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Navigation for runners

Navigation is an essential skill for anyone heading away from the security of roads and parks. It’s the fundamental skill needed to break the barrier that limits us to familiar trails and opens up a world of exploring new possibilities.
As runners, we want to navigate differently to hill-walkers. We can show you simple techniques that keep your navigation fast and fluid, keeping you on track without having to stop. We’ll also - importantly - make sure you know what to do if you get lost! 

"I feel like I learned a lot without it ever feeling laborious or unachievable. I definitely feel a lot more confident about being able to navigate.” - Kirsty

What we’ll cover

We’ll start with fundamental good habits of map setting and direction finding and use these to help us to navigate around a variety of trails. As we go, we'll add to this by recognising different features on both the ground and map, along with ways to measure distance as we go.
Compass skills start simple, to check the direction of our trails and help us to find where we are. This builds to using a compass to go cross-country, away from the trail.
We’ll look at route planning skills and resources, so when we set off running, we know how far it is, how much climbing is involved, and how long it’s likely to take us.


Based at Bonaly in the Pentland Hills, Edinburgh, we have a huge variety of trails and locations that we can use for our training. This course includes two days of instruction and does not include accommodation or meals, allowing you the flexibility to choose your own.



2024 Dates  

Date Price Spaces Booking Your Coach
23 March £90 Places available Book now Ian
26 October £90 Places available Book now Ian

This course is ideally paired with our Strength and Mobility for runners course the day after to make a perfect weekend in the mountains. Book onto both days and receive a 10% discount off both days. The discount will be applied automatically to the second course you book.  

If these dates don't work for you please get in touch to arrange a bespoke course.

"I feel like I learned a lot without it ever feeling laborious or unachievable.  I definitely feel a lot more confident about being able to navigate" Kirsty 

Experience and fitness

The day will be a mix of a number of short runs, active workshops and some indoor sessions, so a basic level of running fitness is all you need to make the most of the weekend. If you can run 5k without stopping you should be fine. We are likely to cover around 8km in the afternoon, walking the hills.

No previous navigation experience is necessary.

Kit you will need

Please refer to our guidance on Essential kit for trail running safely.


The workshops will be a mix of indoor and outdoor sessions.

For the trails


Waterproof jacket (with taped or welded seams and a hood)

We recommend:

Montane Spine Waterproof Jacket (for men)
Montane Spine Waterproof Jacket (for women)

Waterproof trousers (with taped or welded seams)

We recommend:

Montane Minimus Waterproof Pants (for men)
Montane Minimus Waterproof Pants (for women)

Running vest

We recommend:

Montane Gecko VP 5+ (unisex)

Spare* synthetic insulated upper layer

*We recommend carrying approximately 300g of synthetically insulated upper layers.

We recommend:
Montane Men's Fireball Lite 360g
Montane Women's Fireball Lite 320g

Hat and gloves suitable for the weather conditions
For cold conditions, we recommend:

Montane Prism Mitt
Montane Via Stretch Beanie

For mild/warm conditions, we recommend: 

Montane VIA Trail Gloves

Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra Waterproof Cap (unisex)


We recommend:

Black Diamond SPOT 400-R  

Survival bag 

We recommend:

Lifesystems Light And Dry Thermal Bivi Bag

Trail running shoes - Bring what you have and we can discuss options. Get in touch if you want more advice before the course.

Clean trainers for indoors



Compass if you have one

Maps will be provided

Getting here & accommodation

Aviemore courses

We will meet at the Aviemore Tennis club in the morning and head out onto the trails from there. If we can all arrive in time to start at 9am please. The course will finish around 5pm.

From the roundabout at the south end of Aviemore take the road towards the ski area and Glenmore. The Tennis club is the first building on the right after 0.7 miles. The is plenty of parking on site. 


Wigwam accommodation is available at Badaguish at a discount of 15%. Just make a booking through their website and use the code TRS23BADA

We also recommend Hostelling Scotland hostels in Aviemore or Glenmore where you can get a 10% discount by using the code TRAILRUN


Alternatively Aviemore has a wide variety of accommodation options


Pentland hills courses

We are based at the Bonaly Outdoor Centre just off the Edinburgh bypass

Directions are here


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