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Navigation and Hill Skills

from £290
A fun short course to obtain the skills to navigate in the hills and obtain a recognised hill walking skills certificate.

Guided Walking Holidays - Navigation and Hill Skills Course

Are you interested in learning how to use a map and compass or brushing up your map reading skills? These courses will enable you to learn the skills to navigate in the hills and 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 are still an integral part of safe hill walking. These two and three day practical courses will take you through all the essential map and compass skills you need to plan your own walks and navigate safely and confidently.

Navigation Hill Skills Course – Bronze Award (Grade 4)

Operates on: 23 March, 15 May & 2 November 2019.

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 Hill Skills Course – Silver Award (Grade 6)

Operates on: 26 March & 5 November 2019.

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.

Subject to availability, you can book the Bronze and Silver Award courses as consecutive holidays and stay a week at Hassness.

Local Transport costs to and from trailheads are not included. To get to and from the walks, we may ask those taking their cars to Hassness to assist and offer their walking companions a lift to and from the trailheads. If cars are not available to use, private coach hire may be booked by our leader at an additional cost.

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 or Mindfulness in the Mountains.

Holiday Highlights

  • Both classroom and practical outdoor training.
  • Learning map skills in spectacular landscapes.
  • The chance to get 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 Thursday† (which can be taken in one of Buttermere’s village pubs). † Applies to Silver Award only.
      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 program, 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

    Independent arrival at Hassness Country House. Please arrive after 3pm. Dinner is served at 7pm. If you anticipate arriving after this time, we kindly request you telephone Hassness Country House and confirm your arrival time.

  2. Day 2 to 3

    Two days classroom and practical outdoor training with the option to be assessed on the final day to receive the NNAS award (Bronze Award).

  3. Day 4

    Depart Hassness Country House after breakfast.

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 (approx 28 miles).
Nearest bus station: Keswick (approx 10 miles).

Trip Map

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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 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 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 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 house.

New to Hassness House is a licensed bar which offers a selection of red and white wines, beer and a small assortment of spirits at reasonable prices. 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 days including a guided walk. If your stay includes a 'free day', picnic lunches are not included however they can be provided upon request for a small charge. 

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.

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