We offer fully accredited National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) Navigator Award courses to give you the navigation skills and confidence you need to get out and enjoy the countryside.

The Awards

The aims of the National Navigation Award Scheme’s Navigator Award are simple – to give lovers of the outdoors, whatever their sport, age or fitness, the freedom to explore the paths, trails, hills and mountains of Britain and abroad.

The National Navigation Award Scheme is a personal performance, non-competitive, incentive scheme for all ages. Gaining an award does not give you a qualification to teach or lead. It is a recognition of the level of skill at which you can navigate. These courses are equally applicable to mountain bikers, horse riders, fell runners and anyone else needing to know where they are in the outdoors!

There are three levels – the Bronze Award, the Silver Award and the Gold  Award. Progressing through the three awards will take you from being an absolute map and compass novice right through to be an expert navigator at Gold. The courses are progressive, each building on the skills from the previous, primarily outdoors, on the hills and in a relaxed, supportive & fun environment. You don’t have to start at Bronze, although it expected that you will have completed the Silver award at least before you start a Gold Award course.

We can also run the Navigator courses privately for your group or club. Please get in touch for private course costs & availability. These courses are for adults, but under-18s are welcome to attend if they are accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.

Bronze Navigator Award - New to Navigation

The Bronze National Navigation Award is a practical hands-on award. It is aimed at people with no navigation experience, whether you are new to the outdoors or have been relying on others, guidebooks or easy well-defined routes.

It is also the starting point for many Duke of Edinburgh students, scouts and guides and cadet groups who are looking to develop their outdoor skills.

The syllabus of the Bronze National Navigation Award teaches navigation in the countryside using paths tracks and other linear features. Basic map interpretation and compass work is also included. Check the full Bronze Award syllabus below.

  • 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 & locate a feature on the ground.
  • Orientate the map using handrails, obvious point features & major landforms.
  • Use linear features (e.g. paths, tracks, clear boundaries) as handrails in simple navigation exercises.
  • Relate prominent landforms such as large hills & valleys to corresponding contour information on the map.
  • Orientate the map by aligning a compass needle against grid north & be aware that magnetic variation causes an inaccuracy.
  • Use clearly identifiable features to confirm position along the route & recognise when the target has been overshot.
  • Use an orientated map to confirm the direction of travel.
  • 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

Silver Navigator Award - Improve your Navigation

The Silver National Navigation 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. Check the full Silver Award syllabus 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.

Gold Navigator Award - Become an Expert Navigator

The Gold Navigator Award builds on the skills acquired at the Bronze and Silver levels and adds techniques and skills for dealing with complex contour features both large and small.

The Gold National Navigation Award has recently been review and updated, and now includes pre- and post-course question papers. These will be given to candidates when they book.

Achieving your Gold Award indicates you can navigate to at an equivalent level to a qualified Mountain Leader. Check the full Gold Award syllabus below.

  • Utilise the skills and techniques of the Bronze and Silver Awards in the context of Gold National Navigation Award navigation strategies.
  • Utilise contours and fine detail as the prime method of navigation.
  • Accurately: Follow a route, judge distance, check progress against time, use relevant compass skills and maintain continuous map contact.
  • Use back bearings and transits to confirm the current position.
  • Use aspect of slope as an aid to relocation.
  • Select appropriate techniques within an overall navigation strategy.
  • Navigate in intricate terrain in reduced visibility i.e. mist or darkness.
  • Select an appropriate, safe route in relation to height gain and loss, dangerous terrain and other major hazards.
  • Assess the route ahead in the field in relation to prevailing conditions or changing circumstances (e.g. weather, time, daylight, ability/fitness) and re-plan the route appropriately if necessary.
  • Shorten a route, use an escape route and know emergency procedures.
  • Recognise the occurrence of a navigational error within a few minutes and apply appropriate relocation techniques.
  • Select appropriate clothing, equipment and first aid for walking in remote areas in all weather conditions.
  • Understand the physical demands created by hill and moorland terrain in all weather conditions.
  • Understand the effects of cold, heat, fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route.
  • Understand the implications of climate change on the outdoor environment and be knowledgeable in practical steps to mitigate its effect.
  • Understand the pros and cons of appropriate electronic navigation devices and describe/demonstrate their use in the context of Gold terrain.


Q: How good do I have to be?

A: You can start at the Navigator Award Bronze Level with no experience at all. Each course has small numbers (typically 1:8 at the most) giving you lots of personal practice, the chance to ask questions and really gain confidence in your skills.

Q: Can I start at the Navigator Award Silver or Gold level?

A: We'll ask you about your previous experience and abilities to determine whether such a course would be appropriate for you, but yes this is possible.

Q: How much do the Navigator Award courses cost?

A: Course costs vary as we offer different types of delivery and accommodation. Check the online booking form for the price of your chosen course.

Q: When and where are courses run?

A: Courses run year round and take place in the Clwydian Range, north-east Wales, the Berwyn range & Snowdonia. Location and dates will depend on the course provider. Courses are often run at weekends, and some providers are happy to tailor a course to your own dates and needs.

Q: What about insurance?

A: We hold public liability insurance. We advise you to obtain travel insurance.