Chasing Peaks

Adventure - Experience - Expedition

Navigation Courses

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Mountain Navigation (Advanced)

Now that you have had some time to learn to listen to the voice at the back of your head we will introduce you to the final round of navigational techniques. By using some of the features and techniques you already know and applying them differently we aim to nurture a spirit of experimentation. Good navigators in the outdoors are not only solid in their fundamental skills, but also willing to apply these skills in ever changing ways depending on the problem they face.


Upcoming open sessions:

None at this time

Any pre-requisites?

You should be comfortable navigating in most terrain using paths and tracks. You know the basics of compass use and use this occasionally in your navigation. You understand the basics of contours and how land forms are represented on the map.
You should have recent experience of walking in the hills or mountains and some prior experience of steep ground is an advantage, but not strictly necessary.

What will you learn?

  • Using contours as main method of navigation
  • Increase accuracy of route finding, distance, timing and bearings
  • Advanced compass techniques
  • Aspect of slope
  • Micro-navigation in intricate terrain
  • Detailed low visibility navigation
  • Route choice in complex and dangerous terrain
  • Dynamic changes to planned routes while en-route
  • Recognising errors before they happen and counteracting them
  • Understand the environmental factors of the remote countryside
  • Identifying and coping with steep and difficult terrain
  • Mountain weather forecasts and observations

What can you expect?

Learn to navigate using the natural features of the landscape as your primary tool. Become confident at navigating regardless of the weather, terrain or situation you are in.

Day one will start in a cafe, so the group can meet and we can plan the days walk. Today the trainer will largely dictate where the group is going and will explain their reasoning given the various influencing factors such as the group, weather, time of year etc. Once out in the mountains the day will largely focus on applying the existing basic navigation strategies to the mountain environment. Through encouraging you to experiment with the known basics you will discover that many advanced strategies are merely extensions to the ones you already know.
During lunch we will be discussing the mountain environment and weather and how they both affect our route planning, choice and execution.
The afternoon is an opportunity for you to practise and consolidate the learnt material by planning your route on the go. Taking a step back, your trainer will be able to offer helpful feedback and encouragement while ideally leaving the hard work to you. You will usually spend a few hours out after dark on this course to allow you to practice your detailed micro-navigation, though this depends on the group and time of year.

Day two will again start in a cafe and your trainer will outline where you will be heading. Sometimes we will do this the evening before and meet you directly in the car park on the day. Today is focussed on contour work and trying to make you understand that contours are just complex line features. Again, the morning will be spent teaching you the ins and outs of detailed contour work while the afternoon will give you plenty of time to practise the techniques and strategies. At the end of the second day your trainer will provide individual feedback with an honest assessment of what stage your navigation is at and where you might need to spend more time consolidating.

By the end of this course you will have come across the vast majority of navigational strategies used in map based land navigation, especially if you have completed NNAS Bronze and NNAS Silver beforehand.

What do you need to bring?

Participants should be equipped for a full day out in the mountains with warm layers, waterproofs and sturdy walking boots.

All participants will require a 360° baseplate compass, ideally with a magnifying glass built in. There are cheaper and more expensive models on the market to choose from starting around £5 for a cheap Hi Gear compass to £30 for a Silva Expedition 4 model. Our instructors favour the Silva Expedition 4 (non-military model) although the Silva Ranger model is a viable alternative. Whichever compass you choose to bring along make sure it is a baseplate style like the ones mentioned here, has a rotating compass housing with 360° markings, a clearly marked needle (two colours) and comes with measuring scales along the side. Ideally one of these scales should be 1:25k/1:25000 and another should be 1:50k/1:50000. If you are in doubt about a particular model give us a shout and we'll tell you whether it's suitable.

We provide all mapping for the duration of the course and you will be able to keep the maps you have used for future use and reference at no extra cost.

Is the course accredited?

We are currently working towards getting this course accredited, though for the time being it is not. The content is equivalent to the NNAS Gold course syllabus. As a result this course is a sole training course with no in-built or future assessment.

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What do our difficulty values mean?

Suitable for beginners with little or no previous knowledge and experience.
For walking activities you should be able to walk at a slow to average pace continuously for 30 minutes.

Suitable for intermediates with basic knowledge and previous experience.
Walking participants should be able to walk at an average pace continuously for 1 hour.
Climbing participants should be able to pass a belay test and/or demonstrate good bouldering practice.

Suitable for those competent at and comfortable with the basics of the activity.
Walking participants should be able to walk at an average pace and ascent rate continuously for 1 hour.
For mountain activities, you should be a little sure-footed and not hugely afraid of heights, as activities may include short sections of exposure and steep ground.
Climbing participants should be able to comfortably and competently top-rope grade 5 climbs or boulder the equivalent.

Suitable for experienced participants with above average fitness and knowledge.
Walking participants are expected to be able to walk at an average pace and rate of ascent continuously for 1 hour over broken terrain.
For mountain activities you are expected to be sure-footed, have a moderate head for heights and be happy with longer stretches of moderate exposure.
Climbing participants are expected to competently lead climb/belay and climb grade 5 indoors (or the equivalent boulder grade).

Suitable for very experienced participants with high degrees of fitness and above average knowledge of the basics.
Walking participants are expected to be able to walk to Naismith's rule (3-4km/hr + 1min/10m ascent) steadily for long periods of time over broken and complex terrain.
For mountain activities you are expected to have a good sense of balance, be sure-footed and happy with long stretches of, at times severe, exposure.
Participants are expected to show high levels of competence and self-sufficiency in their disciplines.

Our current private course price list:
For the prices listed here, we deliver a private booking just for you, on your chosen date and time. Where practical we will deliver the booking in your chosen location, though any areas outside of our usual operational areas may incur extra travel costs. We will let you know should this be the case. You will receive a full breakdown of costs with your quote.
Scrambling£180 for the first 2 participants, £45 for each additional participant

A significant portion of the day is spent scrambling in complex, rocky and steep terrain.

Mountain Walk£180 for the first 4 participants, £45 for each additional participant

Most of the day is spent walking in the mountains, though short sections of scrambling and steep terrain may be encountered.

Hill Walking£170 for the first 4 participants, £25 for each additional participant

Days involving no possibility of scrambling and encountering rocky or steep terrain.

Lowland Walking£160 for the first 6 participants, £20 for each additional participant
Beginner Navigation£390 for the first 4 participants, £75 for each additional participant

2 days learning the fundamentals of navigating with map and compass.

Intermediate Navigation£410 for the first 4 participants, £100 for each additional participant

2 days intermediate navigation, learning to navigate off path and across open countryside.

Advanced Navigation£360 for the first 2 participants, £120 for each additional participant

2 day advanced navigation course learning to navigate in mountaineous terrain and remote countryside.