Thursday, 12 December 2013

Learn Map Reading and Navigation with Peak Navigation Courses


Learn Map Reading and Navigation with Peak Navigation Courses

Silva Type 4 Compass
Being able to map read and navigate well is not only a means to keeping safe on your walks but is fun too!  It’s great being set free from guide books and have the ability to plan your own walks.

Peak Navigation Courses run a range of courses from those suitable for absolute beginners through to “ Navigation Master Classes” aimed at providing a testing day with useful revision for those already expert. There is something for everyone!




Most courses are 1 day courses, usually on a Saturday or Sunday and there is scope for progression through the courses.

1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation Course

The 1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation Courses is a good foundation level course that goes through the basics of map reading and how to use a compass. The day starts with a classroom session then progresses to a short walk through fields before lunch.  During lunch we plan a route to cross open moorland and then spend most of the afternoon walking the route. A final classroom session brings the day to its conclusion.

Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course
The Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course is aimed at people who already have experience of map reading  and have some walking experience but want to progress to walking over more difficult terrain where the use of the compass is an essential skill.  This courses teaches route planning and how to use a compass along with the various strategies for  navigating using a compass over open moorland.

The Intermediate Moorland Navigation Course is designed as a progression for those who have already attended the Introduction to Moorland Navigation or 1st Steps course though if you are an experienced walker with a knowledge of how to use a compass then it is possible to join this course.  This is a practical day spent navigating on the moors pacing on compass bearings to locate various "hard" features including aircraft wrecks and interpret the contour features.  There is an emphasis on “micro navigation” with pacing along compass bearings, looking at strategies for navigation and crossing difficult terrain.

Night Navigation Course
The poor visibility navigation course sets out to look at the strategies required either when the mist comes down or if you are out after dark (by choice or by accident). A short 3 to 4 hour practical session suitable for experienced walkers who have an idea of how to use a compass (though you don’t have to be an expert).

Peak Navigation Courses also provide National Navigation Awards. The Silver NNAS can be achieved by attending both the 1st Steps and Introduction to Moorland Navigation Courses (along with an additional route planning exercise).  The Gold NNAS courses is a dedicated 2 day course based in the Lake District.



Peak Navigation Courses are also able to offer bespoke navigation tuition for individuals or groups.

Peak Navigation Courses are Fun!!

Mike and Jane who run Peak Navigation Courses are both International Mountain Leaders and have each been hill walking for over 40 years.


Monday, 21 October 2013

New Season of Map Reading and Navigation Courses

Our first Map Reading and Navigation course of the Autumn 2013 season got off to a successful start, with 9 participants, one of whom continued to our Intermediate Course the following day, and as a result achieved his Silver National Navigation Award.

Despite an uncertain weather forecast, it stayed dry and mostly sunny offering great views from Longstone Moor during the afternoon, when we were able to put those new found skills of reading the map and using the compass to the test.


There are plenty of places left on Peak Navigation courses during November, so if you know anyone who may be interested, do pass on the details.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Map and Compass Course


New to walking and just starting out?
Map and Compass
Peak Navigation Courses run a course just for you!

  “1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation” is a course designed for the beginner or the person who has always left the navigation to others.  It takes you from the absolute basics and leaves you equipped to plan routes and navigate both through fields on paths and off path on easy moorland. This course can be combined with a 2nd day to achieve the Bronze (NNAS) National Navigation Award.



Map Reading Course
Map and Compass Course
Having the skills required to navigate using a map and compass gives you the freedom to move away from books of walks and to plan your own routes. An example of this is of Bamford Moor in the Peak District where I live. Here there are two stone circles and according to the map there are no paths leading to either of them. Peak Navigation Courses’ “Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course” will leave you equipped to plan and tackle such a route as this.

Basic map reading skills, using “hand rails and attack points” to get you close before setting your compass and walking on a bearing pacing the distance are all part of the course. The Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course is a 1 day part classroom based and part practical with time spent off path on open moorland.

