Advanced (Gold) Navigation

Perfect for those with extensive navigation experience or for those who have previously attended our Intermediate Navigation course.  We get well off the beaten track in the big mountains of Snowdonia and include a night navigation session.


  • Duration: 2 days
  • Ratio: 1:4
  • Type: Non-residential
  • Location: Snowdonia
SKU: Advanced (Gold) Navigation Category:
  • All technical equipment included
  • Low client/pupil ratios to maximise progression
  • Transport available from local transport hubs
  • 15% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor


Our Advanced (Gold) Navigation course is, if you’ll pardon the pun, the gold standard in navigation training!  You’ve put in the hard miles and honed your navigation techniques to a good standard.  It is time to go large.  Infact, our Advanced (Gold) Navigation course will train you in the skills required for the Mountain Leader or Hill and Moorland Leader Award.

To get the most from this course you need the practical skills to find your way efficiently well off the beaten track.  This course focuses on fine tuning what you already know and adding in plenty of new tricks of the trade.  It is also about taking your skills into the big mountains.  It is ideal for recreational navigators or for anyone on one of the hillwalking national governing body award schemes.   All participants for this course must be over 16 and under 18’s must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Many attendees of this course will previously have attended our Introductory (Bronze) course and/or Intermediate (Silver) course.  This isn’t a pre-requisite though.  Maybe your training has come from another source and that’s fine.   However, it is essential that your skills are at a suitable level.  Please contact us before booking if you are in any doubt.

Our Mountain Training qualified team have been walking the trails of the Snowdonia National Park for decades.  That’s important.  We know all the sneaky venues to escape the honeypot sites and the best options to maximise your skill development.

Our Advanced (Gold) Navigation Course runs in the Snowdonia National Park and incorporates a night navigation element.  This is included in the price but we also leave it as an optional choice.  You may prefer a warm bed and a nightcap!  It is also run in small ratio groups (1:4) so you’ll get the maximum input and, therefore, maximum skill development.  You’ll love it!

Oh, and there is also an attendance certificate issued to all participants – evidence of your Ninja skills and perfect to record in your log book if you are heading onto, or are already midway through, one of the national governing body hillwalking awards.

Course Syllabus

Who is the course suitable for?
Our 2 day Advanced (Gold) Navigation Course suits participants with a well rounded background in navigation.  It is a perfect extension to our Intermediate Navigation course but this isn’t a pre-requisite for attendance – you might have been trained through a different route and that’s perfect.  We do ask you to carefully consider the syllabus content of our Intermediate (Silver) course before booking to check you are happy with your existing skill level.  Also, if you have any doubt, just get in touch with us before booking and we’ll chat things through.

The course is suitable for adults of all ages and we are happy to have participants as young as 16 (although under 18’s need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian).  If you want us to arrange a similar event for groups under 16 please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

How fit do I need to be?
We will be operating in mountain terrain and travelling on open ground away from main footpaths so participants need to be physically able to cope with that type of ground.  Having said that, we won’t cover a huge distance as we need to spend time discussing navigational techniques along the way.  As a general guide we will typically cover no more than 6-7 miles on each of the days.  On the middle evening we also offer a night navigation session for interested participants.  This will add approximately another 3 hours and so this becomes rather a long day.

Why choose us for your navigation training?
Peak Mountaineering has been delivering navigation training for decades and our progressive and structured approach to training is well proven as the most effective model for novice navigators.  Our courses are industry leading and we have been involved in devising programmes for national organisations.

We firmly believe that the best way to learn navigation skills is to be out there doing it and getting a feel for the moorland environment – on one of our courses you’ll be out there and doing it rather than in a classroom talking about doing it!

Our Advanced (Gold) course runs in the mountains of Snowdonia which provides the perfect terrain to progress your skills.  We know the best places to take you and generations of mountain leaders have also honed their skills in this special playground.  On a Peak Mountaineering course you can be assured of the best possible training in a supportive and relaxed atmosphere.

