The Silver Navigator Award develops the navigation skills acquired at the Bronze level. It adds skills required to navigate to features and places some distance from paths and tracks. It teaches accurate compass work. It will also teach you to select the suitable navigational techniques to cross open country. Silver NNAS courses are taught in areas with access to open country and involve periods where you’ll be navigating away from paths and tracks If you would like to discuss this course for a club, society or other group of people, please see the Adventures for You page or just get in touch to discuss options and prices
Silver Navigator Award
Where they are Run:
The courses are run in the magnificent Howgill Fells - the often overlooked area between Sedbergh, Kirkby Stephen and Tebay. If you've ever been on the M6 and wondered what the enclosing hills are to the south of Tebay services, they are the Howgills. They are officially in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but form the link between the Dales and the Lake District National Park. Public transport in the area is poor, but there is easy access from the M6 if coming by car, and you can get a taxi from Kirkby Stephen or Sedbergh mainline stations.
We meet at The Fat Lamb Inn at 0900 just outside Ravenstonedale at the start of a course (just south of Kirkby Stephen). More details are sent out on booking. If you are travelling from afar, I'd recommend staying at the Inn for the duration of the course. There is plenty of other places to stay in Ravenstonedale as well as Kirkby Stephen or Sedbergh.
To see the location in Google Maps, please click here (opens in a new tab).
In 2024, we are looking to also introduce the Silver Navigator Award to the North York Moors National Park or the Yorkshire Wolds, the other side of the Pennines! So please watch this space!
What the course involves:
There is a very brief indoor introduction to the course indoors over a brew on the first morning we meet. But we are mainly out on the hills learning the practical tools and skills in the real environment.
You have access to a bite-size video series which covers the syllabus and this will introduce many of the topics we practice outdoors. They also serve as a useful reminder resource for afterwards!
The instructor:client ratio is 1:8 with a minimum of 3 clients to ensure that everyone gets the most benefit from the course. Peer-experience and sharing is an important aspect.
Building on the skills covered in the Bronze Award course the Silver Navigator Award looks at going cross country using compass bearings and other poor visibility techniques.
There is a very short home paper and route planning exercise that forms part of the course. I've always included it as planning (and confidently following) your own routes is something most people have said they want to get from the course. It is now part of the accreditation.
By the end of the course, you will have a good understanding of:
Using finer detail features to orientate the map and navigate
Using a compass to follow bearings and confirm the route
More advanced navigation strategies, including coarse and fine navigation
Recognising dangers and difficult terrain on the map.
Navigating in poor visibility
Recognising errors and relocating
Understanding how route planning is affected by fitness and terrain
Understand how weather and terrain affect you
Selecting clothing for the walk
The countryside code and the walker's responsibility to the environment
You will need to have completed the Silver Navigator Award if you want to go on to do the Gold Award.
The Courses are developed by the National Navigation Award Scheme. The Awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold) are accredited by the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) at Level 4, 5 and 6 respectively and 2 SCQF credit points are awarded on completion. These have equivalents in England and Wales.
Fabian is the Course Director for all of our NNAS courses. He has a particular passion for teaching. He's taught outdoor skills over the past 20+ years to a range of audiences. He sat on the NNAS Board of Directors between 2017-2023. He also designs, develops and delivers multi-day practical courses on health innovation for universities and the NHS. He's a very experienced tutor and absolutely loves teaching.
Important and Useful Resources:
There is a series of bitesize videos that accompanies this course. They also act as a useful reminder of the topics and tools we covered for after. Teaching navigation theory online can never replace going out with an instructor however as you can't 'feel' what it is like to walk 100m using pacing when sat at home.
If you decide this course is right for you, please ensure that you have watched the video series. This will seed some of the concepts we will practice out on the hill.
Map and Compass:
We can provide you with a map and a compass for the course. If you'd like to buy a brand new industry standard Silva Expedition 4 compass (with a full professional set up as demonstrated in one of the introductory Bronze videos), you can buy one from our shop in advance and we can set it up for you when the course begins.
Either have completed the Bronze Navigator Award, or have experience of basic navigation but no formal training to put it into a strategy. You will need to be confident with your 100m pacing on a good track as well as being able to orientate a map using the landscape and/or a compass. If you are unsure about these skills, please check out the Bronze Navigator Award.
This is an intermediate navigation course. It is expected that you have some good hill fitness. The Howgills are grassy but steep in places. There are paths and tracks which we'll be mainly using. But some of these are pretty eroded in places.
Each non-residential course costs £150 per person for the two days training and assessment. You will need to provide your own accommodation (if needed), transport and travel insurance.
Each course includes training and assessment over two days (minimum of 12 hours). There is a certificate on successfully passing the award.