National Navigation Award Scheme courses based in Edinburgh

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Hills of Hame is NNAS Provider 1575S

Hills of Hame is a registered provider of the Bronze and Silver levels of the National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS).

The NNAS scheme is designed to develop personal competence and skill in navigation for a range of outdoor pursuits but is also applicable to field sciences such as geology and ecology. As well as being an outdoor leader, Visit the NNAS site for more information. NNAS is accredited by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework at Level 4 and attracts 2 credit points.

Al delivers the courses personally.  Al has been involved in running field trips and courses in Earth Sciences at university-level and works as an upland bird surveyor from time-to-time in the Scottish Highlands. Close to the Hills of Hame base, there is a variety of wooded and hilly terrain suitable to develop and assess the skills for Bronze level. For Silver courses, the northern Pentlands around Hillend and Bonaly offer the right sort of terrain to build hill navigation skills. We are fortunate enough to have several fixed orienteering courses close to base, thanks to the work of ESOC and Interlopers.

Navigation is about general principles, skills, tools and techniques and can be practiced almost anywhere. Southern Edinburgh offers a good mix of terrain and features to learn these skills, but Al can deliver these courses anywhere in Scotland by arrangement.

AJMNNAS 08.29.49

Bronze and Silver Award courses and assessment may be booked for private groups, as small as two people up to a maximum of eight, but please book at least a week in advance. Enquire here. The maximum number of participants on a course is strictly limited to eight by NNAS guidelines.

Participants should be aware that undertaking the course does not have a certain outcome of a pass. NNAS moderate the awards and make it clear to providers that they should defer candidates who do not perform at the standard required during the assessment.

 

Bronze NNAS Award with Hills of Hame

If you’re new to navigation or want to be able to expand the range of routes you can follow and plan, the Bronze NNAS award offers a structured introduction to navigation  If you already have some navigational skills and want to improve them, then the Silver Award might suit you better. Bronze DofE expedition participants would benefit from this award too.

If you’re not sure which course is for you, please use the NNAS outlines of the topics covered and assessed by each award. The Bronze Award is really for following routes on paths independently and the Lowland Leader Award offered by Mountain Training requires this level of skill and knowledge from successful candidates.

Doing the Silver NNAS Award does NOT require that you already hold the Bronze Award but if the skills in the Bronze Award outline are unfamiliar, then the Silver Award will be challenging for you.

Each course and assessment involves a minimum of 12 hours of contact over at least two days. However, it is possible to break this into a larger number of shorter sessions by arrangement.

Sample outline of Bronze award course split into two days

Day 1

Session 1 (two hours)
– Introduction to the concept of maps, location and navigation
– Making maps of small area (room, garden, tray) and learning how to set a map against features
– Set routes for other participants

Break

Session 2 (one hour)
– Navigation games and exercises using grids

Session 3 (two hours)
– Introducing printed maps and associated symbols
– Introducing key navigational feature types: handrails, collecting and catching features
– Introducing the Ds: distance, duration, direction, destination, danger
– Measuring tools: pacing, timing, estimation
– Scales of standard maps and distance on map versus distance on the ground

Break

Session 4 (one hour)
– Safety, conservation issues and weather considerations
– Planning a walk for Day 2

Day 2

Session 1 (one hour)
– Recap of previous day and how this will relate to the session
– Orientate a map against major ground features
– Orientate a map against a compass needle

Break

Session 2 (two hours)
– Use map to check orientation of handrail features
– Distinguish between uphill and downhill sections on maps by contours alone.
– Recognise significant contour features on a map and ground (hills, cols, valley, spurs, ridges)

Lunch and Q&A session

Assessment (Three hours)
– Practical assessment of skills
– Individual debriefs
– Next steps

Silver NNAS Award with Hills of Hame

The Silver Award is for those ready to start planning and undertaking walks that combine the use of paths but also begins to build the skill set for off-path walking on the open hill. Much more emphasis is placed upon combining the tools in your navigation tool-kit and considering the pros and cons of alternative routes. The Hill and Moorland Leader award offered by Mountain Training requires this level of skill and knowledge from successful candidates. The skill level and terrain used in this course would also be appropriate for Silver DofE expedition participants.

Sample outline of Silver award course split into two days

Day 1

Session 1 (two hours)
– Introduction to the baseplate compass
– Measuring distances with pacing and timing
– Accurate input of bearings on compass and following bearings over short distances
– Work out height gain and loss and factor this into timing estimates

Break

Session 2 (two hours on a walk)
– Refresher on key contour features from Bronze Level syllabus
– Introduction to smaller contour features (re-entrants and small hills)
– Practice compass skills from session 1
– Aiming off on linear features
– Use of attack points and switching from coarse to fine navigation

Break

Session 3 (one hour)
Navigation in poor visibility.
Effective use of torches and other light sources for map-reading and navigation

Session 4 (one hour)
– Plan walk route for Day 2

Day 2

Session 1 (one hour)
Recap of previous day and how this will relate to the session on the open hill
Safety, conservation issues and equipment selection for the open hill

Break

Session 2 (two hours)
– Further practice of Day 1 skills in open ground in a new setting tailored to the needs of candidates

Lunch and Q&A session

Assessment (Three hours)
– Practical assessment of skills
– Individual debriefs
– Next steps

 

 

Al is a Hill and Moorland Leader and has also completed the Expedition Skills module
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