The adventure specialists


Learn the skills you need to navigate confidently, effectively and efficiently in a wide range of environments

Being able to read a map and navigate effectively in the outdoors are hugely important skills that should be possessed by anyone venturing onto the hills, moors and mountains of the Yorkshire Dales and elsewhere, both in the UK and abroad.

What can be a relatively straightforward walk in good weather can quickly become more hazardous in deteriorating weather or failing light as paths and other hill features become difficult to see. But interpreting and understanding maps and being able to orientate yourself also form key skills for everyday life too, whether you are an avid hill walker, or you work in the city!

Navigation can be really fun too, whether it’s the simple satisfaction of finding and linking all the paths together on your walk, or successfully finding features of interest (scenic and historical) or taking part in an orienteering event or mountain marathon! Steph and Mike are keen and experienced ultra-distance runners having completed such challenges as the 108 mile Spine Challenger and the 61 mile Fellsman. Paul, our third director, partnered with his son have also won their class at one of the major UK mountain marathons. It is this wealth of knowledge gained through our own experiences which we, and our similarly experienced instructors, wish to pass on in our courses.

Yorkshire Dales Guides offer bespoke navigation courses from beginner to advanced, tailored to the individuals or groups' exact requirements. You may be a complete novice who wants to get familiar with a map and compass for the first time, a regular park-run competitor who wishes to take their running to the hills, or an experienced hill walker who wants to be more confident in micro-navigation ahead of a solo backpacking adventure in Scotland.

Whatever the reason, we’re here to help you along!


Choose your experience:


Learn the basic skills to help you navigate with more confidence in the hills!

Advanced navigation

Take your navigation skills to the next level by learning more advanced techniques and get 'off the beaten track'

Orienteering in the Yorkshire Dales

An exciting blend of navigation and competition, and a brilliant way to improve your nav!

Learn the skills you need to help you navigate with more confidence in the hills! Our introduction to navigation courses focus on getting you up to speed with basic map and compass work. An intensive but fun day of learning, we will aim to tackle a range of topics covering:

- the different maps available, map scales and map keys
- orienting yourself using the map, by recognising features and landforms   on the ground
- taking a grid reference to determine your location
- simple navigation using the map, by 'ticking off' features and using linear   features (e.g. paths and walls) also known as 'handrails'
- the compass, taking bearings and using it to orient the map as well as   work out your direction of travel
- using the map and compass to estimate distances
- introduction to pacing and timing as a means to help you navigate quickly   and effectively
- route planning from start to finish

Our intro to navigation courses can be run as a 1-day, or 2-day course if you would like more time to put your skills into practice and take things at a slower pace.

Simply get in touch to discuss your requirements and we will be delighted to put together a bespoke course to suit your wishes and abilities. Also consider getting a group of friends of equal ability together to share the cost of a course. Alternatively, check out our calendar on the home page for details of upcoming courses!

Getting to grips with the map and compass on one of our 1-day courses
Approaching the summit of Pen-y-ghent
Getting to grips with the map and compass on one of our 1-day courses
Wonderful views to Ingleborough from Scales Moor
Exploring the 'Norber Erratics' above Austwick 
What is fairly straightforward in good visibility becomes tricky in the mist!
Wild winter conditions in the Yorkshire Dales

Our advanced navigation courses are all about taking your navigation to the next level, equipping you with the skills to tackle more challenging routes requiring more precise map and compass work and techniques. We will be getting off the paths, and focusing on 'micro-navigation' and really getting to grips with the smaller features and in particular the 'contours' on the map! Mastering new skills will allow you to navigate more complex terrain, or for example, less complex pathless terrain which can be equally, if not more, challenging in thick mist or the cover of darkness.

Simply get in touch to discuss your requirements and we will be delighted to put together a bespoke course to suit your wishes and abilities. Unlike the 'intro to navigation' courses, we only run bespoke advanced courses, tailored to your own wishes and abilities, but consider getting a group of friends of equal ability together to share the cost of a course.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Orienteering is a wonderful sport in so many ways, and is a perfect way to develop your map and compass skills for both the individual and the competent navigator. The aim is to navigate between a series of pre-defined ‘control’ points on a map as quickly as you can, using a map and compass, and of course, your legs!

Courses vary in difficulty, with the easiest courses covering shorter distances with easy to find control points (e.g. large track junctions), and harder courses covering larger distances with difficult to find control points (e.g. hidden features), requiring route planning, use of bearings and pacing to find the control points.

The course may involve visiting the control points in numerical order, or, it may be a ‘score’ course, in which the individual has to visit as many control points as possible within a given time frame. The control points will be given different point values, depending on where they are. So, a control point located at a great distance from the start point, or in a difficult location to find, will be given higher value than a control point located near the start at an obvious and easy to find location. The added excitement to score courses is that points are deducted every minute the competitor runs over the allotted time.

Orienteering events occur all over the UK and are brilliant and great fun to take part in, pitting oneself against other likeminded folk.

Check out for more info.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, orienteering can be undertaken as a sole or group activity, using apps such as ‘maprun’. In this case, a course is chosen, downloaded and printed out, and once started your mobile phones GPS is used to log control points as you find them. When you reach the finish, the app stops recording and uploads and displays the results on the maprun server, so you can see how you did compared to everyone else who has completed the course. Whether you are a beginner navigator who wants some practice, or a seasoned orienteer who fancies competing themselves against others, this is a great facility for developing and practicing your navigation.

At Yorkshire Dales Guides, we have developed a number of these courses located in the Yorkshire Dales for use in our own navigation courses, as well as for fun group events. So, if you are a group wanting an exciting and energetic day out (with a bit of healthy competition thrown in), why not give it a try. Courses range from easy to difficult, and all materials are provided (specially printed map, compass). All you need to bring is your phone with the ‘maprun’ software installed, appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear (don’t worry, we’ll provide a list), a sense of adventure and we’ll sort the rest.

Getting to grips with the map and compass
A mad dash to the next control point :-)
Exploring the 'Norber Erratics' above Austwick
Getting to grips with the map and compass
Good visibility allows for an easy descent from Pen-y-ghent

Creating unforgettable experiences for over 28 years

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4.9 out of 5 based on 30+ reviews
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