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Navigation & Hill Skills Course

Learn the skills to keep you safe in the hills!

From£299

  • England

  • 3, 4 nights
  • Experiential

    Skills & Navigation

  • Mar

    May

    Nov

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 7003370034

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.

Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.

Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.

Grade 6

Full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent.

These walks are in more remote areas such as Andorra or northern Portugal.

Similar to Grade 5, but with most of the walks at the upper level of ascent/descent, time and distance.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • We provide training, both in the classroom and the great outdoors.
  • Learn map skills in spectacular Lake District scenery.
  • The chance to obtain an outdoor qualification.

Are you interested in learning how to use a map and compass or brushing up your map reading skills? Want to go independent hill walking? These courses will enable you to learn the necessary skills to navigate safely, enjoy a day and/or obtain a recognised certificate (a Bronze or Silver award) from the National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS).

Despite GPS technology, which we’ll discuss and demonstrate, traditional map and compass skills remain an integral part of safe hill walking. These two and three-day practical courses will guide you through all the essential map and compass competencies you require to navigate your walking safely and confidently. Our new Advanced Hill Skills course will enable you to take on fresh challenges in the hills. 

Navigation Course – Bronze Award (Grade 4)

Operates on: 21 March, 15 May and 7 November 2020

This course is aimed at beginners, or those wishing to improve their rusty skills and covers all the NNAS Bronze syllabus and overlaps with some aspects of the Silver syllabus. At the end of the course you’ll have the opportunity to be assessed and to receive the NNAS Bronze award or just to take the experience gained to help you in your own forays into the hills. This course combines setting the map, identifying features, interpreting contours, taking and following a compass bearing, estimating distance travelled, identifying a practical route, understanding map scales, distances, symbols and grid references. We’ll introduce you to the most important navigation skills such as: setting the map, identifying features, interpreting contours, taking and following a compass bearing, estimating distance travelled, identifying a practical route, understanding maps scales, distances, symbols and grid references. Why not follow your bronze course up with our Advanced Hill Skills course, perfect for gaining further experience and safety on your walks.

Navigation Hill Skills Course – Silver Award (Grade 6)

Operates on: 10 November 2020

The silver NNAS award builds upon skills acquired at Bronze level. You will, amongst other things, learn how to navigate to features some distance from paths and tracks, use a compass to a high level of accuracy, obtain a greater understanding of contour lines, judge distances and plan a safe walk. We recommend that you have the Bronze award before being assessed for the Silver award.

  • Accommodation at Hassness Country House.
  • All meals except on Thursday (10 Nov 2020 silver course) or Tuesday evening (if your stay includes a Tuesday evening).
  • Tuition and use of necessary maps and equipment throughout.
  • Assessment for an award (optional!) at the end of the NNAS courses.
  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
  • (Local transport is not included on this holiday)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival Day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

We wish you a very warm welcome to Hassness Country House. Your hosts Debbie and Laurie will be there to welcome you and ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Your Course starts upon arrival at Hassness Country House in Buttermere where you are welcome to arrive from 3pm. Your evening meal will be served at 7pm. If you anticipate arriving after this time, we kindly request that you telephone Hassness Country House to confirm your expected arrival time.

Day 2 to 3

Buttermere

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

This Course will enable you to obtain the skills to navigate in the hills and obtain a recognised certificate (Bronze) from the National Navigation Award Scheme (N.N.A.S). The course is suitable for complete beginners, or those wishing to improve their rusty skills. There is a possibility that you will be able to obtain a recognised bronze N.N.A.S Scheme certificate (should you choose to be assessed).

If you are considering completing the Silver Course, we will always advise you to complete the Bronze Course first however this isn't essential, particularly if you have some previous past experience.

To prepare you before you start the course, we recommend you looking at the following website for free downloadable information; www.mcofs.org.uk/mountain-safety.asp and www.thebmc.co.uk/new-hill-walkers-booklet. During the course you will be provided with a range of free downloadable resources.

Despite GPS technology, which we discuss and demonstrate, traditional map and compass skills are still an integral part of safe hill walking. This two-day practical Course will take you through all the essential map and compass skills you need to plan your own walks and navigate safely and confidently.

We will cover all of the NNAS Bronze Syllabus and overlap with some aspects of the Silver syllabus. The Course also includes advice and information about relevant safety and access issues when walking in the countryside. An understanding of relevant conservation and environmental issues and awareness of our impacts all form part of each the Course.

We aim to spend as much time outside as possible during the Course but will also dedicate part of each day to some map and compass theory work inside Hassness Country House. The amount of time spent outside will very much depend on the weather, but roughly speaking between 2/3 and 3/4 of the day will be spent outside. This is not a Course for bagging peaks or walking long distances. Most of the days will be spent in the immediate area around Buttermere. We may get up to Honister Pass, Scarth Gap or Rannerdale Knotts, but it is unlikely we will venture any further. Whilst not going high, we would like to emphasise that poor weather can make even a walk around Buttermere something of a challenge, and the paths on which we will be walking will at times be rough.


