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National Navigation Award Scheme: From 2013 onwards


The National Navigation Award Scheme is a personal performance, non-competitive, incentive scheme for all ages. Zest for Adventure is a registered provider of training and assessment for the award at Bronze and Silver levels.


Scope of the Scheme


National Navigation Award Scheme registered providers offer training in skill development and assessment to participants. The scheme is not in itself a leadership qualification.It concerns personal performance, and is non-competitive. The various levels of the scheme let everyone gain experience, and demonstrate technical competence, in navigation in country areas ranging from local parks to more remote hill terrain.


All courses include route planning and instruction on good safety practice, including emergency procedures. In addition, courses include information about access legislation in England and Wales (CroW Act), access rights and responsibilities in Scotland (Land Reform Scotland Act 2003), and other issues pertinent to access for walkers in the countryside.All levels include an understanding of environmental issues and human impact on land.


National Navigation Award Scheme 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.


Stages in the Scheme


Normally participants begin with the Bronze Award and progress through the Silver and Gold Awards, with periods of further experience and consolidation between. For further information about the scheme, please visit:


The Levels of the Award


All courses include knowledge of safety and access issues when walking in the countryside, as well as an understanding of environmental issues and awareness of impact.


Bronze Award:Navigation in the countryside using paths, tracks and other linear features, basic map interpretation and compass work.This course has a minimum of 12 hours of training, including assessment over a distance of between 3 and 5 kilometres of suitable countryside.


Silver Award:Navigation in the countryside using the skills acquired at the Bronze level and adding the 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 navigation techniques to go cross-country, for example, choosing an appropriate attack point. This course has a minimum of 12 hours of training, including assessment over a distance of between 5 and 8 kilometres in terrain which allows for the demonstration of appropriate skills.


Gold Award:Navigation in the countryside using the skills of the first two awards, but adding techniques and skills for dealing with complex contour features on terrain with few man-made features. This award requires a high level of navigation skill.A minimum of 12 hours of training is required, plus an assessment, taken at a later date.The assessment covers a distance of between 6 and 10 kilometres and takes place in relatively wild terrain appropriate to the award.

Note: None of these awards are to be used as a leadership qualification of any kind.




The Bronze Award may be undertaken without previous navigation experience.


The Silver Award is designed to take those with Bronze Award skills to the next level, after an appropriate period of consolidation by personal experience.


The Gold Award requires candidates to be very familiar with the techniques required for navigating using contour features.Candidates would be expected to have navigated in difficult terrain on many occasions prior to assessment.



Candidates will be tested in accordance with the syllabus for the relevant award, and should be familiar with its requirements before putting themselves forward for assessment. Assessment may take any one, or a combination, of several formats, such as:


Working in small groups with an assessor

Navigating solo to designated checkpoints

Following a route planned by the candidate or the assessor


Whilst concentrating mainly on appropriate navigation techniques, all assessments will include:


Elements of route planning


Safety issues, and procedures in the event of an emergency

Basic first aid for individuals

Knowledge of appropriate equipment for walking

Knowledge of access and conservation issues as appropriate

Awareness of the impact on the environment by countryside users


All assessment routes may be completed at normal walking speeds as well as allowing for "thinking time" on route. However, to prevent time wasting, time limits will be set, which will vary according to terrain and the level of the award, as well as taking into account any special needs of candidates.


At assessment there are two possible results:


Pass: Awarded where the candidate has demonstrated a proper knowledge and application of the navigation skills required at the level being assessed, and is deemed competent to make journeys into the countryside unaccompanied.


Failed assessment: Training should be seen as an integral element of assessment.In the case of a fail, the assessor will explain what extra training or experience the candidate should undertake prior to reassessment.


Exemption from Training or Assessment


Only candidates with suitable personal experience, or those who believe they have attended equivalent training and assessment, may be considered for exemption from the Bronze and Silver levels. Applications for exemption should be sent direct to the course provider, who will make a decision based on the evidence offered.




If any candidate feels that they have been unfairly dealt with on a course, they should make contact with the course provider, explaining their concerns and seeking clarification. If this does not resolve the matter, the next step is to contact the Chair of the National Navigation Award Scheme through the National Navigation Award Scheme office. The Chair, with the National Navigation Award Scheme Committee, will try to resolve the issue.