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Become an independent hillwalker with our beginners navigation course

Book your experience
Available dates:
  • Duration

    2 Nights
  • Accommodation

  • Food

    Some provided. Details below
  • Difficulty Level

    2 Two

Are you looking for the skills and confidence for navigation in the hills? Or perhaps you’re just interested in learning more about the map and compass and how you can read the terrain around you?

Our aim over this weekend is to get you from a total beginner to someone who is comfortable using the map and compass to navigate through countryside and easy hill terrain. We believe that the best way to do this is on a sociable weekend with a friendly group, where you can concentrate on learning while we look after the rest.

Based in the Lake District, you’ll be in a small group with a knowledgeable instructor who will take you through the techniques you need to get started. We’ll provide a map and compass for the course, and you’ll be part of a fully hosted weekend, with food and accommodation provided.

What we cover on the course:

  • Introduction to the map and compass
  • Locating features
  • Reading the landscape
  • Following a route
  • Where are you allowed to walk?
  • Planning a hill walk

The weekend in a nutshell:

  • Two days of navigation tuition in the beautiful hills of the Lake District, with a qualified instructor.
  • Food and accommodation in our cosy hostel, where you can relax in the evenings and review the skills you’ve been learning.
  • Explore the tranquillity of Lakeland, with plenty of time for café and pub visits.
  • Learn new skills in a supportive group, and develop your navigating ability at your own pace, to become an independent hillwalker.

This course is aimed for beginners. If you have navigation experience and already know how to use the compass and map, we do offer a more advanced navigation course – ‘Independent Mountain Walker’.

A weekend in the Lake District learning the dark art of navigation


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You’re welcome to arrive at the hostel at any time after 5pm, where you’ll be greeted by your Large Outdoors host and quickly settle into the charm of the place. Relax in the lounge with a hot drink or take a stroll down the lane to get some fresh air!

Those of you on the navigation course will be sharing the hostel with other Large Outdoors members who are on a normal walking weekend, but as a navigation group you’ll have a dedicated Leader, who will arrive the next day.

Dinner will be at 8pm, so please let us know if you plan to arrive after this time.


After a sit-down breakfast at 8am and time to make packed lunches, you’ll meet your navigation instructor and head out into the hills. Our instructors are very experienced, and will have thought about where to run that day’s course depending on the weather and the hostel. It’ll be somewhere close.

After a day of learning, exploring the Lake District, solving navigational puzzles and generally having a great time, you’ll return to the hostel. Dinner will be at the local pub at  7.30pm, but other than that the evening is yours to relax and relive the day’s lessons.



After breakfast it’s time to pack up and leave the hostel, and you’ll head out with your instructor for a second day in the hills.

What they cover on this second day depends on how much you got through the day before, but there’ll be plenty of time to brush up your techniques, complete your learning, and see a different part of the Lake District where the navigational challenges are new.

The day will end at approximately 4pm, where you’ll have a final debrief, grab a last tea in the café, and begin the journey home.

Remember to keep practising your navigational skills after the course, as the best way to keep knowledge is to continue using it. Have a look at some of our blogs on navigating for some tips on how to do this.

A weekend in the Lake District learning the dark art of navigation

Who will be looking after you...

Edale Skyline
Ed Docwra
Mountain Leader
Gareth Williams
Gareth Williams

Our Base:

Grasmere Independent Hostel, our 4 star hostel for the weekend (5 stars on Trip Adviser) has been exclusively hired for our use and is a beautiful building, just outside Grasmere and very close to a pub. There is a drying room, large lounge with great views, and did we mention the sauna…

They have received excellent reviews from Lonely Planet and The Guardian; and the inside has been completely refurbished to make it modern and comfortable while retaining its countryside character.


You are welcome to arrive any time from 5pm onwards and settle in before we serve an evening meal at about 8pm. Please let us know if you intend arriving after 10pm.

Food Provided:

For this weekend we provide the following meals: an evening welcome meal on Friday, breakfasts, and a packed lunch for Saturday and Sunday’s walk. On Saturday we head out to the local pub for dinner, which is not included in the price.

As well as meals, we also provide a variety of complimentary soft drinks and beverages – tea & coffee which includes herbal, fruit and decaffeinated options and fruit squashes.  We do not supply alcohol but you are welcome to bring your own.


This is offered on a single sex shared room basis. The venue also has a limited number of twin rooms. All bedding is provided but you will need to bring your own towel..

Venue Address:

Grasmere Hostel
LA22 9RU

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Grasmere Hostel
LA22 9RU
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What our members have to say...

  • I have been joining Large Outdoors on their outdoor adventures for many years now. I wasn’t always an active person and as a self-confessed city dweller I never thought I would appreciate so much of what is on offer when you leave the suburbs behind you. Large Outdoors has not only made me appreciate what natural beauty is on our door step, it has also given me the confidence to challenge myself and see things differently.
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    Shad Everett
    Member since 2009
  • Since my first Large Outdoors weekend I have rediscovered my love for the countryside, met so many great people and had a whole lot of fun. I've sailed around the Inner Hebrides on a luxurious yacht, climbed the 3 national peaks Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafel Pike, danced my socks off at the Halloween and New Year celebrations and fallen in love with the beautiful Isle of Skye. Every trip has been amazing fun and I have met so many lovely people and made friends for life. Cheers Large Outdoors!
    Testimonials from Karen Roberts
    Karen Roberts
    Member Since 2012
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from beginning to end. The host Kendra was very welcoming upon arrival at the youth hostel, all walkers and climbers were friendly and we got on great as a group. The home cooked food was amazing and the idea of 'kitchen angels' worked really well. The rock climbing instructor and his son were brilliant and helped us all, providing constant guidance and encouragement.
    Penny Grainger
    Member Since 2016
  • I love the concept of the Large Outdoors weekends and I like to have at least one or two booked for the future, to have something to look forward to. A weekend trip finds me visiting some fabulous parts of the country: Northumberland, Dorset, Brecon Beacons, Lake District, North York Moors... hills, mountains, moors and coast - all well covered by the amazing choice of locations to pick from, with decent (or lovely!) accommodation, great food and qualified walk leaders. They're also very good value.
    Sue Langford Testimonial
    Sue Langford
    Member since 2008
  • I have attended Large Outdoors weekends for the last two years , achieving many challenges in the British countryside. Every weekend has been very well organised, in beautiful locations, wonderful walks, nutritious food with lovely people.
    I have learned new skills and gained confidence in the outdoors from the mountain leaders. I thoroughly enjoy every weekend and always look forward to the next.
    Elizabeth Brooks
    Member Since 2014
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