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Our 2 day novice to intermediate map reading courses are an ideal introduction to map reading and navigation

No experience is needed to participate, so if you're new to navigation this course is the perfect introduction to the use of various types of maps and compass and navigation in general.

Of course there may be a mixture of experience and our instructors are able to devise and plan courses so that each person gains as much as possible from their time with us. 

There is an emphasis on learning through doing.  As a very wise man (Aristotle) once said "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them"   

Hopefully Aristotle would agree that learning in a relaxed and informal way is the best method of gaining a skill, so our courses are run in a safe, relaxed and informative style.

The aim of our courses is to equip you with the essential skills needed be able to navigate safely and confidently over the English countryside.  Don't forget that navigation is 25% map work, 25% compass work and 50% confidence in the other two. 

This is a practical course so we'll be spending as much time as possible outdoors giving you plenty of opportunity to gain valuable experience and practice your new found skills.  

Our two days courses are based around the National Navigation Award Scheme bronze award.

An added bonus

Our two day courses are accredited by Ofqual via the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at Level 4, this is equivalent to the NVQ in the rest of the UK and the EQF Level 2 abroad.

So after your course it'll be time to load up your CV and get it updated. You're a qualified navigator.

 View course locations on a Map.

 View the full course syllabus for each level.

   What you will learn on the course

   A quick look at the itinerary

On successfully completing the two day course you'll be able to:
  • Navigate using a variety of maps
  • Use grid references to give the position of a map feature and to locate a feature on the ground
  • Orientate the map using various methods
  • Use linear features (e.g. paths, tracks, clear boundaries) as handrails
  • Locate prominent features by using the contours on a maps.
  • Orientate the map using a compass
  • Use your orientated map to confirm your direction of travel along a route.
  • Use obvious features to confirm your position along you route and be able to recognise when things have gone wrong
  • Measure distances on the map and estimate the corresponding distance on the ground using timing and pacing
  • Plan and implement simple routes and navigation strategies based your new found skills
  • Recognise navigation errors quickly and be able use simple relocation techniques
  • Demonstrate an awareness of local and national access rules and the Countryside Code
  • Demonstrate appropriate knowledge of walking equipment, safety equipment and emergency procedures

The basic plan is as follows, but do bear in mind that our programme is "very" flexible.

Day 1

  • 09:30
    •  Arrive  - issue equipment (maps and compasses)
  • 10:00
    • Once everyone has had the opportunity to grab a coffee or tea (don't forget your flask) we'll have a brief introductory theory session during which we'll:
      • Introduce the various maps types
      • Have a look at all the information on your map - which many people simply don't know is there
      • Take a brief look at grid references
      • Basically make sure that everyone is comfortable with their equipment and ensure that everyone has the knowledge required to fully participate in the outdoor sessions
  • 11:00
    •  It's time to venture outdoors
      • Orientating your map using ground features and your compass.
        • Practice
      • 9 tree forest - don't worry it will all become clear once we start
      • Discover how to locate ground features on the map and vice a versa
      • Spend some time looking at contours
  • 13:00 (ish)
    • Lunch - don't forget your sandwiches
      • Navigation
        • Using your (orientated) map only
        • Using handrails only  - these are linear feature such as tracks or streams
        • Using contours only
        • Combination of all,  with checks to ensure we are travelling in the right direction and look at ways to correct any errors
        • A quick look at the various functions of your compass
  • 16:30
    • Finish
Day 2

  • 10:00 
    • Pacing, timing, etc combined with what you see on your map
  • 10:30 
    • It's time to look again and use our compass
      • Taking a baring from the map
      • Taking a baring from the ground
      • Following a compass baring
      • Tick Features and Catchments
  • 13:30
    • Lunch
  • 14:00
    •  ** Now this is what we've all come here to do **
      It's time for you to plan and lead a route using your map, compass and all your other new skills
      • Methods of checking that the direction you planned to follow is actually what's happening?
    • Recap and go over any topics of which anyone is unsure
  • 16:00
    • Brief discussion on the countryside code, emergency procedures and equipment
  • 16:30
    • Finish

Don't forget this is not a definite itinerary as the weather can have a major effect of the flow of the course.  Plus on some courses we spend more/less time on certain topics.  But hopefully it will give you a better idea of our general plan.