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Beginners’ Navigation Courses


We regularly run beginners’ map reading and GPS navigation courses in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and Eryri (Snowdonia).


In general, we do not schedule these in advance, as we like to make each one bespoke. This is how we adapt them to cater for different levels of ability and experience. However, we do have a limited number of  ‘open’ courses which are available to book on. These are shown in our events calendar.


Map reading and navigation is good fun. What’s more, it is also the first skill to become familiar with if you want to enjoy walks in the hills and moors of the UK, or indeed on trails all over the world. These beginners’ navigation courses are for people who have never navigated before, or have just followed along in large groups, but who now want to take more control for themselves. As well as enjoying a pleasant day’s walking, you will be shown all the main skills for map reading in the countryside on fairly well marked tracks and trails. We will also introduce you to basic use of a map and compass.

For courses including GPS navigation, we will cover the main functions of a dedicated GPS device (such as a Garmin). This will include an understanding of the different modes available. We will also look at using a mobile phone to navigate – which apps to choose, which type of mapping to use, and the limitations and constraints associated with relying on a mobile phone.

We run these courses in different areas of the country depending on your own preference or the skills you want to learn. Generally, we run the beginners’ navigation courses in parts of the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District fells and the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia).

We also offer more advanced courses for those who want to navigate in mountainous terrain.

Instructor:client ratio

The ratio for these courses is 1:8 maximum.

Other courses:

If the beginners’ map reading and navigation course doesn’t sound right for you, then have a look at some of the other courses and guiding that we offer:

…or see what our clients say about us.

The view from Ilkley Moor during a navigation course in the Yorkshire Dales

Course Details

Who is the course for?

Beginners’ map reading and navigation courses are for anyone and everyone, especially those who are nervous about navigation or who find it confusing.

Where is it held?

We usually run our beginners’ navigation courses in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and Eryri (Snowdonia).

How long is the course?

Courses are a minimum of one day long, but are often booked as a two-day weekend.

What does the course cover?

This course is bespoke but is generally aimed at the complete beginner, or those who struggle with navigation and find it confusing or difficult. Depending on your level of knowledge the course will cover topics such as:

  • Orientating the map and identifying land features (large and small)
  • Understanding your ‘journey’
  • Interpreting contours
  • Measuring distances on the map and on the ground
  • Using the compass for general direction and rough bearings
  • Simple navigational strategies
  • Basic relocation strategies – what to do if you are lost
  • Use of a dedicated GPS device for navigation (eg a Garmin)
  • Use of a mobile phone for navigation, including apps and mapping

What equipment is included?

You will need to provide: warm clothing including a waterproof jacket; walking boots; and a rucksack of about 30 litres. Depending on your level of experience, you might already own a compass.

For GPS navigation courses, you will need to bring along your own preferred device or take turns in sharing one.

We will:-

  • Provide maps and compasses.
  • Discuss an appropriate kit list when you book.

What does it cost?

“Open” courses are shown in the Calendar along with their prices which are usually around £60 per person.

“Private” bookings for one day start at £190 for one person; £210 for two people (i.e. £105 per person); £230 for three people (i.e. £77 per person); £250 for four people (i.e. £63 per person); etc.