image description

Navigation & Hill Skills

from £290
A fun short course to obtain the skills to navigate in the hills and obtain a recognised outdoor navigation qualification. 
  • Product Code 70033,70034, 70094, 70170, 70270
  • Holiday Type Experiential Holidays, Skills And Navigation
  • Grade

    Grades 1, 2 & 3 - Leisurely grades

    Grades 4, 5 & 6 - Moderate grades

    Grades 7, 8 & 9 - Challenging grades

    Grade 4, Grade 6
  • Holiday Duration 3, 4 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays - Navigation and Hill Skills at Hassness Country House

Are you interested in learning how to use a map and compass or brushing up on your map reading skills? These two Courses enable you to learn the skills involved to navigate on the hills, plus obtain a recognised outdoor navigation qualification (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 are still an integral part of safe hill walking. These two and three day practical Courses involve the theoretical and practical essential map and compass skills you need to plan your own walks safely and confidently.

Navigation Course – Bronze Award (Grade 4)

Operates on: 2 November 2019, 21 March 2020, 15 May 2020 & 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.

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.

Navigation Course – Silver Award (Grade 6)

Operates on: 5 November 2019 & 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, however this is not essential particularly if you already have experience of navigating in the hills.

Advanced Hill Skills (Grade 4) NEW

Operates on: 24 March 2020 & 18 May 2020.

Following on from your Bronze Award Course, but also open to all, take the opportunity to spend three walking days putting the navigation you have learnt to practical use (fully guided). Also, learn the skills to give you the confidence and competence for independent travel in the hills. We cover journey planning, equipment and clothing, weather, emergency procedures and protocols, navigation and environmental awareness. This is no assessment element to this course. 

Subject to availability, you can book the Bronze and Silver Award Courses as consecutive holidays and stay a week at Hassness Country House (tour code 70097).

You can also book the Bronze Award Course and the Advanced Hill Skills as consecutive holidays and stay for a week at Hassness Country House (tour code 70090). 

Local Transport costs to and from trailheads are not included. To get to and from the walks, we ask those taking their cars to Hassness Country House to assist and offer their walking companions a lift to and from the trailheads. If cars are not available, private coach hire may be booked at an additional cost to you. Your Course Instructor can assist with this.

If you really like to stay in our Hassness Country House, you might also be interested in holidays like Great Lakeland Ridge Walks, Women's Activity Week, Lakeland Explorer and Mindfulness in the Mountains.

Holiday Highlights

  • We provide training, both in the classroom and the great outdoors. 
  • Learn map skills in the spectacular Lake District scenery.
  • The chance to obtain an outdoor qualification.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Accommodation at Hassness Country House.
      All meals except for dinner on Tuesday (applies to 21 March 2020 Bronze Award) or Thursday (applies to 10 November 2020 Silver Award).
      Tuition and use of necessary maps and equipment throughout.
      Assessment for an award (optional!) at the end of the course.
      (Local transport is not included on this holiday)
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

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.

This departure: Grade 4

  1. Day 1

    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.

  2. Day 2 to 3

    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; and 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.

  3. Day 4

    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. 

Travel Details

  • Accessing Hassness Country House is both easy and beautiful. Nearest railway station: Penrith (28 miles). Nearest bus station: Keswick (9 miles). See our Holiday Information Sheet for more details on how to reach Hassness Country House by car or public transport. There is ample guest parking outside the house.
  • Local transport costs to and from trailheads is not included. To get to and from the walks, we ask those taking cars to Hassness to assist and offer their walking companions a lift to and from the trailheads. If cars are not available, private coach hire may be booked at an additional cost to you. Your leader can assist with this.


Trip Map

See where this holiday travels to.

The map will be available soon...

Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

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 21 people in total. There is only one single room however twins and doubles for sole occupancy are available at an appropriate supplement. 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.

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.

The lounge at Hassness Country House 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.

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.


Cooked breakfast, 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). Picnic lunches are also provided on each of your walking days. 

Free tea and coffee are available at all times 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.