Day 4

Departure Day

Meals

Breakfast

After a hearty breakfast, Debbie and Laurie wave you goodbye when you'll leave with memories from your Lake District experience. We hope you enjoyed your stay and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Departure dates for your selected tour

21st Mar 2020 - 24th Mar 2020 (3 Nights)

15th May 2020 - 18th May 2020 (3 Nights)

7th Nov 2020 - 10th Nov 2020 (3 Nights)

Travel Details

Please note that any local transportation costs to and from trailheads are not included.
To reduce local costs in getting to and from the course activity areas, we may ask those taking their cars to Hassness to assist in transportation and to offer their course companions a lift to and from the trailheads. Nearest railway station: Penrith (40 miles).
Nearest bus station: Keswick (9 miles).

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival Day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

We wish you a very warm welcome to Hassness Country House. Your hosts Debbie and Laurie will be there to welcome you and ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Your Course starts upon arrival at Hassness Country House in Buttermere where you are welcome to arrive from 3pm. Your evening meal will be served at 7pm. If you anticipate arriving after this time, we kindly request that you telephone Hassness Country House to confirm your expected arrival time.

Day 2 to 4

Buttermere

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

This Course will enable you to obtain the skills to navigate in the hills and obtain a recognised certificate (Silver) from the National Navigation Award Scheme (N.N.A.S). If you would like to be assessed for the NNAS Silver Award we advise you to obtain the Bronze NNAS Award first, however this isn't essential particularly if you have some previous past experience.

To prepare you before you start the Course, we recommend you looking at the following website for free downloadable information; www.mcofs.org.uk/mountain-safety.asp and www.thebmc.co.uk/new-hill-walkers-booklet. During the course you will be provided with a range of free downloadable resources.

Despite GPS technology, which we discuss and demonstrate, traditional map and compass skills are still an integral part of safe hill walking. This three-day practical Course will take you through all the essential map and compass skills you need to plan your own walks and navigate safely and confidently.

We will cover all of the NNAS Silver Syllabus and builds upon skills acquired at the Bronze level. The Course also includes advice and information about relevant safety and access issues when walking in the countryside. An understanding of relevant conservation and environmental issues and awareness of our impacts all form part of each the Course.

We aim to spend as much time outside as possible during the training Course, but will also dedicate part of each day to some map and compass theory work inside Hassness Country House. The amount of time spent outside will very much depend on the weather, but roughly speaking between 2/3 and 3/4 of the day will be spent outside.

This is not a Course for bagging peaks or walking long distances. Most of the days will be spent in the immediate area around Buttermere. We may get up to Honister Pass, Scarth Gap or Rannerdale Knotts, but it is unlikely we will venture any further. Whilst not going high, we would like to emphasise that poor weather can make even a walk around Buttermere something of a challenge, and the paths on which we will be walking will at times be rough.

On the first day we will typically spend the morning close to Hassness Country House, returning for lunch, then venture out again. Again, roughly speaking, we would hope to be outside between about 10am and 4pm to 4.30pm, making sure we get back in time for afternoon tea and cake. To get full advantage from the Course, there will also be theory work in the evenings after dinner.

Day 5

Departure Day

Meals

Breakfast

After a hearty breakfast, Debbie and Laurie wave you goodbye when you'll leave with memories from your Lake District experience. We hope you enjoyed your stay and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Departure dates for your selected tour

10th Nov 2020 - 14th Nov 2020 (4 Nights)

Travel Details

Please note that any local transportation costs to and from trailheads are not included.
To reduce local costs in getting to and from the course activity areas, we may ask those taking their cars to Hassness to assist in transportation and to offer their course companions a lift to and from the trailheads. Nearest railway station: Penrith (40 miles).
Nearest bus station: Keswick (9 miles).

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each nights' accommodation for each departure date.

Hassness Country House

Hassness Country House, beautifully located in its own extensive grounds on the shores of Buttermere in the Western Lake District, provides a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere for each and every guest. 

You can find sheep grazing and red squirrels scurrying around just outside the door. This is one of the remotest parts of the Lake District and has been recognised as offering some of Britain’s finest views.

Following a refurbishment in 2018, 7 of our 11 bedrooms now have en-suite facilities. Accommodation is in twins, doubles and single rooms, accommodating 19 people in total. All bedrooms are lakeside with many overlooking the lake and the fells beyond. Some of the rooms have a garden view. All rooms are very comfortable, either with en-suite facilities or sharing high-powered modern shower rooms and toilets, which are located across the hall from the bedrooms. Toiletries and towels (both hand & bath) are provided for each guest.

All of our bedrooms have stunning views; whether it be of the rugged and imposing hillsides across the water, garden views or views of the lake itself.

The lounge is a delightful place to relax, with a large picture window looking out across the lake. Comfortable and welcoming, it’s a great place to enjoy your own company or that of your fellow guests, to read a book or simply enjoy one of the most dramatic vantage points in the world. It’s also a perfect starting point for some truly remarkable days in the hills.

