Skip to main content

Navigation and Map Reading – Lake District

By 8th September 2020August 6th, 2022Navigation


Join us on a navigation and map reading course in the Lake District and you will learn the golden rules of map reading – and much more.

Navigation using a map and compass is not some irrelevant skill from the past. GPS and smartphones have not made map reading redundant. For any number of reasons it’s still the number one skill to learn before venturing out into remote hills and mountains in the UK. We discuss these reasons on our courses. The root cause of many accidents and mountain rescue call-outs is a navigational error. Sure, you may call them out to rescue a walker with a broken leg. But when you trace back along the chain of events that led to the accident, it so often stems from ‘taking the wrong turn’ or ‘not being sure of the way.’

You can also read our article with lots of tips on how to improve your map reading and navigation skills.

Booking and Prices

If you’d like to know more about our navigation and map reading courses in the Lake District, then see our main page for more details and prices or see what our clients say about us.

When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.

We also run navigation courses in Snowdonia and the Yorkshire Dales.

You can read our article with lots of tips on how to improve your map reading and navigation skills.

Beginners’ Map Reading Courses in the Lake District

A map being orientated to match the features around it, in this case Grasmere, during a map reading course in the Lake District

Orientating a map visually

These map reading courses are ideal for anyone who is terrified by navigation or thinks that they simply can’t do it. The emphasis is on demystifying the whole subject and making it accessible to everyone. Simple language. Simple concepts. Everyday comparisons. In addition, we have a whole ‘toolbox’ of techniques and tips to help you to understand in a way that makes sense to you.

As with many things, you don’t need to learn or even understand everything on Day One. You just need to know enough. Once you have practised what you have learned and it is becoming embedded, then it’s time to move again. This is how the courses are structured. They give you the opportunity to learn progressively at your own pace, regardless of what others might be doing.

Intermediate Navigation and Map Reading Courses

Our intermediate courses build on the beginners’ map reading courses and help you to become independent in more challenging terrain and situations. Typically this will involve more reliance on your compass and less on visible ‘handrail’ features. It will also involve making much more use of contours to interpret the shape of the land rather than relying on man-made features or easily visible features such as tracks, streams and forests.

Students study the map and plan the next part of their journey on a navigation course in the Lake District” width=

Planning the next part of the journey

Advanced Navigation and Night Navigation Courses

Book some night navigation training and take your navigation skills to another level. You might wonder why you would do a navigation and map reading course at night, when you don’t usually go walking at night. There are a number of answers to this.

Practising night navigation on a navigation course

Practising night navigation

First of all, the UK has short days during the autumn and winter months. Often the amount of daylight available is less than the amount of time needed to complete your hike. So it’s inevitable that you will do either the start or the finish of the walk at night. Even in the summer, if you have planned a very long walk, there still might not be enough daylight.

Second, closely related, is that it can be quite common for a day’s walk in daylight to go on longer than expected. This could be due to  simply walking more slowly than planned.  Or it could perhaps be due to an accident of some sort. In these cases, you become caught out by nightfall unexpectedly but still need to navigate your way home.

There is a third reason for a night navigation course.  Darkness simulates other conditions where there is very limited visibility. Examples of this could be cloudy conditions on a mountain summit, a winter blizzard, or being deep in woodland or forest.

A night navigation course in the Lake District will suit you if your walking exploits are becoming more adventurous and you are likely to encounter any of the circumstances described above. It could also be useful for someone who is on the journey with their Mountain Training qualifications and wants a bit of coaching or to be put through their paces a little.