Learn more about Hill Walking and Navigation in the UK with one of our fun and informative National Navigation Awards Scheme courses.

Our Navigation Courses are a practical introduction to the skills required to get started in hill and mountain navigation. The courses aim to equip participants with the basic knowledge and essential safety skills required to start pursuing their own participation in hill and mountain walking as a leisure time activity.

Our team will guide you through the syllabus and help you to develop your Navigation Skills and Techniques, empowering you to get out and enjoy the hills and mountains of the UK & abroad.

We are also a provider for all the Mountain Training awards and can run these courses as part of a Hill Skills Course which is accredited through Mountain Training.


What it’s all about?

The aims of the National Navigation Award Scheme are simple – to give lovers of the outdoors, whatever their sport, age or fitness, the freedom to explore the paths, trails, hills and mountains of Britain and abroad.

Gaining an award does not give you a qualification to teach or lead. It is a recognition of the level of skill at which you can navigate.

There are three main awards – the Bronze National Navigation Award, the Silver National Navigation Award and the Gold National Navigation Award. Progressing through the three awards will take you from being an absolute map and compass novice right through to be an expert navigator at Gold. The NNAS also runs the Young Navigator Star Awards.

You don’t, of course, have to start at Bronze, although it expected that you will have completed the Silver award at least before you start a Gold Award course.

Which course is right for me?

Bronze Award

The Bronze National Navigation Award is a practical hands-on award. It is aimed at people with no navigation experience whether you are new to the outdoors or have been relying on others, guidebooks or easy well-defined routes.

It is also the starting point for many Duke of Edinburgh students, scouts and guides and cadets who are looking to develop their outdoor skills.

The syllabus of the Bronze National Navigation Award teaches navigation in the countryside using paths tracks and other linear features. Basic map interpretation and compass work is also included.

Bronze National Navigation Award Syllabus:

  • Navigate using a variety of maps and scales.
  • Use 4 and 6 figure grid references with worded descriptions to define the position of a map feature and to locate a feature on the ground.
  • Orientate the map using handrails, obvious point features and major landforms.
  • Use linear features (e.g. paths, tracks, clear boundaries) as handrails in simple navigation exercises.
  • Relate prominent landforms such as large hills and valleys to corresponding contour information on the map.
  • Orientate the map by aligning a compass needle against grid north and be aware that magnetic variation causes an inaccuracy.
  • Use an orientated map to confirm direction of travel.
  • Use clearly identifiable features to confirm position along the route and to recognise when the target has been overshot.
  • Measure horizontal distance on the map and estimate distance on the ground using timing, pacing and simple visual judgements e.g.100m.
  • Plan and implement simple routes and navigation strategies based on the above skills.
  • Recognise a navigation error within a few minutes and apply simple relocation techniques using handrails and prominent features.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of local and national access issues, access legislation, personal responsibilities and the Countryside Code.
  • Demonstrate appropriate knowledge of walking equipment, safety equipment and emergency procedures.

Silver Award

The Silver National Navigation Award develops the navigation skills acquired at the Bronze level. It adds skills required to navigate to features and places some distance from paths and tracks. It teaches accurate compass work. It will also teach you to select the suitable navigational techniques to cross open country.

Silver National Navigation Award courses are taught in areas with access to open country and involve periods where you’ll be navigating away from paths and tracks.

Silver National Navigation Award Syllabus:

  • Utilise the skills and techniques of the Bronze Award in the context of Silver Award navigation strategies.
  • Relate small hills, small valleys, prominent re-entrants and prominent spurs to their corresponding map contours. Use prominent hills, ridges, spurs and valleys as a means of navigation in good visibility.
  • Use landforms and point features to orientate the map and as collecting and catching features.
  • Use a compass to: Accurately follow a bearing; aim off; check the direction of handrails and other linear features.
  • Deviate briefly from a compass bearing to avoid obstacles or difficult terrain and accurately regain the original line.
  • Use back bearings to check route following accuracy.
  • Measure distance on the ground in varied, open terrain using timing and pacing and make practical allowances for any discrepancies.
  • Simplify legs using coarse navigation, attack points and fine navigation.
  • Recognise dangerous or difficult terrain on map and ground.
  • Plan and implement navigational strategies based on the above skills.
  • Maintain route finding accuracy in poor visibility or darkness.
  • Recognise a navigation error within a few minutes and apply appropriate relocation techniques.
  • Understand how personal fitness and nature of terrain affect route choice both at the planning stage and on the ground.
  • Understand the potential consequences of fatigue and physical discomfort in demanding terrain and/or extreme weather conditions.
  • Select appropriate clothing, equipment and first aid items for walking in open country in all weather conditions.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Countryside Code, current access legislation and the environmental impact of walkers on the countryside.
  • Understand the responsibilities of walkers towards other countryside interests such as farming, forestry and conservation.

Gold Award

The Gold National Navigation Award builds on the skills acquired at the Bronze and Silver levels and adds techniques and skills for dealing with complex contour features both large and small.

The Gold National Navigation Award is delivered in two parts with separate Training and Assessment courses giving you ample time to practice.

Gold courses are run by tutors who not only have plenty of top level navigation experience but also have been on a special NNAS-run course in tutoring Gold courses.

Gold National Navigation Award Syllabus:

  • Utilise the skills and techniques of the Bronze and Silver Awards in the context of GGold National Navigation Award navigation strategies.
  • Utilise contours and fine detail as the prime method of navigation.
  • Accurately: Follow a route, judge distance, check progress against time, use relevant compass skills and maintain continuous map contact.
  • Use back bearings and transits to confirm current position.
  • Use aspect of slope as an aid to relocation.
  • Select appropriate techniques within an overall navigation strategy.
  • Navigate in intricate terrain in reduced visibility i.e. mist or darkness.
  • Select an appropriate, safe route in relation to height gain and loss, dangerous terrain and other major hazards.
  • Assess the route ahead in the field in relation to prevailing conditions or changing circumstances (e.g. weather, time, daylight, ability/fitness) and re-plan the route appropriately if necessary.
  • Shorten a route, use an escape route and know emergency procedures.
  • Recognise the occurrence of a navigational error within a few minutes and apply appropriate relocation techniques.
  • Select appropriate clothing, equipment and first aid for walking in remote areas in all weather conditions.
  • Understand the physical demands created by hill and moorland terrain in all weather conditions.
  • Understand the effects of cold, heat, fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route.

How do i get onto a course?

If you wish to attend one of our navigation courses:

  1. Give us a call on 07979 337751 or send us an enquiry via our contact form
  2. Once you have spoken to a member of the team, complete our online booking form.

We have a range of dates of courses and all of these are avalable in our Diary just choose the date that suits you. Private courses are avalable.



Can’t Find What You Want?

If you can’t find exactly what you want, get in touch. We can discuss your requirements and build a course around your needs! Give us a call on 07979 337751 or use our online enquiry form HERE