Ulster Coast

Skip to

Book your experience
Available dates:

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

So you’ve found the delights of strolling through the countryside and are perhaps thinking you could do with acquiring skills to help navigate the umpteen trails and routes crisscrossing the rural landscape.

These, then folks, are the weekends for you as we’re taking small groups out for short daily walks (maximum six miles) in the company of an expert who will help you sharpen your navigation skills.

By the end of the weekend you’ll have gone from saying ‘where the heck are we?’ to: ‘this way’ armed with a map and compass.

For those who want to take it up a notch from beginner’s level we also run a mountain navigation course. For all our courses though, the aim is to learn while enjoying being part of a sociable group where it’s impossible to feel intimidated or daunted!


This course is run in the Lake District, Snowdonia, Peak District and North York Moors, please see locations and dates below:

Lake District

  • Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd September – Patterdale YHA, CA11 0NW
  • Friday 17th – Sunday 19th April 2020 – Derwentwater Hostel
  • Friday 24th – Sunday 26th July 2020 – Derwentwater Hostel


  • 15th – 17th November – Dol Peris, Llanberis, LL55 4HA

 North York Moors

  • 19th – 21st July – Dalby YHA, Lockton, Pickering YO18 7PY

Peak District

  • Friday 13th – Sunday 15th March 2020


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’ navigation tuition with a qualified instructor.
  • Food and accommodation in our cosy hostel where you can relax in the evenings in a sociable atmosphere with other peeps who are also relative navigation-newbies.
  • Learn new skills in a supportive group that will enable you to stride out with more confidence knowing you can read the landscape and the map!

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’.

Skip to



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.



In the morning 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 the day’s course depending on the weather and the location.

The day will be spent solving navigational puzzles, learning and picking up tips. Don’t be intimidated though as the emphasis is very much on making the experience one of learning while having fun rather than any of that unnecessary business of putting you on the spot and making you feel uncomfortable.

The activities will include looking at things like the gradient of a slope and see how the contour lines on the map show you how steep or level the path will be; using a compass and looking at other features on the map such as woodland, rivers and sheep folds to help find your way.

Once back at the hostel there’s plenty of time to freshen up and just chill out before we enjoy our evening meal.



Today’s navigational activities will depend on how much the group completed the day before, but needless to say there’ll be plenty of time to brush up your techniques, ask questions and enjoy walking a different route.

The day will end at approximately 4pm, where you’ll have a final de-brief over afternoon tea in a café before you head home.

Top tip number one: Remember to keep practising your navigational skills after the course as the best way to retain all that new-found knowledge is to continue using it. So get out there with friends or even on your tod for an easy stroll along a new route and soon it will all start to make sense! Have a look at some of our blogs on navigating for some more tips on getting out there!

Our Base:

Lake District

  • Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd September – Patterdale YHA, CA11 0NW
  • Friday 17th – Sunday 19th April 2020 – Derwentwater Hostel 
  • Friday 24th – Sunday 26th July 2020 – Derwentwater Hostel 


15th – 17th November – Dol Peris, Llanberis, LL55 4HA

Peak District

13th – 15th March 2020 – Castleton YHA, Losehill Hall, Hope Valley S33 8WB

North York Moors

19th – 21st July – Dalby YHA, Lockton, Pickering YO18 7PY

What’s Included:

2 nights hostel accommodation, please note bedding is supplied but you will need a towel

2 days of guided day walks – please note any excursions or other extra activities will incur an additional charge.

Welcome meal on the Friday plus Saturday night evening meal. Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and then a packed lunch for Saturday.

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.

  • The Basics:

    Age Limit:  You must be over 18 to attend this trip, there is no upper age limit.

    Dogs:  I am afraid dogs are not allowed on this trip, unless they are registered assistance dogs.

    Arrival Time:  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.

    Solo Travellers:  This trip is perfect for solo travellers and although couples and small groups of friends are always welcome the majority of people do attend on their own.

  • Dietary:

    Vegetarian or Vegan: 

    We will always supply a vegetarian or vegan meal, however due to the remote locations of our venues these must be booked at least 7 days in advance.


    Unfortunately, we are unable to cater for a wide variety of diets. Therefore, if you follow a particular diet and wish to know what we will be serving please contact the office the week before your trip. If you don’t feel the menu is suitable then you are of course welcome to bring your own meals.

    Allergies, Intolerances & Gluten Free.

    Please ensure you list any allergies and intolerances clearly during the booking process, with notice we are able to offer gluten free meals and can accommodate most allergies. However, please note that due to the shared nature of the kitchens we cannot eliminate the possibility of cross contamination. If you have any questions, then please contact the office.

    Halal or Kosher:

    We are unable to offer Halal or Kosher meals but will be happy to supply a vegetarian alternative, please ensure you request this when booking.

    Simply complete the dietary section during the booking process or if your dietary needs have changed email the office and we will update your records.

  • Ticket / room types:

    Ticket / room types:

    Shared Room: This is our standard ticket ideal for solo travellers, individuals and small groups of friends, we will place you in a suitable same sex room, sharing with others. This will vary on the venue and can be twin rooms up to dorm style rooms on our hostel-based trips.

    If you make one booking for a group of people, we will do our best to accommodate you all in one room. However, if you and your friends have made a series of separate bookings but wish to be together, simply email us with a group list.

    Private Rooms: Whenever possible we will always offer any single or twin / double rooms as available. Please note single rooms are very popular and sell out quickly. Private twin rooms will have two single beds / bunk and a double room will have a double bed.

    Early Bird: On some trips we offer discounted early bird tickets, these tickets are based in our standard shared rooms and include the same meals, walks etc as our standard tickets. You can view our full list of Early Bird Tickets here…

    Deposits: You can secure your place on this trip with a 50% deposit, the balance is due no less than 12 weeks before you travel. Failure to pay your balance on time could result in you losing your deposit and place on this trip. If the trip is within the next 12 weeks you will need to pay in full to secure your place.

  • Useful Links:

    Kit lists – You can view our kit lists here…

    For important information on what’s included with our standard trips, such as what food we supply, arrival times and answer to our most commonly asked questions please visit out our FAQ’s page

    Follow us on Facebookwww.facebook.com/pages/Large-Outdoors

    Join our members page and share stories, pictures and reviews here: www.facebook.com/groups/largeoutdoors


Get Directions
Various - please see details above.
Show me

What our members have to say...

  • My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocome
    Member Since 2018
  • “I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.
    Member Since 2016
  • Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!
    Member Since 2016
Back to top