Navigation Course
 Moving on a stage further, Peak Navigations “Intermediate Navigation Course” is a practical  1 day course spent entirely outdoors involving route planning and micro-navigation on Kinder Scout.

Putting the two courses together with a small amount of assessment it is possible to gain the Silver (NNAS) National Navigation Award.

Night Navigation Course

For those who can already navigate using a compass but wanting some “revision” Peak Navigation Courses run some “Navigation Master Classes” where we test out your existing skill levels and put you into scenarios at a level equivalent to Mountain Leader or Walking Group Leader. These days out are also designed to count as “Quality Days” for those undertaking qualifications




If you walk regularly in British hills there is always the possibility of being caught in the mist, blizzards or darkness. Peak Navigation Courses run an evening “Night Navigation Course” aimed at giving you confidence when navigating in poor visibility.  This is a 3 to 4 hour practical session aimed for experienced walkers and looks at the skills and strategies required for successful navigation across open moorland in poor visibility.

Peak Navigation Courses is owned and run by qualified International Mountain Leaders. Courses run from October through until June.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Foreign Maps


BL***Y Foreign Maps

Mike and Jane from Peak Navigation Courses spend the summer months guiding people in the mountains. This summer will see us in Spain’s Sierra Nevada, Swaziland, Mozambique, Scotland and Slovenia.

As International Mountain Leaders we are trained and assessed at using all sorts of foreign maps.  We have a lot to be thankful for in the U.K. as our Ordnance Survey maps are perhaps the best in the world. It also makes navigation easier with good maps and makes for safer enjoyment in the mountains.

Map extract - Spain's Sierra Nevada

In the UK our maps show crags and rock features. This is especially useful as you wouldn’t want to take a line over a cliff.  The map above is from Spain’s Sierra Nevada.  From the contour lines it appears that these are nice rounded hills with no crags at all.  

The cliffs at point A on the map

The next pictures below show Jane climbing / scrambling at points A and B on the map! Not a hint of a crag on the map, and Spain is supposedly a developed modern country.











The cliffs at point B on the map


















Peak Navigation Courses will be running again from mid October and it would be good to see you on one of our courses or “Navigation Masterclasses.” The autumn programme is on the website and the winter / spring programme will follow shortly.

We have some places left on some of our holidays and courses:


Monday, 1 April 2013

Silver National Navigation Award in a Weekend



Silver National Navigation Award in a Weekend

Learning to navigate in the snow
Peak Navigation Courses ran a Silver NNAS course over the Easter weekend for Natural Born Hikers, a “Meet Up” group from London. Ten students in total attended the weekend which was staffed by Jane, Mike and Steve from Peak Navigation Courses.  Normally the Silver NNAS is just a two day course but being Easter the course was extended so that after the Silver NNAS, we included a night / poor visibility navigation session on Big Moor and looked at some more advanced navigation techniques on Kinder Scout.





All ten students achieved the standard and had a great time.


Night Navigation on Big Moor
 Peak Navigation Courses have a programme of Navigation Courses, either 1 day or 2 day (NNAS) based in The Peak District throughout the year. Day courses are priced from £40 per person whilst the 2 day NNAS courses are £85 per person.

The courses run by Peak Navigation Courses are as follows:
1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation
A course designed for beginners who will mainly be walking through fields or easy moorland.

An Introduction to Moorland Navigation
Although a basic course, spends less time in the class room and fields and concentrates more on moorland walking. Suitable for fit beginners.

Improvers / Intermediate Navigation
Suitable for those who already know the basics of navigating using a compass but introduces more advanced techniques on difficult moorland and steep terrain. Pacing, timing, contouring; finding 5 obscure aircraft wrecks on Kinder Scout.

Night / Poor Visibility Navigation
This course is designed to give you confidence should you be caught out in poor visibility or after dark. It looks at and practices the various strategies useful in poor visibility. To get the best out of this course it is best coming already knowing how to use a map and compass.

Navigation Masterclass / Quality Day
These are days for experienced navigators who want to be involved in planning and navigating around challenging courses helping to refine and develop their navigation skills.