Hassness Country House offers a retreat from today’s always connected world. There's no TV, no phones in the rooms, and no mobile reception in this sparsely populated valley of West Cumbria. If you do need to contact the outside world there is a payphone available and Wi-Fi is also available throughout the property. At Hassness Country House you’ll take a step back from the frantic world beyond the fells. It’s far enough away yet convenient for the main tourist hubs of Keswick; this is a quieter, less trodden part of the Lake District with dramatic and tranquil scenery. Our friendly managers, Debbie and Laurie, will make you feel welcome.

New to Hassness Country House is a licensed bar which offers a selection of red and white wines, beer and a small assortment of spirits at reasonable prices (payment by card only). You can walk the mile into Buttermere village (a tiny hamlet) for a drink or something to eat at one of the two pubs, but otherwise you can just get away from it all. The madding crowds don’t come anywhere nearby, and surrounding hills are generally less well stomped than the more readily accessible peaks.

Trip Information

All the details you need

Walks & Excursions

Local Transport Costs

We do not include local transport costs or entrance fees in conjunction with the walks programme on this holiday.

To reduce local costs in getting to and from the walks, we may ask those taking their cars to Hassness Country House to assist in transportation and to offer their walking companions a lift to and from the trailheads.  You need to bring your motor insurance policy certificate with you and accept that any use by your travelling companions is for social purposes only for which you will not be able to receive any payment. You may travel by public bus on some days therefore if you have a bus pass please bring this with you.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

To reach Hassness House…

By car: from Preston (M6) leave the motorway at junction 40 to join the A66 to just beyond Keswick and continue on the minor road following Newlands Valley via Stair and Keskadale to Buttermere. Reaching the edge of Buttermere village, turn left on to the B5289 and continue for approximately 1¼ miles and Hassness estate is on the right. Please note this route is not suitable for nervous drivers.
Alternatively take the B5289 from Keswick via Grange, Borrowdale and Gatesgarth direct to Hassness and the estate will be on your left.

By rail and coach: the nearest railway station to Hassness is Penrith. You will need to take a bus from Penrith railway station to Keswick bus station. Once here a taxi (check the price first) or 50 minute bus ride will take you to Hassness House.
There are several buses a day from Keswick to Hassness (just beyond Buttermere Village towards the Honister Pass) usually departing from about 09.20. Please check the timetables before departing. The journey takes about an hour. Alternatively, a taxi should cost about £20 but we do advise you to get a quote before you travel. Unfortunately Hassness is not reachable by public bus in the winter months (from November to Easter).
Alternatively, you could stay overnight in Penrith or Keswick – they’re only half an hour apart (although Keswick is probably the nicer base). Contact Keswick Tourist Information Centre for hotel and guesthouse information (www.keswick.org).


Travel information contact details:

  • UK rail information: www.nationalrail.co.uk 
  • Local bus services between Penrith and Keswick (Services X4 or X5):
  • Local bus services between Keswick and Buttermere (Services 77 or 77A): Tel: 0870 608 2608
  • Keswick Tourist Information Office: www.visitcumbria.com/kes/kestic.htm 
  • Davies taxies - Tel: 017687 72676
  • Keswick Taxis - Tel: 017687 75585

You may also wish to look at the following website for advice on the best way to travel to the accommodation: www.rome2rio.com 

  • The AA and RAC both offer free and detailed on-line route planning facilities on their websites which may help you find our hotels. Details can be found at: www.theaa.co.uk or www.rac.co.uk 

Meeting your tour leader: Please aim to be in the lounge at 6.30pm - half an hour before dinner - for an introduction to your tour leader, an outline of the planned programme for your holiday and the chance to get together with your holiday companions. 

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

Meals

Cereal and cooked breakfast available every morning, cakes in the afternoon and a three-course evening meal are provided every day (excluding Tuesdays when there is a cold buffet breakfast and dinner can be taken in one of Buttermere’s village pubs and Thursday for the 10 Nov 2020 silver course). Substantial picnic lunches are also provided on each of your walking days. Hassness is equipped with a bar with reasonably priced wine, beer and spirits.

Free tea and coffee are always available to enjoy in the spacious lounge overlooking the lake. There is also a guests’ kitchen with a large fridge for storage should you need it.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Holiday Specific Kit

In addition, please can you bring the following with you on this course;

  • Silva 4 Compass
  • Stop watch
  • Foil blanket 
  • Survival bag

All of these items can be purchased at reasonable prices at all good outdoor / activity shops or online. 

National Trust & English Heritage

If you’re a member of either of these organisations don’t forget to bring your membership cards as this holiday may include sites relevant to these memberships or you may wish to visit any local sites on a free day should they be nearby.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

You may wish to refer to the following maps and guidebooks:

Ordnance Survey. Outdoor Leisure series (1:25,000):

Map no 4: English Lakes - North Western area 

Map no 6: English Lakes - South Western area

‘Wainwright’ Guide books:
Book 6 - `The North Western Fells’
Book 7 - `The Western Fells'

We will loan you the English Lakes – North Western Area map. If you wish to purchase your own then we recommend laminated versions over paper versions as they can be used in wet weather and written on with marker pens.

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to your the areas you will be walking in may be brought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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