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Winter navigation courses

Navigation takes on an extra dimension in winter, when snow, weather and limited daylight hours all add different challenges to finding your way around the mountains in safety. This course is designed to equip you to face up to these challenges with confidence.

THIS IS OUR MOST PHYSICALLY DEMANDING COURSE, candidates MUST be fit enough to spend 8 hours on the hill and ascend up onto the Cairngorm Plateau in hostile conditions. If you are unsure whether this course is for you, please contact info@mountaineering.scot.

Fitness grade

Our most demanding courses. A very high level of fitness is required over many hours. Rough terrain and hostile conditions will be encountered.  Max distance 15km, max ascent 1000m per day.

Nine hours of intensive winter navigation training with particular consideration to avoidance of avalanche-prone slopes and cornice features. Techniques will include timing, pacing, walking on bearings, aiming off, boxing away from cornice edges, attack points and much more. We will  ‘walk into the dark' and experience the challenges of night navigation.

The course fee does NOT cover kit or accommodation.

Is this course suitable for you?

  • This course is specifically designed to practice navigation techniques after dark so you will not finish until around 9 or 10pm.
  • All course participants MUST have completed a winter skills training course either with Mountaineering Scotland or another provider and be familiar with the use of ice axe and crampons prior to attending this course. As well as the basic skills of kicking and cutting steps with their RIGID winter mountaineering boots. 
  •  Under exceptional circumstances we will accept people who have not attended a formal winter skills training course but who have considerable personal experience.  Please call Heather on 0778 886 1431 if this applies to you.
  • Course participants MUST be fit enough to spend 8 hours on the hill and ascend up onto the Cairngorm plateau in hostile conditions.
  • Course participants need to provide all their own equipment.

2022-23 winter skills course dates will be available late summer 2022

(Please note that one day winter skills courses run every Tuesday prior to these dates.  You MUST have attended a winter skills course prior to attending the navigation course)

The courses will be held in the Northern Cairngorms meeting at the Tiso Store in Aviemore.  We work on an instructor to student ratio of 1:6

Courses will start at 12 noon and finish between 9 & 10 pm

Cost: TBC

The course fee does NOT cover kit or accommodation.

To book onto one of our mountain safety courses, you need to be a member of Mountaineering Scotland. Thanks to your membership, we can subsidise the costs of our courses and offer you cheaper course prices than most commercial providers.

  • Mountaineering Scotland members can book and pay easily and quickly online in our members’ web portal
  • If you are not a Mountaineering Scotland member, you can join quickly and easily online in our members web portal.

Please take a look at our useful course information for booking and cancellation conditions

Please note:

  • Pre-booking is essential
  • If you cancel less than 6 weeks before a course date, we are unable to offer a refund or transfer to another course.
  • Cancellations more than 6 weeks before the course date will incur a £10 admin fee per booking to cover admin costs.

  • Sam's patience and colourful explanation of contours and their relation to terrain was inspired and ground features to map suddenly became much clearer, for me it was a lightbulb moment!
  • It felt totally alien to be gaining height as night fell, even a bit of apprehension but in fact my surroundings and positional awareness were very clear, a strange feeling! But weirdly finding I would do it again.
  • A memorable experience, thanks again to you both.
  • The course was well planned by Heather and she engaged the group well throughout - as an example there were route choice options and decisions on the plateau in which the group was fully involved.  I found the whole course immensely rewarding and I gained valuable experience.  As a result I will be more self-reliant and able to discuss decision making about route choice with colleagues and make informed choices.
  • While the skills weren't completely new to me, your top instruction has made a few previously wooly concepts clear in my mind. Can't wait to get out and put them into practice over the winter season.