Compass on a map
Map and Compass: Navigation 101.

Travel from Novice to Navigator

Many people are happy to navigate their way around daily life, using a street map or mapping on their phone. They can find their way to the shops or to a restaurant without any great difficulty. And if they are a bit off the mark, it usually only involves an extra walk around the block.

When you head out of town, though, you need a much sharper set of navigational tools. And, to achieve the necessary precision, you need more skill in using them.

Every year numerous people are the subject of missing person searches or rescues – situations that often begin with avoidable navigational errors.

Just by employing some fundamental navigational strategies, combined with solid map and compass work, you can wander up hill and down dale without getting lost.

Contrary to what many think, good navigation does not involve having your head stuck in a map and missing the natural beauty all around you.

Good navigation is, in fact, liberating: You should feel free to roam, enjoying your surroundings, and have the confidence to return home safely and without any drama.

Introducing Navigation 101

Against the backdrop of rolling hills and forest, we’ll share with you the fundamental building blocks of navigating with map and compass.

We will not only give you the theory but you’ll also put it into practice. Under the watchful eye of our experienced instructors you will, step-by-step, employ a range of valuable techniques.

This immersive yet enjoyable course takes you from map and compass beginner to confident map reader and navigator.

Showing you everything you need to read and interpret an Ordnance Survey map, combined with reliable and easy-to-apply compass techniques, we will get you up to speed with being able to navigate anywhere in the UK.

Combined, map and compass are still the most reliable means by which to navigate in remote country. This is despite the proliferation of GPS units and smartphone applications and mapping.

Even the British Mountaineering Council have stated “The message is simple: by all means use an app, but don’t leave your paper map and compass behind – and know how to use them.”

Whether you want to explore new territory close to home or strike out into the wilder lands our country has to offer, this course will give you the skills to get you out there and back home again safely.

Highlights of Navigation 101

Understand and Interpret Maps

We’ll start by showing you all the important aspects of a map. Crucially, we’ll also highlight what the map isn’t showing you. A map is a two-dimensional representation of our three-dimensional world. To do its job well, a map has to encapsulate a lot of information on a single sheet of paper. By sharing an understanding of the symbols, scales, grids, contour lines and how to use them in practice, we’ll show you how you can plan and successfully complete any route of your choice.

Find Your Way With A Compass

First we’ll show you how to find your way around the compass itself. Many people are daunted by compasses – the needle, the baseplate, the lines, the arrows, the rotating bezel and all those numbers. Angles and degrees smack of geometry lessons at school and put a lot of people off. We’ll show you there is nothing to be wary of. We’ll place in your head – and in your hands – a solid set of compass techniques that will have you navigating like a pro in no time.

Get Lots of Practice Under The Watchful Eyes Of Our Instructors

The Course Leaders of our navigation courses are not only experienced bushcraft instructors they are also qualified Mountain Leaders. They are familiar with the more remote parts of the UK and what it takes to navigate in them. In addition, they have have travelled independently and undertaken journeys outside of the UK involving navigation through remote terrain. They bring this wealth of outdoor knowledge and navigational experience together to help you get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Man navigating with map and compass in woodland
Learn to navigate with competence and confidence.

Detail of What You Will Learn: The Syllabus


  • Understanding Ordnance Survey maps and mapping
  • Recognising important signs and symbols on maps
  • Using map scales
  • Measuring distance
  • Grid References
  • Interpreting contour lines and contour intervals
  • Methods of relating the map to the land
  • Methods of relating the land to the map
  • Orienting the map by eye
  • Orienting the map with your compass
  • Map-folding tricks
  • Tips for protecting your map from the elements


  • Choosing a compass
  • Compass parts and terminology
  • Easily avoided compass errors
  • How to use your compass accurately
  • Taking compass bearings
  • Walking on a bearing
  • Using back bearings
  • Boxing around an obstacle

Additional Navigation Techniques

  • Handrails and use of linear features
  • Aiming off
  • Attack points
  • Collecting features

Navigation Strategies

  • How to keep track of where you are
  • Methods of working out your location
  • Useful tactics for avoiding becoming lost

Route Planning and Route Finding

  • Planning your route
  • Calculating how long your route will take
  • Visualising your route
  • Tick-off features
  • Using landmarks
  • Navigation in low light or poor visibility


What People Say About The Navigation 101 Course


All the Other Details You Need to Know…


You don’t need to spend lots of money on specialist clothing or equipment for this course. What you will need is some outdoor clothing, a daysac and some basic camping gear.

A full kit-list is available here. The kit-list will also be e-mailed to you with your e-mail receipt after your booking has been accepted.

All specialist equipment – including compasses, maps and mapcases – will be provided for your use during the course.


This course will be conducted entirely outdoors, from a base camp in the middle of a large private estate in Sussex. This lays next to a large area of open access land, so the total training area is both very large and quite varied. It’s a great place to learn!

Within the base camp, there will be a covered communal area with a fire, kettle, tea, coffee, etc. We may have briefings in this area but it is available for you to use during any downtime in camp.


Please bring your food of choice for the two days. You will be able to cook on a fire. Alternatively you can bring a stove (or use both, if you’d like the flexibility). You won’t have to backpack with your supplies, so you can bring fresh food if you’d like to!

Also bring some lunch food suitable for packed lunches as we’ll likely be away from camp during the day.

Experience Required

No previous experience of navigation or camping is required to attend this course.

Availability and Booking: Navigation 101

Duration: 2 days/2 nights.

Price: £227

Deposit: 25% on booking.

Suitability: 14 years & above. Anyone under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Course size: 12 participants (maximum).

Course Meeting Time: 17:30

Course Finish Time: 17:30

Location: East Sussex

Course Leader: James Bath or Matt Batham

Navigation 101 Course Dates:

31/03/23 – 02/04/23 FULLY BOOKED

Book your course now


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