Cog Icon signifying link to Admin page

Pentland Outdoor Navigation

One-Day Course 

Not confident in your navigation? Or maybe want to refresh your memory on a few techniques? In this course, we look at outdoor navigation using paths, tracks, and other linear features.  Basic map and compass work are also included. This is a good course for those with little or no navigational experience.  (This is not an accredited NNAS course)

  • Introduction to Maps
  • Setting the Map (with and without the compass)
  • Grid References
  • Pacing and Timing
  • Estimating Distance
  • Use of the Compass
  • Relocation Strategies

Minimum Group Size: One - Maximum Group Size Eight

Assumes: No previous knowledge

Cost: Course £100 pp payable in advance of the course start date.  The course will not be confirmed until paid for.  (If you would prefer a private course for yourself or with a group of friends, let me know when booking)  You can also purchase a voucher, which will be valid for 3 months from the date of purchase

Cancellation of course. If you (the participant) cancel the course before 24 hours of the course start, a cancellation fee of £55 pp will be deducted from the payment.  There will be no refund if you cancel within 24 hours of the course commencing.

If Pentland Outdoor cancels the course, you will get full payment of the returned monies.

Course content

  • Understanding maps - Scales, Rights of Way, Grid References
  • Developing a navigation strategy
  • Route planning – Using natural features, hazard avoidance
  • Follow a route – Using easily identifiable features
  • Measuring distances - Timing and Pacing
  • Using a compass - Map orientation
  • Contour interpretation – relate the shape of the ground to contours on the map

What I provide for the course:

  • Silva Expedition 4 Compass
  • OS Map of the course area
  • Waterproof map case

What you need to bring:

These non-residential courses are run outdoors so please come with appropriate clothing and a packed lunch.

Suggested list:

Boots • Gaiters • Day Sac (30 litres) • Thermals or suitable under clothing • Insulating layers – at least one mid-weight and one warm fleece layer • General trekking trousers are recommended, not jeans, though. • Spare fleece/insulated jacket • Waterproof jacket (with a good hood) • Waterproof over-trousers • Hat & balaclava plus spare • Mitts & gloves • Whistle • Maps and waterproof map case. 1:25,000 • Headtorch • Rucksack liner • Flask & Water Bottle • Packed lunch • Survival Bag – Plastic-type • Small notebook and pen or pencil • Walking Poles

For further information regarding course bookings, please get in touch using the email below:



Participant Reviews

Clare   20th Feb 2022

I signed up for the Introduction to Navigation course, not really understanding how to read a map or use a compass. The course was fantastic. Not only did Robert cover navigation, the tools to use, and how best to use them, but he also covered vital safety points to live by while out in the hills. I can highly recommend the day for all levels, Robert puts you at ease and makes the day good fun.

Claire   29th  Oct 2022

My friend Alan and I had a fantastic day learning about navigation with Robert. I had no knowledge whatsoever about map reading or ways to use a compass but Robert helped me to learn and become more comfortable throughout the course. He was very knowledgeable, encouraging, and patient. We also both appreciated his world of knowledge on mountain safety, his humour, and hearing about his life experience. If you want to learn more about navigation in a relaxed and friendly environment then Robert is your go-to person!"

Andrew   25th Feb 2023

Both my brother and I have, over the last year, been climbing the Munros when we can; however, I've been conscious that too much reliance on technology and lack of basic map reading skills does not best prepare us for days out on the hills.

We spent a day completing the basic map reading course in the Pentland Hills which was highly informative and definitely recommended to others. In addition to using the map and compass Robert talked through potential situations, things to consider and kit to carry. Thanks to Robert for his patience and knowledge - we now have more confidence and can build on the learning with practice."

Linda & Lou  07 Mar 2023

As someone who loves hillwalking, I thought it was time to learn some basic navigational skills instead of always relying on others. Myself and a friend signed up for Robert's one-day beginner’s course in the Pentlands. From the outset, Robert was super friendly and a great communicator. Over the course of the day, he showed us how to plan and follow a route on a map, how to check for landmarks along the way, how to work out distances and how to set and use a compass. He covered safety in the hills and added interesting wee facts about the Pentlands. We look forward to using our newfound knowledge on our next trek adventure. Thank you, Robert.'

Carol & Janet  29 Apr 2023

Robert is a great instructor. As a beginner taking a course, he made understanding basic navigation skills simple with straightforward explanations and had lots of patience with the bits I struggled with. Would definitely recommend it and might be back for more advanced skills once I've had some practice.

Jan  02 Aug 2023

I found Robert’s course really useful, learning about the compass, map reading, pacing and grid references. Throughout he was patient and encouraging and just good fun to spend the time with. I appreciated him taking the time afterwards to send me more information to help with my navigation skills learning. I’ll definitely book in to one of his other courses.



Susie  21st Oct 2022

I had always just let others on walks do the map reading and tell me where I was and where we were going next, and I followed with no thought to the route.

I had absolutely no knowledge of route planning, zero experience with a compass, a fear of mathsy/technical things, and zero confidence.

I wanted to become fully competent and aware of route planning myself.

I spent a lovely October day in the Pentlands with Robert (9 am - 4 pm). He had a very well-worked-out programme to introduce me to each of the concepts one by one. He explained things in a very nice, simple, easy-to-understand way and gradually built everything up through the day. He set a good number of tests so I could realise that I was understanding everything and actually getting it.

All-in-all, I am delighted I had training with Robert and excited to use my new awareness and confidence in my newfound confidence and competence.

Fantastic, thank you, Robert.


Sheila  22nd Jan 2023

Robert is extremely knowledgeable, incredibly friendly, and eager to ensure you understand the fundamentals of navigation, map reading skills, and mountain safety. 

I had zero knowledge of navigation skills before having a full-day course with Robert in the Pentland Hills. By the end of the day, I had definitely learned many of the basics, including how to use a compass to do magnetic bearings, and I also improved my mountain safety skills. 

Robert offers courses of various lengths suitable for individuals with zero prior knowledge and those who wish to improve further and develop their current skills. 

I highly recommend Robert as a tutor; he is an easygoing, approachable, experienced, and highly professional guide. I hope to further improve my skills in one of his other courses.


Aimmee  08 Jun 2023

I had a really great day on the hills with Robert, learning the basics of navigation.  He made everything so easy to understand and was really easygoing and funny.  I came away with a solid understanding of the basics of navigation such as using a compass, taking magnetic and grid bearings, how to orient the map and general great tips for staying safe on the hills.  Robert's wealth of experience and knowledge and his fun and engaging personality make his courses unique.  I'm really looking forward to continuing to his future courses.

Anne  06 Mar  2024

"I had an absolutely fantastic day with Robert. I was conscious there were a lot of map and compass skills I didn’t have and we covered them all as well as lots of other information around safety, kit packing etc. Robert’s really patient and happy to answer questions as well as just give the time to practice and work out how to put the learning into practice! Plenty of life saving skills learnt in a relaxed environment, with lots of laughs. 10/10 recommend! I look forward to the next course ."