18-25 and want to learn to navigate? Check out our special courses for young people - Going the Extra Mile
Navigation is an essential skill for anyone who intends going into the Scottish hills and mountains, whether you enjoy long walks through the glens or getting on the high tops and Munros. Mountaineering Scotland runs a number of one-day navigation courses every year to help you learn the skills you need 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 are fit enough to enjoy days out on the hills and high tops, but would prefer to train on terrain that is not too physically demanding. The courses are run in the Ochils, Moffat Hills 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, Cairngorms or Glenshee hills, 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, Braemar area or Glenshee hills. 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. Please note a charge will apply for any map cases or compasses damaged or not returned at the end of the course.
See below for more detail of what to bring.
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.
One day navigation course: £TBC for Mountaineering Scotland members
Not a member? Join us - Thanks to your membership, we can subsidise the costs of our courses and offer them at affordable prices compared to most commercial providers.
Why become a member?
To book onto one of our mountain safety courses, you need to be a member of Mountaineering Scotland and at least 18 years old when the course takes place. 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.
Please read the booking and cancellation conditions before making a booking.
Maps, map cases and compasses will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own if you have them.
What you need to bring
You will need to be equipped for a full day out on the hill with food and drink, hiking boots, and a minimum of waterproof jacket and over trousers, warm hat and gloves and a rucksack to carry everything in.
Here's our suggested kit list for this course:
For more information about what to wear and what to take with you hill walking, visit the 'Getting Started' section.
I think the course was brilliant. I have already had some experience with using maps and navigating but never really knew the theory behind it all. The course was a great opportunity to learn about that and our instructor Ben did a great job at explaining things in a way anyone can understand.