Hill Walking | Pennine Outdoor Pursuits


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.

About the NNAS

The National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS) was launched in 1994 at the Royal Institute of Navigation in London, and since then over 50,000 people of all ages have gained awards.

The scheme continues to be a great success, and with over 500 registered providers of courses. Thousands of people of all ages have benefited from the skills learnt on an NNAS course. In 2009 NNAS became a Company Limited by Guarantee, number SC320350 and a Registered Charity, number SC039201.

In late 2015, The Bronze Award was accredited by the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at Level 4, and 2 SCQF credit points are awarded on completion.

New to Navigation

If you’re new to navigation, whether you’ve been walking for a while and relying on guidebooks or other people, or you’re new to the outdoors, the Bronze National Navigation Award is for you.

You’ll learn from an experienced and qualified instructor who will guide you through the essentials of map reading in a focussed and structured way. You’ll gain confidence and by the end of your course you’ll be able to plan suitable walks and navigate round them with confidence.

The skills you’ll learn will help you explore the thousands of miles of paths, tracks and trails across the UK and further afield. National Navigation Award courses are run the length and breadth of the UK so you should find one near your desired location.

Courses can be run as a series of short classes, day-based or weekend long courses. Whatever your requirements you’ll find a course to suit. Using a map and a compass is a practical skill, and your course will involve plenty of opportunity to practice the essential skills.  They may also be indoor sessions to back up the practical work.

Improve Your Navigation

If you’re a confident map reader but want to extend your skills to include compass work and simple contour interpretation, then the Silver National Navigation Award is for you.

Building on the skills taught on a Bronze award course, the Silver introduces you to more advanced compass skills, like taking bearings from a map and following those bearings to find features in open country. You’ll begin to use smaller landscape features to keep a check on your location.

Silver courses are run across the country by experienced tutors who can help you develop confidence in using a compass.

Want to go further?

The Gold Navigation Award will extend your navigation  beyond most outdoor enthusiasts.  You’ll have the skills of Bronze and Silver under your belt already and be a good navigator.  The Gold award uses open country and intricate mountainous country to teach you to use subtle contour features and constant map contact to navigate by.

Gold Awards can’t be taught by anyone.  Gold tutors are extremely experienced in the outdoors, navigation and teaching it.  Achieving a Gold Award is hard work but immensely satisfying.


Below are some of the more common questions we get asked at the NNAS.  If your question isn’t amongst these,  email us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

How good do I need to be?

You can start at the Bronze Level with no experience. Each course has small numbers (typically 1:6 at the most) giving you lots of personal practice, the chance to ask questions and really gain confidence in your skills.

Can I start at the Silver or Gold level?

The course provider would probably ask you about your previous experience and abilities to determine whether such a course would be appropriate for you, but yes this is possible.

Tell me more about the Bronze Award being a qualification

In 2015 the Bronze National Navigation Award was officially accredited by the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at Level 4, and 2 SCQF credit points are awarded on completion. The SCQF helps to compare the wide range of Scottish qualifications.

It covers learning programmes in the workplace, in schools, colleges and university.  It does this by giving each qualification on the Framework a level and a number of credit points.  The level of a qualification shows how difficult the learning is.  The credit points show how much learning is involved in achieving that qualification.

Young Navigator Star Award (YNSA)

The focus of the Young Navigator Awards is to encourage exploration and journeying using simple maps such as street maps, pictorial park maps and orienteering maps. There is a gradual learning progression via One Star (bronze), Two Star (silver) and Three Star (gold) levels with certificates and badges available for achieving candidates.


Hill Walking

Walking Group Leader (WGL)

Mountain Leader Award

Tuesday, August 21, 2018