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Teaching safety in the hills
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2019 Navigation Skills Courses
Glossop Navigation Skills: The Commercial Inn, 137 Manor Park Road,
Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 7SH

Course venues: Peak District National Park

Maps used: OS 1:25 000 and 1:50 000 and Harvey Maps 1:25 000 and 1:40 000 scales

Compasses available: Silva 4 Expedition (Swedish) and Recta DT 420 (Swiss)

Instructor/Client ratio: 1:4

Glossop Navigation Skills (GNS) courses are geared to the Spring, Summer and Autumn months. Whilst we pride ourselves on 'going out on the hill' in most weather conditions, learning to navigate when there is a thick layer of snow on the ground is outside the remit of all the courses on offer.

The Courses are aligned to the National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS). Participants who simply wish to learn new skills or relearn old skills by way of the two day courses are under no obligation to take part as a Candidate or c omplete the NNAS Assessment. You can simply enroll on the Course of your choice.

The object of the GNS Courses is, first and foremost, to allow participants to gain recognition of personal achievement in navigational skills and to develop the confidence to undertake walks into open countryside on a self led basis........and in safety!

The emphasis is on learning map and compass navigation skills to improve personal safety out on the hills. Amongst other things, the Courses also offer the opportunity to gain an understanding of environmental issues, access legislation and your responsibilities when passing through lowland and upland farming and conservation areas.

GNS offers Navigation Courses to the deaf and hard of hearing. Whilst we do not use British Sign Language (BSL) we do understand Deaf Awareness and welcome deaf clients on our Courses. GNS supports the work of the Deafness Support Network (DSN). For more information on the work of DSN visit dsnonline.co.uk.

We expect our clients to have the correct clothing and footwear. The Peak District is a recognised Mountainous Area where the weather and temperature change rapidly. See Essential Kit List. Please contact for further details.

Glossop Navigation Skills Courses

Introducing the Map and Compass: A One-Day Navigation Course

This is a course designed to introduce clients with little or no previous experience of navigation. By the use of appropriate progressions we link the map and the environment. Although the course has similar Learning Outcomes to the Foundation Course below, it is designed for the beginner. Whilst the 2-3 hours theory takes place indoors, you will undertake practical navigation on the hill during the late morning/afternoon session. The duration of the course will be 8 hours.

The Learning Outcomes will allow you to:

  • understand the nature of a map as a two dimensional plan
  • appreciate different map scales and use them to your benefit
  • understand the National Grid and how to provide 4 and 6 figure Grid References using Romers
  • orientate the map with and without a compass
  • use the orientated map and compass to steer an accurate course safely
  • identify small, medium and large navigation features
  • choose simple navigation routes
  • understand the importance of contour lines and contour interpretation
  • utilise pacing, distance and timing techniques
  • understand and implement the use of 'handrails' and other navigation techniques
  • recognise navigational errors and how to rectify them
  • have an awareness of local and national access issues
  • appreciate your responsibilities in open countryside
  • plan a safe, suitable walk

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Rolling hills above Glossopdale
        Max places: 4 clients
        Cost: £80 per person

The Two-Day Foundation Navigation Course

This course is aimed at those who wish to learn, or have limited experience of navigation already, or wish to relearn old skills. The course will provide you with the skills to navigate in low level countryside using paths tracks and other linear features, map interpretation and basic compass work is included. It incorporates many of the skills of the One Day Navigation Course but at a higher standard over two days. The Course is of 16 hours duration spread over two consecutive days. There are 2-3 hours classroom tuition and table top exercises on the morning of each day but otherwise the remainder of the course takes place 'on the hill'. Learning to navigate safely and confidently are the key themes.

The Learning Outcomes will allow you 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 (e.g. 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 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 e.g. 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

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Rolling hills above Glossopdale        Max places: 4 clients
        Cost: £140 per person

The Two-Day Intermediate Navigation Course

This course is aimed at clients who have some previous experience of navigating across open high moorland and perhaps UK mountain ranges in Summer. The Learning Outcomes require further navigation strategies than those of the Foundation Course. The terrain on Day One is mixed rolling pasture land holding natural and man made features to navigate towards. Day Two is a complete change as we take to the high moorland of Bleaklow where more challenging terrain is encountered. Reading the land, contour interpretation and accurate map and compass work is essential. OS and Harvey maps of varying scales will be used on both days as we travel ‘point to point’ to find a variety of features. The Course is of 16 hours duration spread over two consecutive days. There is some classroom tuition on the morning of each day but otherwise the remainder of the course takes place 'on the hill'. Learning to navigate safely and confidently are the key themes.

