Silva compass, Mountain navigation courses in Wales

Course Outline

Listed below is an outline programme for a typical navigation weekend. But, this is by no means writ in stone! We do pride ourselves on our flexibility and are likely to make changes according to the weather, group's abilities etc.!
Friday Evening: Arrive 4-6pm for evening meal around 7.30 pm( late arrivals can be catered for). Chat and get to know your fellow guests for the weekend over tea or coffee. After dinner Ian will go through an equipment list and issue the maps
Saturday Morning: After tea in bed at 7.30am and breakfast at 8am,  a couple of hours deskwork to start covering the basics of mountain navigation :
Orienting the map
Setting the compass
Naismith's rule and estimating time
Grid references
Catch features
Hand railing
Aiming off

Then its a short minibus ride to a local venue to put these techniques into practice. Navigating over short distances, you will be asked to calculate a bearing and a timing to a point,  what you will expect to see whilst travelling there and upon arrival. 
As confidence is gained other techniques will be added:

Back bearings
Saturday Afternoon: By the afternoon the basic techniques should be coming clearer.  You will be sent off individually to find a number of points to see how you are learning and any difficulties you may be having.
This day takes place in a fairly low level area around 1- 1,500 ft 
Sunday Morning: After tea in bed at 7.30am and breakfast at 8am, a short session around the table discussing those items not covered on the previous day:
Boxing a feature 
Dog legs
Aspect of slope
Use of GPS

Once out on the Hill the aim of the day is to introduce  a more macro approach, navigating over longer distances - with or without the use of compass and timing. Also, to get to grips with contour recognition, relating what you are seeing on the map to the shape of the ground and vice versa . This day takes place in more of a mountain environment 1- 2,500 ft

Sunday Evening: After the evening meal you will be given the option of a night navigation exercise which takes place on rough moorland terrain near the house. You are given a map with a number of points marked and then, either individually or in pairs, go out and navigate your way around the points. 
Arrive back usually in the early hours of the morning to discuss and have a laugh about the evenings events over a wee dram.
Monday Morning: A later start - after the night's exertions and then a route planning exercise to try to pull together all you have learned. So, around the table as a group you are given a number of points then asked to; plan a route, work out how long it will take and then navigate your way around it- with us keeping a beedy eye on you of course! This day usually takes in a 3,000 ft peak.

Dependent on any train times, we usually get back to the house around 4pm in time for a light tea and goodbye's

Monday Evening: Those staying on for the optional NNAS assessment have a short written paper to complete in the evening
Tuesday (for those staying on for extra day assessment only): The assessment takes place in an undulating mountain area with plenty of contour and other features. The aim of the day is to assess, but also to train further any weaknesses you may have. You will be given a number of points of  varying  degrees of difficulty to navigate to and, at the end ,given a debrief,  told what level you had reached  and presented with any award.

NNAS Syllabus outline 

Dependent on any train times we usually get back to the house around 4pm in time for a light tea and goodbye's

  Further recommended reading:

Explorer Map 0017: Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa and Conwy Valley/Dyffryn Conwy (Explorer Maps)
 Amazon price: 5.59

1:25000 map of Northern Snowdonia

Snowdon 1:25000 maps
Mountaincraft and Leadership 
Eric Langmuir

  Amazon price: 14.99

Comprehensive but concise navigation section. Also chapters on ropework, mountain weather and winter skills. Required reading for mountain leaders but also any keen hillwalker.

Mountaincraft and Leadership
Navigation for Walkers 
Julian Tippett
Amazon price: 8.99

An excellent book that takes the reader on a tour of basic navigation. By using clear language the author communicates in a concise way how to navigate. 

Navigation for walkers
  See the High Trek Library for more books
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