What is the format of the day?
We will meet at 9.30am in Capel Curig which is right in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park (full joining instructions will be sent with your booking confirmation).  We are very keen to help protect this precious natural environment (please read our Environment Policy) and so, if you don’t have a car, we can collect you at the local train station and if you are travelling by bus we can also pick you up and drive you to the venue.  Once introductions are complete we’ll head out to a suitable location and get started (we use a variety of venues to help prevent overuse and this flexibility also allows us to make an informed choice suitable for the weather and group composition).  We stay out for the full day so be sure to bring food and drink for a picnic lunch.

We introduce skills progressively and at a pace that suits each participant.  We are experts at delivering navigation skills and use a range of methods to aid learning.  During the 2 days you’ll learn an advanced ‘toolbox’ of navigation techniques to help you get confidently off the beaten track in any terrain and any weather.  We are also delighted to offer a night navigation session with this course which, as well as advancing your skill set, gives us some great low visibility conditions to practice in.  This course is all about pushing the skills you already know as well as introducing some new tricks – we focus on pulling the right tools from your toolbox and making good judgements.

The selection of techniques covered will include:

  • Utilising the skills and techniques of our Introductory (Bronze) and Intermediate (Silver) level course in the context of the Advanced (Gold) course strategies
  • Further develop the use of contours and fine detail as the primary method of navigation
  • Use back bearings as a relocation or position confirmation strategy
  • Understand the differences between map scales and be able to navigate with equal confidence on both Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps
  • Develop the skills to plan and follow a route and use confirmation strategies to confirm arrival at location.  Typically, this will involve judging distance, checking progress by timing or pacing, use any relevant compass skills and being able to maintain map contact throughout
  • Develop the skills to continually assess the chosen route and adjust the strategy if required
  • Understand and use aspect of slope as a relocation aid
  • Select appropriate techniques within an overall navigation strategy
  • Navigate in challenging mountainous terrain both in reduced visibility and darkness
  • Develop the ability to recognise navigational errors and  develop relocation strategies as required
  • Recognise the occurrence of a navigational error within a few minutes and apply appropriate relocation techniques.
  • Understand how to deal with wilderness emergencies and develop knowledge of life saving first aid techniques (including heat and cold illness), correct clothing and what to carry in remote mountain settings
  • Understand the physical demands created by hill and moorland terrain in all weather conditions.
  • Develop a basic understanding of appropriate electronic navigation devices and devices for seeking help (although please note that this isn’t a GPS device training course)
  • Developing knowledge and of the Countryside Code and current access legislation together with an appreciation of environmental and land management issues.

The  first day will end at about 4.00pm with an optional night navigation session starting once it gets dark. Day 2 will run from 9.30am until approximately 4.00pm.

Who will be looking after me?
Peak Mountaineering prides itself on the quality of its instructors and our excellent reputation.  The instructor that leads your course will be fully qualified and fully insured.  They will be also be one of our close knit instructor team and personally known to us.  We only use instructors who know the area well so they can ensure you visit the best venues and get the most from your day.

Having said all that, we know that the views of past clients are probably your best guide to the quality of our provision.  Please take the time to read the independent reviews clients have left before you book.

What do I need to bring?
Participants will need suitable outdoor clothing and supportive boots.  Please also bring a set of waterproofs as the weather can change significantly over the course of a day.  The only other essential is a rucksack which should contain some spare clothing and lunch.  A more detailed list will be sent with your joining instructions or you can check out our Kit List in the course details.

Participants will need to provide both the OS Explorer OL17 Yr Wyddfa 1:25,000 map and OS Landranger 115 Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa 1:50,000 maps.  It is essential that your map is weatherproof so if you are buying them please choose one of the waterproof ‘Active Map’ versions (or use a waterproof map case).

You will also need a suitable compass.  If you are purchasing one we strongly recommend the Silva Expedition 4.  This is a perfect model for general navigation and is used by just about every instructor we know!  If you already own a different model please ensure it has a method for measuring mm’s, a decent sized base plate and is easy to use in poor weather and with gloves on.

Other benefits for Peak Mountaineering customers
We have negotiated some great discounts with a selection of great retailers for all course participants.  Full details will be sent with your booking information.


Our Advanced (Gold) Navigation course takes advantage of the amazing opportunities available in the Snowdonia National Park.  We base them from Capel Curig which is right in the heart of the park and close to many fantastic venues.

