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All NNAS courses include information about relevant safety and access issues when walking in the countryside.  An understanding of relevant conservation and environmental and our impact on the countryside are all included in each course.

Training and Assessment courses use Harvey Maps of 1:25,000 or 1:40,000 scale, Ordnance Survey maps of 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 scale or orienteering maps of 1:10,000 or 1:15,000 scale.

Bronze NNAS Award – navigation in the countryside using paths tracks and other linear features, basic map interpretation and compass work is included

  • Understand the nature of a map as a two dimensional plan.
  • Understand how to use map symbols and scales, on a variety of maps.
  • Take a 6 figure grid reference for any given position and also locate such a reference on the map.
  • Orientate the map with and without a compass.
  • Use the orientated map to identify land features and indicate direction of travel.
  • Choose simple navigation strategies and routes.
  • Use linear features (e.g. paths and tracks) as handrails in simple navigation exercises.
  • Estimate distance on both map and ground.
  • Using a basic understanding of contours, match major landforms like hills and valleys to their map representation.
  • Plan a safe, suitable walk.
  • Relocate using simple techniques on paths and other handrails.
  • Understand access rights and responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of local and national access issues and access legislation.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Countryside Code, and of procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency.

Silver NNAS Award – navigation in the countryside using skills acquired at bronze level and adding skills required to navigate to features and places some distance from paths and tracks, accurate compass work is required and an ability to use appropriate navigational techniques to go across country in some cases, eg. choosing an appropriate attack point.

  • Devise a strategy for a navigational stage, to break it down into ‘coarse’ and ‘fine’ navigation and to use clear features en route to check that they are ‘on course’.
  • Understand and apply the following components of a navigational strategy ‘aiming off’, ‘attack points’, ‘collecting features’, simplifying navigation, and apply them in varying terrain.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of contour features, both large and small, on the map and on the ground.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the navigation physical and factors affecting route choice.
  • Judge distance accurately on the map and on the ground.
  • Plan a safe walk or route involving Silver award skills and strategies.
  • Employ simple relocation strategies when lost.
  • Use a compass to follow accurate bearings and to check the direction of footpaths or other linear features on both map and ground.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the effects of fatigue and physical discomfort brought on by navigating in demanding countryside and/or extreme weather condition. Knowledge of basic first aid is also expected.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of the Countryside Code and current access legislation as for the Bronze level together with an appreciation of basic environmental factors in mixing ‘man with nature’ (e.g. footpath erosion and methods of dealing with it), and responsibilities towards other countryside interests like farming, forestry and conservation.

Gold NNAS Award – navigation in the countryside using skills of the first two levels, but 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

  • Show confidence in the use of the skills detailed for the Bronze and Silver awards in open countryside, forests and hill environments
  • Demonstrate the use of contours, to identify landforms  (e.g. hilltops, valleys, spurs, re-entrants and knolls) and utilise them as the prime method of navigation.  Demonstrate use of ridges and valleys as reliable handrails and the size and relationship of contour features, (e.g. a series of knolls) and use them for micro navigation to specific locations.
  • Demonstrate the use of distance judgement, compass skills and continuous contact (by frequent checking) in complicated areas.  This involves the use of both map to ground and ground to map techniques, the selection of appropriate techniques for each situation, and the integration of these into a navigation strategy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan a safe walk or route in open country in line with set criteria of duration, difficulty and objectives.  This must involve “Gold” skills and strategies and may be used by the candidate for practice prior to assessment if appropriate.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the special physical and navigation demands posed by hill and moorland terrain, poor weather conditions, daylight hours and the effects of fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route.  This includes awareness of the effects of heat and cold.
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