Navigation is an essential skill for anyone who intends going into the Scottish hills and mountains. Every year Mountaineering Scotland runs a number of one-day navigation courses which can set you on the way to becoming an accomplished navigator able to find your way around the hills with confidence, even in poor visibility.
Low level navigation
This year we are offering three levels of navigation course, so you can choose the right course for your interest and physical ability.
Low level navigation. (Fitness grade 1.) This is an entry level course delivered primarily in woodland close to Drymen. It is suitable for people who are new to walking and would prefer a more relaxed approach. This course will be delivered 'on track', involving a maximum distance of 8km and maximum ascent of 200m.
Hill navigation. (Fitness grade 2.) This course is for people who enjoy days out on the hill, but would prefer to train on terrain that is not too physically demanding. The courses are run in the Ochils, Campsies and Pentland Hills. At times the course will be off track on the open hillside. Maximum distance 12km and maximum ascent 600m.
Mountain Navigation. (Fitness grade 3.) These navigation courses are delivered in the Arrochar Alps and are aimed at our members who regularly ascend Munros (or equivalent). Your day's training will involve an ascent of one of the numerous Munros or Corbetts in the Arrochar Alps. Expect to be off track, on potentially steep/rough terrain. Maximum distance 14km and maximum ascent c900m. These courses are physically demanding.
A one-day Mountaineering Scotland navigation course will give you a firm grounding in practical mountain navigation skills. Instructor ratios are 1:6 and there are spaces for 12 people per course. The courses aim to introduce or refresh essential navigation skills.
You will need to be equipped for a day out on the hill with food and drink, boots, gaiters, waterproof jacket and over trousers, warm hat and gloves. Maps, map cases and compasses will be provided.
Do you need to be hill fit to do a hill/mountain navigation course? Yes, if you sign up for the 'two boot' or 'three boot'' course. All the courses start with an indoor session, but will then be outside for approximately six hours. It will depend on the location you choose, how much height is gained and distance covered.
Low level option. (One boot course) For those of you who would prefer a more mellow option and a less physically demanding day, we offer a low level option. The low level navigation course will be outside for five hours, covering a distance of around 6 - 8 km with ascent of a maximum of 200m. The majority of the day will be on footpaths, but we may venture off path to practice walking on a bearing.
Sat 18th April Hill navigation Pentland Hills booking open
Sun 19th April Hill navigation Pentland Hills booking open
Sat 13th June Mountain navigation Arrochar Alps booking open
Sun 14th June Mountain navigation Arrochar Alps booking open
Sat 11th July Low Level navigation Drymen
Sun 12th July Hill navigation Campsie Fells
Sat 25th July Hill navigation Ochils
Sun 26th July Hill navigation Ochils
Sat 12th Sept Hill navigation Pentland Hills
Sun 13th Sept Hill navigation Pentland Hills
To book onto one of our mountain safety courses, you need to be a member of Mountaineering Scotland and at least 18 years old. Members aged between 14 and 18 can attend a course if accompanied by a parent or nominated adult: phone the office at 01738 493943 to find out more and book this. Thanks to your membership, we can subsidise the costs of our courses and offer you cheaper course prices than most commercial providers.
Cost is £35 for members, and £60 for non-members (includes one year's membership of Mountaineering Scotland with all the member benefits)
Please take a look at our useful course information for booking and cancellation conditions.