Cover essential map reading skills on this two day course where you’ll learn how to use ‘handrail features’ like paths and walls to guide you along your way as well learning how to measure distance, understand grid references and plan your own routes. You’ll also learn the basics of how to use a compass and how to use it with your map to ensure you don’t get lost. The Bronze Award will take you from relying on friends or guidebooks to being able to plan a walk and follow it successfully.
The National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) is a personal performance scheme for all ages to learn navigation skills and gain confidence to get out and enjoy the countryside. Their Navigator Awards give lovers of the outdoors, whatever their sport, age or fitness, the freedom to explore the paths, trails, hills and mountains of Britain. Progress through the Bronze and Silver Awards to take you from being an absolute map and compass novice to become an expert navigator. You can view the full syllabus in the FAQs below. Our experienced instructors will share their knowledge with you and answer any questions you have about exploring the hills and mountains of the UK.
The Bronze NNAS Navigator Award is recognised by the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, Scout and Guide Associations and many other outdoor groups. The award is accredited by the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at Level 4, and 2 SCQF credit points are awarded on completion. Successful candidates receive a digital certificate along with their nationally recognised qualification.
Each day begins with a short ‘classroom’ session over breakfast at The Penny Pot Cafe in Edale in the heart of the Peak District. This is a great opportunity to pick up the new skills you’ll need for when you head out to continue the learning in the local hills. The end of the day finishes with cake back at the cafe whilst the group recaps the day.
Public courses take place throughout the year or if there’s three or more of you in your party you can pick your own date. Book online using the live availability checker or contact us to find out more.
You might also be interested in our Silver NNAS Navigator Award and Intensive NNAS ‘Straight to Silver’ Navigator Award courses.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Children aged eight and over are welcome on our National Navigation Award Scheme courses when accompanied by a parent, guardian or carer. Discounted prices are available for children aged 8-15 and for family groups.
The NNAS Bronze and Silver Navigator Awards take place over two consecutive days and you’ll need to attend both days to be eligible for the qualification. We usually start at 9am and aim to finish before 5pm each day (with a little bit of homework in between!) The aim is to enjoy the weekend and the pace reflects this. Each day starts with a short ‘classroom’ session before heading out into the hills for the practical element.
Our Bronze NNAS Navigator Award takes place in the heart of the Peak District in the small village of Edale. Only around an hour’s drive from Manchester or Sheffield and easily accessible from the M1 for London and the North, the Peak District is perfectly located in the middle of the country.
Edale also has a railway station on the Manchester-Sheffield line making it accessible to all.
If you’d like to stay over and make a weekend of it (always recommended!) then there are a few very local accommodation options available:
- The Rambler Inn is the pub just around the corner from where the course meets. It has nine en-suite rooms available as well as a one bedroom cottage.
- Fieldhead Campsite is a small 45 pitch site again just a few minutes walk from where we meet. It’s a bit ‘rustic’ (there’s no electricity, wifi or even phone signal!) but it’s a lovely little site to get away from it all.
- Newfold Farm in the centre of the village (a five minute walk) welcomes tents as well as campervans and caravans or you can book to stay in one of their luxury bell tents. They also have a cafe and make great pizza at weekends!
If you have a car then you can also look for accommodation in nearby Castleton, Hope, Hathersage and other surrounding villages and small towns.
You’ll need outdoor kit for a whole weekend in the hills whatever the weather! You’ll also need an Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 Explorer map for the Dark Peak area (OL1). If you happen to have an OS 1:50 000 Landranger (110) or Harvey Peak District Central map then bring them along but don’t go out and buy them specially. The only one you definitely need is the OS OL1 map. You’ll also need a compass. We recommend the Silva Expedition 4 but any long-edged compass will do the job.
Remember to bring enough food and drink with you to last the whole weekend and some money for breakfasts and cakes!
There’s a full kit list below. Please have a look at the weather before setting off and dress accordingly. Better to have an extra fleece and woolly hat in your bag just in case. Remember we’ll be outdoors all weekend in all weathers so be sure to have the right gear. If it’s looking wet then keeping spares clothes to change into in your car is also a good idea.
- Comfortable hill walking clothing – personal base layers and trousers (not jeans)
- Waterproof jacket with hood
- Waterproof trousers (separate to your walking trousers)
- Spare warm/fleece jacket
- Walking boots or walking trainers
- Comfortable walking socks
- Warm hat and gloves or sun hat and sun screen (weather dependent)
- Vacuum flask for hot drink and/or re-usable water bottle
- Personal first aid kit and personal medication
- Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 Explorer map for the Dark Peak area (OL1)
- Compass (long-edge type such as the Silva Expedition 4)
- Day walk rucksack – approx. 20-25 litres
- Packed lunch and snacks for each day
You can get hold of OS maps direct from Ordnance Survey or from any book store including Amazon but we recommend Dash4It – the map superstore. They guarantee the latest maps at the cheapest prices all with free delivery. They also stock a wide range of compasses.
You can buy outdoor gear from a wide variety of independent and national retailers but MountainXperience recommends Cotswold Outdoor where you’re assured of the best advice and service from real outdoor people. Customers of MountainXperience receive 12.5% off purchases at Cotswold Outdoor stores and online.
There’s no need to worry about the assessment. Whilst you will need to meet certain criteria set out by National Navigation Award Scheme you’ll have the whole weekend to prove yourself. The assessment tends to take place throughout the course rather than as an ‘exam’ on Sunday afternoon. Our instructors want you to pass as much as you do and will be able to provide additional support during the day or in the evenings if required.
Of course. The requirements for the NNAS Navigator Awards are specified by The National Navigation Award Scheme and can be found below. Don’t be too worried if you don’t understand all the terminology as that’s what our instructors are there for but it might help you decide which level to start at.
The Bronze Navigator 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.
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.
For a full syllabus of the Bronze National Navigation Award see below:
- 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 the 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.