The Learning Outcomes will allow you 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 (e.g. paths, tracks, clear boundaries) as handrails in simple navigation exercises
  • relate small hills, small valleys, prominent re-entrants and prominent spurs to their corresponding map contours. Use 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
  • instigate emergency procedures
  • 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

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Glossopdale and Bleaklow Dark Peak Region        Max places: 4 clients
        Cost: £140 per person

The Two-Day Higher Navigation Course

This course is aimed at clients who have some experience of navigating across open high moorland and UK mountain ranges in Summer. The terrain is challenging consisting of a day on Bleaklow and a day on Kinder Scout. Reading the land, contour interpretation and maintaining close contact with the map is an absolute requirement, as is accurate map and compass work. OS and Harvey maps of varying scales will be used, including a Harvey 1:25 000 scale contour only map. This course has been attended by aspiring Mountain Rescue Team candidates and those looking towards civilian Leadership Awards and the Military. The Course is of 16 hours duration spread over two consecutive days. There is some classroom tuition on the morning of each day but otherwise the remainder of the course takes place 'on the hill'. Learning to navigate safely and confidently are the key themes.

The Learning Outcomes will allow you 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
  • relate small hills, small valleys, prominent re-entrants and prominent spurs to their corresponding map contours. Use prominent hills, ridges, spurs and valleys as a means of navigation in good visibility
  • utilise contours and fine detail as the prime method of navigation
  • accurately: follow a route, judge distance, check progress against time, use relevant compass skills and maintain continuous map contact
  • use back bearings and transits to confirm current position
  • use aspect of slope as an aid to relocation
  • select appropriate techniques within an overall navigation strategy
  • navigate in intricate terrain in reduced visibility i.e. mist or darkness
  • select an appropriate, safe route in relation to height gain and loss, dangerous terrain and other major hazards
  • assess the route ahead in the field in relation to prevailing conditions or changing circumstances (e.g. weather, time, daylight, ability/fitness) and re-plan the route appropriately if necessary
  • shorten a route, use an escape route and know emergency procedures
  • recognise the occurrence of a navigational error within a few minutes and apply appropriate relocation techniques
  • select appropriate clothing, equipment and first aid for walking in remote areas in all weather conditions
  • understand the physical demands created by hill and moorland terrain in all weather conditions
  • understand the effects of cold, heat, fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route
  • instigate emergency procedures
  • 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

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Bleaklow and Kinder Scout Dark Peak Region        Max places: 4 clients
        Cost: £140 per person

Glossop Navigation Skills Dedicated Courses

Compass Skills: A One-Day Course

This is a dedicated compass skills course aimed at individuals with some previous hill walking and map reading experience wishing to be more proficient with the compass. There is nothing overly difficult in using a compass, nor any of the skills involved. As this course will demonstrate, you are fully involved from the outset, your ability to navigate safely will be greatly increased and your enjoyment in the open countryside enhanced. The learning process consists of a series of appropriate teaching progressions and practical exercises. At course end you will have boosted your confidence and learnt to trust two important factors: your ability and your compass.

The course will open with a class room theory session during which you will briefly revisit several navigation skills linked to compass work, then it’s into the compass section itself. Following the theory session, you will be out on the hill putting theory into practice in suitable terrain for combined map and compass skills and compass skills alone. The compass used will be a SILVA Type 4/54 base plate compass. The duration of the course will be 8 hours spent with the Course Director in a ratio of 1:4.

The Learning Outcomes will allow you to understand:

  • the map as a two-dimensional plan, various map scales, setting the map
  • distance, timing and pacing
  • the origin of the base plate compass
  • the component parts of a compass
  • the graduations and symbols on the compass base plate
  • the graduations and symbols on the compass bezel and housing
  • Magnetic North, Grid North, True North
  • how the compass actually works and the forces acting for or against it
  • deviation, variation, declination and inclination
  • a bearing, a heading and a course
  • how to take a 'rough bearing' and a 'fine bearing' using a compass
  • how to follow a 'heading' accurately in good and poor visibility
  • how to maintain an accurate 'heading' using 'back bearings'
  • how to 'aim off' to an 'attack point' to navigate to your destination
  • how to safely pass an obstruction to return on bearing by 'boxing'
  • how to measure 'slope aspect' and the use of 'resection'
  • choosing a compass
  • looking after your compass

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Dark Peak        Max places: 4 clients
        Cost: £80 per person

Route Planning Skills: A One-Day Course

This is a course aimed at individuals with some previous hill walking skills and map reading experience wishing to be more proficient with route planning. The learning process consists of a series of appropriate teaching progressions and practical exercises. At course end you will have boosted your confidence and learnt to trust several important factors, notably: your ability to plan a route, remain flexible and to complete your route safely.

