Mountain Navigation courses

Learn to Navigate in the Lake District

Knowing how to use a map and compass to navigate through the hills and mountains is an essential skill that every hill walker should have, even if it is tempting to just pull out your smart phone and get through your day.

The better your navigation skills, the better your adventures!

Electronic navigation aids use batteries, and one day it WILL let you down, normally at the worst possible time! We will teach you the skills necessary to navigate yourself to where you want to be, whether it is the top of a mountain, back to your tent or the local pub! Our courses can be aimed at any level, from what is a map, to contour interpretation, and getting ready for your Mountain Leader award.

In winter your navigation must be even better as things can get serious really quickly. If you're keen to make the transition from summer to winter walking its also time to think about winterising your navigation skills.

What is it?

Who teaches us?

All Mobile Adventure navigation courses are delivered by experienced instructors who will hold their Mountain Leader Award (or higher) and who also hold the NNAS (National Navigation Award Scheme) tutor award.

What do we cover?​

As we run all our Lake District navigation courses to order, we will adjust what we cover to your existing level of map reading, and what you want to progress onto. Below is a rough idea of what we will aim to cover.

For absolute BEGINNERS;

Our beginners navigation courses will last between 6 -7 hours depending on the size of the group. These courses are ideal for anyone who has had limited (or no!) contact with maps and hasn't really ever used a compass to navigate. This is a very practical day, with the entirety of the time spent out on the mountains learning and using the skills. Over the duration of the navigation course you can expect to cover:

  • Map symbols, Scales, Grid References
  • Map orientation, handrails, catchment features
  • Basic understanding of pacing and timing to maintain position
  • Compass work
  • Contour Interpretation

The course is based on practical activity, and is one full day of learning, really upping your skill levels.

For those with some previous knowledge,

We will spend some time refreshing the skills above, and then apply them in a more challenging mountain area, away from the paths, walls and other obvious helping features. This will really help you to sharpen and trust your map and compass skills, and give you the experience and confidence to open up new areas of the Lake District for your future adventures.

For the experienced;

If you have the ability to navigate at night then it really opens up what you can do in the mountains. Whether you simply want to start earlier or finish later to catch those dramatic sunrises and sunsets, or set off on a cold winter morning to get to that winter climb, being able to navigate at night would take away a lot of the worry! Night Navigation is also the best way to simulate navigating in very poor conditions. If you can navigate well at night, the chances are you can do the same in thick fog!

Making it longer

If you want to really get your map reading skills and mountain navigation up to speed, maybe consider a second day of training. This extra day allows the consolidation of the skills learnt on the first day, and enables you to really perfect them under the guidance of an experienced Mountain Leader. As with all of our skills courses the 2 day course will be tailored to suit your aims, so whether you're an absolute beginner or have a sturdy foundation already, you'll be sure to leave this course bursting with confidence.


Ever heard the phrase 'it's like trying to tie your shoes inside a blacked out car that's rolling down a hill? - No? Me neither!! But it gives a good idea of what trying to map read in a winter whiteout is!

When your out in the summer, any navigational mistake may lead to a harder path or an extra few miles, but a map mishap in winter can quickly escalate into some much more serious. If you already have a good understanding of map and compass work and want to venture out into the hills in winter, but want to gain a greater understanding of navigating when it all gets tricky then this is the course for you. We will cover navigational tactics, improve your pacing and timing, using bearings in limited visibility and most importantly Relocation Tactics - aka what to do when you get lost!

This is both physically and mentally demanding, so only those with a reasonable level of summer navigation AND reasonable hill fitness should attend. Should winter conditions not be available in the Lake District for our chosen date we will use night navigation as a substitute.

After any of our navigation courses, you will leave after a great day of navigation training feeling more confident than ever with a map & compass.

Typical Itinerary


Meet up at carpark and introductions.


Quick recap of the basics, iron out any issues.


Start our walk, introducing the skills required to pin point your location on the map.


Planning the next section / how NOT to get lost!


Lunch break


Leaving the paths behind, and trusting the map.


We’re lost! What to do?!


Back down and home

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