Navigation Training Resources for Mountain Professionals

These are free navigation training resources for anyone that is looking to practice their navigation skills at an advanced (Gold NNAS) level. Ideal for qualified, and trainee, mountain leaders who are seeking CPD, or for anyone that loves to get out with a map and compass and who wants to put their skills to the test. These resources allow you to pitch your experience against the challenges we’ve set you, and with the help of a free-to-use orienteering app called Sporteering, you will get instant feedback as to whether you are on the mark or not. (It’s dead good). Best done with a friend or two!

Click on an area below to download the sheet

How have these navigation training resources been put together?

I have located various features on an OS map for you to find: some easy, some a bit obscure. Using Memory Map software I have taken 10 figure grid references for these features, and inputted this data into the Sporteering app. For each area, I have created a PDF for you explaining what to do, and showing you the check points/locations for you to mark up on your own map. You will then be good to go! Get the free Sporteering app from Google Play (for android) or from the App Store (for Apple iPhones) and then register your details.

Some tips for getting the most from these resources

Allow yourself up to 3 – 4 hours for each course. Complete as many or as few of the check points as you have time for and in any order you choose. Arrange to go out with a mate or two. You can take it in turns to find the given features or maybe better, have a think and and then have a discussion about what strategies you might use. These challenges have been specifically set up for you to use navigational tools to aid you. Think about course and fine (or macro and micro) navigation. Use handrails, find attack points, consider collecting and catching features.

A note on health and safety

People doing these courses are likely to be on top of their risk assessing and you probably know this already, but …

  1. You will be heading out to some remote locations. It’s probably best to go with a mate. If you do go out alone, think about letting someone know what you’re doing. Maybe just share a link to the PDF so they know the area you’re headed to at least.
  2. Pack some snacks and a basic first aid kit of sorts. This should include as a minimum a survival bag in case you go over on your ankle and have to stay put for any length of time.
  3. Before you head out consider steep ground that is in the area. Are there quarries, or rock edges for example. What you might reasonably scramble up and down in the light of day could well turn into an epic by night. Be sure to be aware of steep ground and not to tackle it directly.
  4. What water is there on the ground? Will you inadvertently walk yourself into a swamp/pond/river? Consider this before you head out.
  5. Consider the weather and dress/pack accordingly. Consider also how the weather may affect your drive to or from the start location.
  6. If there’s any chance you might be on foot along any roads you should wear a high-vis vest. Be seen!
  7. Download the OS Locate app to your phone. This app will quickly give you your grid reference even without any signal. Additionally you should register your mobile phone with the emergency services before an emergency happens. (Important: You will need to register again if you change your mobile phone number).

Why do we offer these free navigation resources?

Good question! Initially this stems from doing Mountain Training Association (MTA) night navigation CPD events. Being a busy man and a dad of three kids, I don’t always get the time to join these scheduled events. But also, when I have attended these I have considered how I would go about running such a session and that’s when I started to develop these resources.