Capel Curig is a small village with limited facilities (there is a grocery shop, an equipment shop and a few pubs within walking distance), but the much larger village of Llanberis is only 20 minutes drive away and the popular tourist village of Betws Y Coed is about 10 minutes drive away.  Either of these would be an ideal base and both have plenty of shops and cafes.  Betws Y Coed is also on the train line and we’ll be able to help with transport if you are travelling to the course by public transport.

Capel Curig gives us access to a wide variety of world class climbs and such a broad range of options allows us to cater for different abilities, fitness levels, aspirations and for Snowdonia’s varied weather.  Snowdonia really is the heart of U.K. climbing.

We usually meet at the legendary Siabod Cafe which is a cosy mountaineer friendly cafe near to Capel Curig.  Full details on the course meeting point will be sent with your joining instructions.


Here are a list of questions clients frequently ask about our naviagtion courses.  We hope you’ll find the info you need but, if there’s something you want to know that we haven’t covered, please call or email us and we’ll be more than happy to help.  Infact, if you’ve thought of it then the chances are other people have too – so we’ll add it to the list!

What equipment is provided and do I have to pay to use it?
We ask participants to provide all equipment and maps for this course but do let us know if there is something you need but don’t own already – we’ll try very hard to help.

Do I need insurance?
We have professional indemnity insurance and for all UK courses we are all lucky enough to have free access to mountain rescue services and healthcare (although you may still consider it worthwhile purchasing your own personal accident and cancellation insurance).  The following companies provide appropriate mountaineering insurance:

British Mountaineering Council 0870 010 4878
Snowcard Insurance Services 01327 262 805

What if I have a specific objective or want to learn things not offered on one of your courses?
That’s what we specialise in!  Just get in touch and we will happily tailor an itinerary to suit your requirements.

What about under 18s?
For navigation courses we welcome participants over 16. For younger children we can still offer a great range of family climbing options – details on these are available on our Family Activities page. Please note that under 18s must be accompanied for the duration of the course by a parent or guardian.

Will you give my details to other people?
All information supplied to us remains completely confidential and we will never pass it on to third parties.

Why is the instructor to client ratio so important?
You will get more out of your time with us if you work in a group where the numbers suit the activity.  We favour small instructor to client ratios so that you benefit from quality time and instruction, where you have time to ask all the questions you want, the routes chosen can be tailored to suit you, and we can take plenty of time to show you specific techniques and skills.

What if I need to cancel a course booking?
If you cancel over 26 weeks in advance of a course start date we refund all the money you have paid us so far.  If you cancel within 26 weeks of a course start date, you forfeit the deposit, but we refund any other money you may have paid.  If you cancel within 8 weeks of the course start date you forfeit the full amount unless we are able to resell your place. See the Terms and Conditions page for more detailed information.  To cover this eventuality we recommend you take out an insurance policy that includes cancellation of your trip or holiday.

Can you guarantee good conditions?
Unfortunately we can’t control the weather.  However, we do always try to plan areas and routes that should be appropriate and in good condition.  One of the advantages of being in small groups with flexible itineraries is that we can make the best of the conditions on the day.  This does mean that we reserve the right to change the itinerary for safety reasons if required.  Please follow the kit lists and be prepared for all the ‘interesting’ weather the U.K. has to offer.

What is the timetable for courses?
We will meet somewhere convenient on the first morning of the course and a typical day lasts from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Full meeting arrangements will be included in the Joining Instructions provided with your booking confirmation.

What about transport arrangements?
We ask you to provide your own transport to and from venues although we can quite often organise car sharing to minimise environmental impact and reduce fuel costs. Once we are there we will try to use car sharing to get us around during the course.

We can usually collect you from a local station if you are travelling to your course via public transport.

How do you try to reduce your environmental impact?
We are passionate about protecting the natural environment.  Please take the time to read our Environment Page.

How fit do I need to be?
It goes without saying that arriving fit and well is important if you want to get the most out of your course and it is essential for succeeding on many of our objectives. Please take note of the guidance on the Course Syllabus before booking and contact us in advance if you need more information.

