Over a weekend you’ll start to leave the paths behind and navigate in open country using a compass on short bearings. As your confidence increases you’ll learn more advanced compass skills and add timing and pacing into the mix too. The Silver Award takes place on more difficult terrain than the Bronze Award and away from easy-to-follow paths and trails.

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. The NNAS Navigator Awards give lovers of the outdoors, whatever your sport, age or fitness, the freedom to explore the paths, trails, hills and mountains of Britain and abroad. Progressing through the Bronze and Silver Awards will take you from being an absolute map and compass novice right through to be an expert navigator.

Our mountain navigation training and map reading courses run throughout the year from the heart of the country in the Peak District National Park. We’ll explain in advance what will happen over the weekend and ensure you’ve got the right gear for an enjoyable time in the countryside. All NNAS courses take place over two days and you’ll need to arrange accommodation and we can often help with recommendations if you’re stuck. The courses are held entirely outdoors so be sure to bring everything you need with you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

NNAS set a limit of eight people however we usually have far fewer people on our courses so you’re guaranteed the attention of our tutors.

Our Introduction to Navigation course is a one day activity running from around 8am to 4pm. The NNAS Bronze and Silver Navigator Awards take place over two days and you’ll need to attend both days.

There’s no need to worry. Whilst you will need to meet certain criteria set out by NNAS 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 Silver Navigator 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.

​For the full syllabus of the Silver National Navigation Award see below:

  • 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.

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