The course will open with a classroom theory session during which you will briefly revisit several skills linked to map reading and route planning, then it's into the route planning session and actually researching and plotting a route yourself. On completing your route you will take the lead in walking it. The return journey will be an exercise where you will make a field-based decision for a suitable route off the hill. The course involves deploying several navigation skills with the emphasis on safety. The duration of the course will be 8 hours spent with the Course Director in a ratio of 1:4. PLEASE NOTE: The prevailing weather conditions on the day could increase the duration of the course.

The Learning Outcomes will allow you to consider:

  • the map as a two dimensional plan, map scales for use in planning, setting the map
  • contour interpretation
  • 4 and 6 figure grid references
  • distance, timing and pacing skills on the ground
  • route choice
  • the importance of writing flexibility into planning
  • route finding
  • access conditions
  • the terrain
  • identifying potential hazards
  • techniques for measuring distance on a map
  • dividing a route into short manageable legs
  • overall time for the route/separate legs
  • start and anticipated finish time for the whole route
  • route following
  • route checking
  • escape route(s)
  • the weather forecast
  • sunrise and sunset times
  • leaving a route card with a responsible person
  • adding your details, emergency contact numbers
  • names, gender, ages of group members

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Dark Peak        Max places: 4 clients
        Cost: £80 per person

National Navigation Award Courses (NNAS)

The National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) is a personal performance, non-competitive, incentive scheme for all ages to learn navigation skills and gain confidence to get out and enjoy the countryside. NNAS courses are delivered throughout the country by over 500 approved providers, of which Glossop Navigation Skills is one. William Westhead is Course Director of Glossop Navigation Skills and an Approved NNAS Tutor and Assessor at all levels.
Note: For further details of the National Navigation Award Scheme see: nnas.org.uk

The Bronze National Navigation Award

This course is a practical award aimed at those with no navigation experience. It can be a starting point for Duke of Edinburgh student or scouts and guides and to developing outdoor skills. NNAS Bronze award is accredited by the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at Level 4, and 2 SCQF credit points are awarded on completion.

The Learning Outcomes provide skills in how 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 (e.g. 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 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 e.g.100m
  • plan and implement navigational 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

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Glossopdale        Max places: 4 clients
        Duration: Two days (16 hours Tutor contact)
        Cost: £145 per person (includes NNAS Certificate on successful completion)

The Silver National Navigation Award

This course develops the skills learnt at Bronze level and adds other skills needed to navigate to features and places some distance off paths and tracks. It provides the confidence for accurate compass work and choosing the necessary navigational strategies to cross open country safely. It elevates navigation skills towards more advanced strategies.

The Learning Outcomes provide skills in how 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
  • use 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

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Glossopdale and Dark Peak Region        Max places: 4 clients
        Duration: Two days (16 hours Tutor contact)
        Cost: £145 per person (includes NNAS Certificate on successful completion)
        Note: For further details of the National Navigation Award Scheme see: nnas.org.uk

The Gold National Navigation Award

Due to the high profile of the Award - approaching Leadership Award status - the Gold Award is undertaken in two distinct stages as most, if not all, Mountain Training Association Leadership Awards are: The Training first, followed by the Assessment some time later. This allows the Candidate to practice the necessary skills of the Training before being Assessed in the field as being competent to receive the Award. Gold courses are run by tutors who not only have plenty of top level navigation experience themselves, but have also been on a special 'Train the Trainers' course hosted by NNAS staff holding Mountain Instructor Association qualifications.

The Learning Outcomes provide skills in how to:

  • utilise the skills and techniques of the Bronze and Silver Awards in the context of Gold National Navigation Award navigation strategies
  • utilise contours and fine detail as the prime method of navigation
  • accurately: Follow a route, judge distance, check progress against time, use relevant compass skills and maintain continuous map contact
  • use back bearings and transits to confirm current position
  • use aspect of slope as an aid to relocation
  • select appropriate techniques within an overall navigation strategy
  • navigate in intricate terrain in reduced visibility i.e. mist or darkness
  • select an appropriate, safe route in relation to height gain and loss, dangerous terrain and other major hazards
  • assess the route ahead in the field in relation to prevailing conditions or changing circumstances (e.g. weather, time, daylight, ability/fitness) and re-plan the route appropriately if necessary
  • shorten a route, use an escape route and know emergency procedures
  • recognise the occurrence of a navigational error within a few minutes and apply appropriate relocation techniques
  • select appropriate clothing, equipment and first aid for walking in remote areas in all weather conditions
  • understand the physical demands created by hill and moorland terrain in all weather conditions
  • understand the effects of cold, heat, fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route

        Course Ratio 1:4
        Training area: Dark Peak Region         Max places: 4 clients
        Training Duration: Two days (16 hours Tutor contact)
        Cost: £140 per person
        Assessment Duration: 6 hours Assessor contact
        Cost: £85 per person (includes NNAS Certificate on successful completion)

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