Do you need to know about medical conditions?
It is essential that you let us know about any medical condition or injury when booking and that you also let your instructor know on the starting day of your course. This information will remain completely confidential, but is essential to allow us to tailor our activities to suit you and to ensure the safety of other group members.

Accommodation Options

Bryn Tyrch, Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0EL Tel 01690 720223
Gallt-y-Glyn Hotel, Llanberis, Gwynedd , LL55 4EL Tel 01286 870370

Snowdonia Mountain Lodge, Nant Ffrancon, Bethesda Tel 01248  600500

Plas Curig, Capel Curig, Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, LL24 0EL Tel 01690 720 225
Bens Bunkhouse, Nant Peris, Nr Llanberis, LL55 4UD Tel 07989 500657
YHA Llanberis,  Tel 0845 371 9645
YHA Pen-y-Pass, Tel 0845 371 9534
YHA Betws-y-Coed,  Tel 01690 710796
YHA Capel Curig, Tel 0870 770 5746
YHA Idwal Cottage, Tel 0870 770 5874

There are several camp sites in Capel Curig and the Ogwen Valley. They are all fairly similar in that they provide basic facilities in farmers’ fields.

Kit List

Of course we always hope that your Snowdonia Navigation Course will take place in stunning sunny weather, but this is the UK and so we have to accept that anything is possible!  We will always try to adapt the course venue to the weather conditions, but our courses always take place outside (we are all about real world practical training) and many of the venues we use are quite exposed.  Please also be aware that, unless there is a significant safety risk, our courses will always run regardless of the weather.  So, the key message is to please come well equipped to walk in all conditions and to stay warm, dry and comfortable for extended periods outside – it is worth bringing more than you think you might need rather than being uncomfortable during the day.

  • Rucksack (around 40 litres with a plastic liner bag or dry bags to keep key items dry)
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Walking boots and suitable socks (see additional footwear advice below)
  • Gaiters – We’ll leave this one up to you, but when the conditions are wet and muddy they can be invaluable.
  • Thermal base layer (synthetic fibres rather than cotton)
  • Fleece mid layer
  • Spare warm layer – we do sometimes spend time looking at maps or standing in one place while we study our compasses or scan the landscape – so bring enough clothes to stay warm even when you’re static.
  • Mountain trousers – synthetic fabrics are significantly better than cotton.
  • Hat and gloves
  • Lunch and drink
  • Headtorch – for the night navigation session it is essential to have a reliable and bright headtorch with a good supply of batteries and spares
  • Spare food
  • Sunglasses, sun cream and sunhat
  • Compass (Silva type 4 is perfect if you’re buying one)
  • Maps of area we are visiting – both Ordnance Survey Snowdon OL17 1:25,000 and Snowdon Landranger 115 1:50,000 will be needed for this course
  • Some way to weatherproof your map – we recommend buying the weatherproof version if buying one or a mapcase or ziploc plastic bag also work well.
  • Watch (with stopwatch facility)
  • Personal first aid and any required personal medications

Additional Footwear Advice

We often get asked about choosing suitable footwear so here is some additional advice to help you decide what to bring.

Boots are the only really specialist item you will need for our navigation courses.  Having well fitting boots will make a big difference to your enjoyment. Trainers aren’t suitable because they don’t give enough support (especially when carrying a rucksack), don’t provide enough grip and are usually not waterproof.

Your boots should give good ankle support and have a non-slip tread. For our navigation courses we get well off the beaten track and this may involve crossing boggy moorland terrain or walking over rocky or heathery ground.  A good quality lightweight boot will be ideal for our navigation courses and good examples of these are the KEEN Targhee II or the Aku Alterra GTX.

The best boots for a particular person is very much a personal choice and should certainly be based on how they fit rather than how they look! As a general guide boots of this type should flex fairly easily toe to heel but remain stiff from side to side.  They should feel evenly tight with adequate toe room to allow for descending and the heel of the boot should fit snugly around the heel of your foot.

Our key recommendation is to get your boots fitted by a specialist retailer and choose a shop where they have a good range from different manufacturers so you can try a variety of makes and models.  We recommend sizing boots when wearing a thin liner sock and a pair of thicker hiking socks.  An example of a suitable liner sock is the Bridgedale Coolmax Liner Sock and one of our favourite midweight socks is the Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion.