  • Use of ridges and valleys as reliable handrails and the size and relationship of contour features, (e.g. a series of knolls) and use them for micro navigation to specific locations.
  • Use of distance judgement, compass skills and continuous contact (by frequent checking) in complicated areas.
  • Planning a safe walk or route in open country in line with set criteria of duration, difficulty and objectives.
  • Demonstration of the special physical and navigation demands posed by hill and moorland terrain, poor weather conditions, daylight hours and the effects of fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route. This includes awareness of the effects of heat and cold.

Location: Peak District National Park / Snowdonia
Please note: this is an eight hour assessment that commences at 1pm: hence plan for a late finish.
Price per person: £150
Course numbers:2 –4
Instructor/client ratio:1:4

Contact us with your preferred date(s) that suit your preferred location and we’ll get back to you asap with all the details.

Alternatively, book yourself onto a private assessment … 1:1 for £250

Frequently Asked Questions

How good do I need to be?
You can start at the Bronze Level with no experience.

Can I start at the Silver or Gold level?
We would probably ask you about your previous experience and abilities to determine whether such a course would be appropriate for you, but yes this is possible.

If I sign up for the Gold course, can I borrow a tent from you?
Yes – we have mountain tents for this purpose – for your use free of charge.

Further reading

Ten ways to be better at map reading
Map and Compass beats a GPS Device Every Time. Here’s Why
Free training resources for navigation practice
Open Orienteering Courses available for children
Free tips and advice from Ordnance Survey
BMC Hill Skills: Map basics
The National Navigation Award Scheme provides a progression of learning through a network of qualified and enthusiastic course providers. National Navigation Award assessment gives recognition to personal performance in navigation skills and provides tangible evidence in the form of badges and certificates.