National Navigation Awards
The Bronze training and assessment is a two day course based from the village of Foolow. The two days can be consecutive or spaced out over different weekends. Day one being our 1st Steps to map reading and navigation course but day two being a newly devised day specific to the bronze syllabus and allowing time for assessment.
The Silver training and assessment will follow our Introduction to Moorland Navigation (based from Foolow) and Intermediate Navigation (on Kinder Scout), though there will be a formal route planning exercise introduced for NNAS candidates which is currently not compulsory for people attending the Intermediate course.
Mike and Jane who run Peak Navigation Courses are both qualified International Mountain Leaders.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

More Navigation in the Snow!


More Navigation in the Snow!
Peak Navigation Courses run a series of “Quality Days“ or Navigation Master classes aimed at allowing people who can already navigate the chance of some more testing navigation in remote locations. Last Sunday’s course certainly proved that in snowy conditions on Bleaklow with high winds and wind chill temperatures estimated to be -8 degrees (though I thought colder). Setting off from Birchin Clough car park we ascended Lady Clough before crossing the Snake Road onto Bleaklow via Upper North Grain.
Difficult navigation on featureless terrain - Navigation Masterclass

Quality Day on Kinder Scout
Specifically we practised pacing and pacing in snowy conditions where there is a significant loss of traction requiring more paces to 100m.

After joining the Pennine way which we followed for 300m, we continued off path navigating to obscure pools and spot heights; via Over Wood Moss before reaching the shelter and welcome respite of Oyster Clough shooting Cabin.

The navigation involved following compass bearings along broad snow clad ridges estimating time and distance from one broad summit to another, all the time in snow and battling against winds of 40 mph.

Not all of our courses are held in such challenging conditions and we run a range of courses for people at all levels of experience including the National Navigation Award schemes.  Our navigation courses are as follows:

1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation Course


1st Steps to Map Reading and Navigation
A course designed for beginners who will mainly be walking through fields or easy moorland.


Although a beginners course, covering the basics, this course spends less time in the class room and fields and concentrates more on moorland walking. Suitable for fit beginners.

Suitable for those who already know the basics of navigating using a compass but introduces more advanced techniques on difficult moorland and steep terrain. Pacing, timing, contouring; finding 5 obscure aircraft wrecks on Kinder Scout.


Night Navigation Course
This course is designed to give you confidence should you be caught out in poor visibility or after dark. It looks at and practices the various strategies useful in poor visibility. To get the best out of this course it is best coming already knowing how to use a map and compass.

These are days for experienced navigators who want to be involved in planning and navigating around challenging courses helping to refine and develop their navigation skills.


Learning Map Reading and Navigation
The Bronze training and assessment is a two day course based from the village of Foolow. The two days can be consecutive or spaced out over different weekends. Day one being our 1st Steps to map reading and navigation course but day two being a newly devised day specific to the bronze syllabus and allowing time for assessment.
The Silver training and assessment will follow our Introduction to Moorland Navigation (based from Foolow) and Intermediate Navigation (on Kinder Scout), though there will be a formal route planning exercise introduced for NNAS candidates which is currently not compulsory for people attending the Intermediate course.
If the take up of courses is as good as we expect then we will introduce Gold NNAS training and assessment in 2014 though this will be based in the Lake District.

Peak Navigation Courses are run by Jane Livingstone and Michael Hunt, both qualified International Mountain Leaders.  Jane and Michael also run walking holidays as Mountain House Holidays and from their base in Spain operate as Sierra Nevada Guides.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

NNAS Course Dates and Prices 2013, by Peak Navigation Courses


Dates for our NNAS training and Assessment Courses 2013.

Peak Navigation Courses have now finalised the dates for their NNAS courses in 2013. Our cost for these 2 day NNAS Courses is £85 (non residential).

