National Navigation Award


Aspen Outdoors Ltd is a provider of  National Navigation Award (NNA) Courses. We offer the:

  • Outdoor Discovery Award (ODA)
  • Bronze National Navigation Award;
  • Silver National Navigation Award;
  • Gold National Navigation Award; and
  • The NNA Tutor Award.

These courses provide a structured and stepped approach to learning and teaching navigation skills. The awards are assessed and lead to a formal qualification. Courses are run throughout the year – see our events calendar – and can be organised on request.

The Outdoor Discovery Award (ODA) is ideal for children. The Award provides tuition in basic navigation skills, encouraging exploration and journeying in local areas using simple maps such as street maps, pictorial park maps and orienteerng maps. Much of the learning is delivered through fun navigation games and orienteering, that can be undertaken in school grounds. The qualification has three levels providing progression and challenge: 1 Star, 2 Star and 3 Star. Each level takes between 6 and 10 hours to deliver, depending on the capability of the participants, which can be broken up into multiple sessions or longer half or whole day sessions as appropriate.

The Bronze National Navigation Award course is run over two days and provides an introduction to navigation skills. The course is aimed at beginners and is for all ages. The course will cover:

  • Identifying features and landforms in the landscape
  • Understanding and using maps with different scales and map symbols
  • Following linear features like paths and tracks using a map
  • Using a compass to set the map and find out where you are
  • Measuring distance and estimating time
  • Re-locating yourself if you don’t know where you are

Upon completing the course you’ll receive a formal qualification and certificate (SCQF level 4).

The Silver National Navigation Award is a two day course and develops your skills so that can navigate in open country using compass bearings and natural landforms. The course is ideal for participants who are confident in using a map to follow paths and tracks in lowland countryside terrain and want to learn how to navigate off path.  The course will cover:

  • Setting and following compass bearings across open ground
  • Using pacing to measure distance
  • Estimating the time needed for height gain
  • Using landforms like hills, ridges, spurs and valleys to navigate
  • Adopting appropriate strategies for navigating from one point to another, using techniques like aiming off and attack points.

The Gold National Navigation Award is three day course is a progression from the Silver Award, adding techniques and skills for dealing with complex contour features large and small. The Gold Award is delivered as separate Gold Award training and Gold Award Assessment courses. On completion of the course participants will be able to plan and confidently follow safe routes away from paths and tracks in any open countryside.

The courses cover:

  • Utilising contours and fine detail as the prime method of navigation
  • Accurately following routes, judging distance using pacing and timing, using compass skills and maintaining continuous map contact.
  • Re-location techniques like aspect of slope, transit lines, contour interpretation, back bearings and resection.

The National Navigation Tutor Award prepares participants to teach National Navigation Award courses. The one day course introduces participants to a different teaching techniques and exercises as part of a structured and stepped approach to teaching navigation. The course provides guidance on how to structure and organise navigation courses. It also provides lots of information on useful navigation resources. Holding the NNA Tutor Award is a pre-requisate to running Bronze, Silver and Gold NNA Award courses. The NNA Tutor Award course is run on request – please get in touch for more information.

Here are some blog articles about navigation.