Chasing Peaks

Adventure - Experience - Expedition

Navigation Courses

Return to the overview

Low Visibility Navigation

Most people can navigate when they can see, but what if your vision extends only as far as your headtorch can shine? What if you suddenly find yourself lost in the dark or surrounded by thick fog? Since navigating in the dark is likely to happen at the end of a day, possibly after something went wrong earlier on, the skills required and techniques used should be practised at least once in the safety of an organised exercise. The workshop runs over one (albeit long) evening. Needless to say a headtorch is an absolute must for this one.

Upcoming open sessions:

None at this time

Any pre-requisites?

You should be able to take and follow a bearing with relative confidence. You will be reasonably familiar with basic navigation strategies. If you have completed NNAS Silver or NNAS Gold (or equivalent courses) you should not encounter any issues.

What will you learn?

  • Interpreting the map in low/no visibility
  • Identifying suitable features to use in the given conditions
  • Confident taking and following of bearings
  • Accurate pacing and timing - how to ensure this is consistent
  • Contours as a primary navigation tool
  • Emphasis on coarse and fine navigation - when to relax while concentrating

What can you expect?

Enhance your compass skills and practice your navigational precision. Learn to trust your tools, systems and strategies in situations where error margins are greatly reduced.

Our evening starts just before dusk when we will meet in the designated car park. Walking out we will take note of our surroundings and demonstrate the need to know some basic information before visibility disappears. Once darkness sets in and our traditional navigation strategies stop working effectively we will begin the meat of the workshop.

Relying primarily on bearings, pacing and timing we will make our way through the area and eventually return back to the car park. Depending on the previous knowledge of participants we may focus our attention on path based navigation or off-path navigation. Either way you are guaranteed plenty of practice, mental challenge and a good evening out.

Please be aware that this workshop likely finishes around midnight to ensure we have sufficient low-light conditions.

What do you need to bring?

Participants should be equipped as if out for a full day out in the mountains with warm layers, waterproofs and sturdy walking boots. Due to the nature of the workshop you will need to provide a head torch with spare batteries (just in case). 

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). 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. If you are in doubt about a particular model give us a shout and we'll tell you whether it's suitable. Due to the lower margin of error during low visibility navigation we would strongly recommend a brand model (e.g. Silva, Suunto) over a budget model.

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?

This workshop is a top-up to our standard navigation courses. As a result it is not accredited.

Return to the overview

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.