Man with compass in countryside

Navigation Training

Develop your outdoor skills and achieve a recognised award with Northumberland National Park

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These courses will develop your navigation and outdoor skills.

You can choose from a bronze or silver award. Both offer certified training for navigation and understanding of 'hill skills'.

This opportunity is provided by Northumberland National Park.


  • Type: Two-day course
  • Dates: Various (confirmed as part of booking process)
  • Locations: Northumberland - see details
  • Cost: Free (fully funded)
  • Suitable for: Individuals aged 15 - 26 years

About this opportunity

This two-day course includes training and assessment for one of the following awards. It is taught partly in the classroom and partly outdoors.

Bronze Navigator Award

The Bronze National Navigation Award (NNAS) 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 students and groups who are looking to develop their outdoor skills. NNAS Bronze award is accredited by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework at Level 4, and two credit points are awarded on completion (see full details).

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. View the full syllabus below.

Silver Navigator Award

The Silver National Navigation Award (NNAS) 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 and will also teach you to select the suitable navigational techniques to cross open country.

NNAS Silver courses are taught in areas with access to open country and involve periods where you’ll be navigating away from paths and tracks. This award is accredited by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework at Level 5 and two credit points are awarded on completion (see full details). View the full syllabus below.

Need to know

Learning outcomes

On the course, you will benefit from:

  • certified training for navigation and understanding of 'hill skills'
  • knowledge and skills to enable independent and confident exploration of the countryside
  • direct health and wellbeing benefits of being outside in the countryside for the training

What to bring

You will need to bring suitable outdoor clothing and footwear, as well as packed lunch, drinks and snacks.

Access guidance

Please make us aware of any special requirements or relevant medical conditions in advance, so we can make reasonable adjustments wherever possible.


The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre

Once Brewed, Hexham, NE47 7AN

Available from 1st June 2021 - 28th February 2022

View the centre

Full award syllabus

Bronze Navigator Award Syllabus

With NNAS Bronze, you will learn to:

  • 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 (such as 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 the 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, such as 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 Syllabus

With NNAS Silver, you will learn to:

  • 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 - using 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

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