Mountain Navigation

Having good navigation is one of the key skills for all walkers and mountaineers. What ever your level of navigation we can help you improve.

Maybe you wish to get off the beaten track but you are only confident navigating near large obvious features such as tracks, paths, buildings and lakes and contours just appear as brown squiggles on the map.

Or perhaps you have a good grasp of contour interpretation and taking and using bearings, but you struggle when trying to put it all together, in thick cloud and complex terrain, when it is essential to get it right.

On our mountain navigation courses we will quickly find out what skills you already have and then steadily add in simple tools and techniques to develop your skills and confidence. Before long you will be looking at maps in a whole new way.

Navigation is not some dark and hidden art. Rather than learning numerous complex solutions to different scenarios you will learn a relatively small number of simple skills which you will use as building blocks to solve any specific navigational challenge. 


Before becoming an instructor Ian spent 4 years as a Cartographer for Harvey Maps working on their highly acclaimed series of specialist walking maps. His love of maps and his intimate knowledge of the way they are made gives him great ability to put across all aspects of navigation from the most basic to the most complex in a clear and easily understandable way. Hopefully by the end of your course you will love maps and navigation as much as he does!







We will look at:

  • understanding map scales
  • what do all those map symbols mean?
  • taking and using a compass bearing
  • how do I know what is up and what is down?
  • contours - brown squiggles or a clear 3D map of the world
  • estimating distance travelled - timing and pacing
  • Relocation - finding yourself again when you are temporarily misplaced!
  • Strategies for naviagtion
    • attack point
    • tick off features
    • overshoot / catching feature
    • hand-railing
    • aiming off


Poor Visibility/Night Navigation

Perhaps you are keen to develop your navigation in poor visibility. While it is difficult for us to book low cloud on the day of your course we do have the option to go out after dark. You may like to book a ‘day’ that starts in the afternoon but finishes a few hours after dark thereby giving ample opportunity to practice the skills necessary for successful navigation in thick cloud

GPS Navigation

Although no replacement for a map and compass and the skills to use them modern GPS devices can be a useful aid in the hills. They can be an excellent teaching aid after you have been on a course like this. You can do navigational exercises without an instructor present but with the knowledge that you can still get confirmation that you are correct or not.. And just occasionally when you are battling the elements and the navigation is crucial and you are the most experienced member of the team it can be great to have one to hand to confirm that your map and compass work was correct. For all these reasons we can spend time looking at the basics of GPS use and the main pitfalls and limitations to be aware of.


For the mountain navigation course you should have some previous hill walking experience. We will quickly establish what your current level of navigational ability is and progress you on from there.



Hill & Mountain kit list

Download Mountain Kit List

Private Bookings: Cost & booking information

Price per day.

1 person - £185

2 people - £200

3 people - £220

4-6 people - £240

Please send an email with your preferred dates and itinerary and we will get straight back to you regarding availability.

Open Courses: dates and costs

Mountain Navigation - 2 day courses. 

No courses currently set. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements

Mountain Navigation - 5 day courses

No courses currently set. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements

Related Photos


  • Ian, many thanks for an outstanding weekend - you judged our ability perfectly and tailored the programme accordingly. We will be talking out that final pitch for a few years to come..... ~ Chas. Guided Scrambling
  • Hi Ian ! Thanks for making a great weekend for us we had a superb time in your company, really enjoyed ourselves. thanks for making up the CD for us, that's great. Looking forward to those action shots !! Would definitely be good to catch up with you again Ian .. we'll get on the case building anchors in the lounge and hopefully be up to scratch for the next time ! Karan just called me and we discussing stiff arms and shoulders but said she's dying to get up there again :-) !! ~ Rob and Karan. Intro Rock Course