Our 2 day Introductory Navigation Course suits a wide variety of participants from those completely new to navigation to hill goers who have picked up some navigation skills informally and now want to consolidate them under an expert eye.
Our Introductory (Bronze) Navigation Course offers the perfect starting point for new navigators. Over 2 action packed Peak District National Park days we progressively introduce a range of key navigation skills. The emphasis is on letting you learn at your own pace and with lots of time to practice. You’ll leave feeling confident to tackle more challenging walks and get yourself off the beaten track.
In our opinion the Peak District is the very best location to learn introductory navigation skills. We have beautiful countryside, accessible venues and perfect navigation terrain. Add to that our easy accessibility and well established visitor infrastructure (our Hope Valley Guide will give you some useful info if you are a new visitor). Believe us, in this area we really do have it all.
Our team have been walking the trails of the UK’s first 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 skills development. You’ll receive the very best quality training in a supportive and relaxed atmosphere. All participants for this course must be over 16 and under 18’s must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
We offer courses to suit all experience levels and they are designed to be progressive. Our Introductory (Bronze) navigation course suits those new to navigation or whose skills are very rusty. If you are at the Introductory (Bronze) Navigation level and yet a little short on time then our famous Right Way in a Day option is worth considering. If you have a reasonable background then you may prefer to step straight into our Intermediate (Silver) option. For those with considerable prior experience our Advanced (Gold) course will take your skills to the highest level.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure which level to step in at. Just Contact Us or call and we’ll be delighted to advise you. We want your training to be right for you.
Our 2 day Introductory (Bronze) Navigation Course suits a wide variety of participants from those completely new to navigation to hill goers who have picked up some navigation skills informally and now want to consolidate them under an expert eye. It is also ideal for those who have not used their skills for some time and want a skills refresher.
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 wilderness areas and travelling on open ground away from main footpaths so participants need to be physically able to cope with that. Having said that, we won’t cover a huge amount of 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 which is a comfortable distance for most people who spend occasional days in the hills.
What is the format of the day?
We will meet at 9.30am in the Derwent Valley which is right in the heart of the Peak District National Park (full joining instructions will be sent with your booking confirmation). We are very keen to help protect this precious natural environment (details of our Environment Policy are here) 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 a 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. Having said that, the emphasis is always on lots of ‘doing’ because you’ll learn best by trying things out and practicing. During the 2 days you’ll learn a ‘toolbox’ of essential navigation techniques to help you get off the beaten track confidently.
The selection of techniques covered will include:
• Understanding the map as a two-dimensional plan.
• Using map symbols and scales on a variety of maps.
• Orientating maps with and without a compass.
• Using the orientated map to identify land features and indicate direction of travel.
• Taking a 6 figure grid reference and location reference points on the map.
• Choosing simple navigation strategies and routes.
• Planning safe and suitable walks.
• Using linear features (e.g. paths and tracks) as handrails.
• Estimating distance both on maps and on the ground
• Understanding contours to match landforms to their map representation.
• Relocating using simple techniques
• Understanding access rights and responsibilities.
• Demonstrating knowledge of the countryside code and procedures to be followed in emergencies.
The day will end at about 4.30pm.
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 general list for hillwalking activities is available here.
If you’d like to purchase a map the one needed for the course is the Ordnance Survey 1:25000 OL1 (Dark Peak). It is essential that your map is weatherproof so if you are buying one please choose one of the waterproof ‘Active Map’ versions (or use a waterproof map case). We can lend you a map if you wish but please let us know in advance.
You will also need a suitable compass. Again, we can lend you one but please let us know in advance. Many course participants like to have one of their own so they can get used to using it. A good compass will last for many years. 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!
We run our navigation courses around the Hope Valley. This treasured part of the Peak District National Park offers a broad range of venues including easy access to the special Derwent Valley and the iconic Kinder Scout and Bleaklow. On one of our courses you really will be in the very heart of the UK’s oldest and most popular national park.
We normally meet in the Derwent Valley (full details will be sent with your joining instructions) and the valley is ideally placed near to the beautiful villages of Bamford, Hathersage, Hope and Castleton. They all make suitable places to base yourself and all have plenty of shops, accommodation options and the all important pubs to enjoy a celebratory drink after your days in the hills.
The scenic train line between Manchester and Sheffield runs through the valley and there are also plenty of buses from Sheffield. The valley really does have everything you need to enjoy a relaxed and educational stay.
Here are a list of questions clients frequently ask about our navigation 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 supply all the technical equipment you’ll need for your course completely free of charge.
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 www.thebmc.co.uk 0870 010 4878
Snowcard Insurance Services www.snowcard.co.uk 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 navigation activities – details of 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.
Why don’t you provide accommodation for all your courses?
We organise both residential and non-residential courses. If we think the course will benefit from us all staying somewhere together we’ll make it a residential course. For others we ask you to arrange your own accommodation since some people will want to stay in luxury accommodation, others will opt for a B&B and others will be happy to camp. If you need help with accommodation please do check out our accommodation section.
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. and overseas has to offer.
What is the timetable for courses?
For non-residential 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 joining instructions will be 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 guidance.
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.
The Ramblers Rest, Millbridge, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 8WR. Tel 01433 620125
The Swiss House, How Lane, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 8WJ. Tel 01433 621098
Of course we always hope that your Peak District 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
Sunglasses, sun cream and sunhat
Compass (Silva type 4 is perfect if you’re buying one) – we can lend you a compass if you don’t have your own
Maps of area we are visiting (Dark Peak OL1 1:25,000 ordnance survey for this course) – we can lend you one if you don’t have your own.
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.