Learning to use a compass
Bronze NNAS:           
25th and 26th May
12th and 13th October
9th and 10th November
both days based from Foolow 
in the Peak District


Silver NNAS:                       
1st and 2nd June
19th and 20th October
16th and 17th November
day 1, based from Foolow;  
day 2, near Edale


For the Bronze and Silver courses, you don’t have to commit to a whole weekend, you can mix and match the dates to suit you,    i.e. for bronze you could have day 1 on 25th May and day 2 on 13th October.


Gold NNAS Training:            Based on Keswick in the Lake District
26th and 27th October
Navigating to the stone circle on Eyam Moor
Our cost for all of the 2 day NNAS Courses is £85.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

NNAS Courses being run by Peak Navigation Courses


NNAS Courses being run by Peak Navigation Courses

Peak Navigation Courses are pleased to now be delivering NNAS (National Navigation Awards) in The Peak District.  We have recently been accredited as NNAS trainers and will be adding a full list of courses into our autumn programme.  It will however be possible to gain the silver award by arrangement (completing both our Introduction to Moorland Navigation Course and our Intermediate Navigation Course with some assessment built in).

Locating our position on the map
The Bronze training and assessment will be a two day course based from the village of Foolow.  The two days can be consecutive or spaced out over different weekends.  Day one being our normal 1st Steps to map reading and navigation course but day two being a newly devised day specific to the bronze syllabus and allowing time for assessment.




Learning to use a compass
The silver training and assessment will follow the present courses that we run, Introduction to Moorland Navigation (based from Foolow) and Intermediate Navigation (on Kinder Scout), though there will be a formal route planning exercise introduced for NNAS candidates which is currently not compulsory for people attending the Intermediate course.

If the take up of courses is as good as we expect then we will introduce Gold NNAS training and assessment in 2014 though this will be based in the Lake District.

Cost for 2013 for either bronze or silver NNAS, £85 for the 2 days.

Plotting a bearing to the Stone Circle on Eyam Moor

Although NNAS set a tutor / student ratio for Bronze and Silver as a maximum of 1:6,            we shall be offering a maximum of:

1:5 for Bronze NNAS;            and
1:4 for Silver NNAS.

Winter Navigation in the Snow


Navigation in the Snow

Peak Navigation Courses run navigation training throughout the year in The Peak district National Park.  For the past two weeks we have been enjoying (?) some snowy conditions which give a different slant to walking and navigating in the hills.

Yesterdays “Intermediate” Navigation Course went ahead albeit with an altered itinerary. Just walking in deep snow takes substantially more effort which is compounded when walking off path and through steep terrain.  There was further heavy snowfall through the night before the course and only four of the eight booked made it through (though this did include students attending from Cambridge and Luton).

Some "re-location" near the bottom of Jacob's Ladder
Then it was off path taking various zig zags from one attack point to another through “The Cloughs” to locate the wreckage of two old aircraft wrecks.

A further steep ascent to The Wool Packs led us to the Edge Path which we followed practising pacing and timing locating various points before our steep descent off path to the bottom of Crowden Brook.

One of the good points about a day led by two qualified International Mountain Leaders in the snow was the quality of instruction and the range of topics covered.  Not only was the day about navigation but discussions ensued about snow, avalanche equipment for winter conditions and a range of other related topics.

The top of Crowden Brook



Because the day didn’t cover all the topics we have normally hoped to on our standard intermediate course, we’ve offered everyone the opportunity to book back on to another Intermediate Navigation Course once the snow melts!

So those who missed because of the snow will get the chance to come and do the course.






Some positive comments about the course have come in already:

"Many thanks for an excellent day today. I enjoyed the day, learnt a lot with a very affable group and the scenery was excellent – can’t ask for more really!
Best wishes
Ian"

"Just to say thanks again for a great day out yesterday - suffice to say I slept well last night! I will probably try and join the course again sometimes soon in non-Winter conditions, but I did feel like I learned plenty yesterday. Look forward to seeing you in March.
Best wishes...
Alex"


Peak Navigation Courses are based in The Peak District and run a range of navigation courses from absolute beginner to experts wanting some “refresher” training.  All of our courses are led by qualified Mountain Leaders.