Map Reading and Navigation

The National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) is a nationally recognised personal skills qualification, that offers a well-structured approach to learning to navigate. Whether you are just beginning to explore the great outdoors or more experienced there is an award for you, to develop your skills and confidence as a navigator. Here's what we can offer you here at our centre on the edge of the Peak District National Park:

NNAS Bronze Award 2 Day Course
This introductory course is great for those with little or no experience and will equip you with the skills to required to plan and safely follow a countryside route along foot paths and tracks. It will also cover the basic map and compass skills required for this level. The classroom aspects of the course will be delivered on site at the centre with practical sessions taking place around the reservoir and in the surrounding peak district countryside.

  • 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.

NNAS Silver Award 2 Day Course
This course builds on previous knowledge and the skills developed on the Bronze award, equipping you to take navigate yourself away from the tracks and footpaths and into more open country. As well as adding to your toolbox of techniques to safely guide yourself in open country and reduce visibility. 

  • 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.

Personalised Navigation Training
If you have more specific requirements for navigation training, whether for personal skills, an event or in preparation for a qualification, please get in touch and we can tailor  programme to your needs.  
Check below for course dates and details of how to book or please feel free to call the centre on 01538 300741 or email for more information or to book your places.


Intro to Navigation Day

Monday 18th March 2024 10:00 -16:00
Intro to Navigation Day

If you are looking to get out exploring but don’t know where to start with a map, this is the course for you. We will introduce the basic skills to get you started before heading out into the surrounding countryside to put the skills in to practice.