NNAS Bronze & Silver Awards

Description: Two-day navigation courses in the Alps
Suitable for: Complete beginners (Bronze Award) as well as those with intermediate level navigation skills (Silver Award).
1st-2nd July 2024 – Bronze, Chamonix Available
4th-5th July 2024 – Silver, Chamonix Available
1st-5th July 2024 – Extended Navigation Course Available
More dates available on request
Course Length: 2 days
Group Size: Max 6 per group
Cost: €160p.p. (course only), or €360 for the extended course.
Trip Grading:
Physical two marmotsTechnical two marmots

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See the NNAS Awards gallery for more photos of our our navigation courses in the Alps.


The National Navigation Awards Scheme (NNAS) is a personal performance scheme for all ages to learn navigation skills. The Bronze Award is aimed at people with no navigational experience, while the Silver Award builds on the Bronze level, and adds the skills required to navigate some distance from paths and tracks. White Marmotte offers both Bronze and Silver navigation courses in the Alps.

Both courses are two full days in length, and cover the entire syllabus as set out by NNAS. Assessment takes place at the end of day two. Certificates will be posted out as soon as possible after the course. Both courses will also cover skills relevant to trekking in the Alps. Our Extended Navigation Course runs from Monday-Friday, combining both NNAS courses with a day-hike in between.

In addition, our two-day NNAS courses count as external CPD for BASI.

All bookings on these courses are subject to our standard terms and conditions.

Course content – Bronze

The full syllabus is available on the NNAS website, but expect to cover:

  • Understanding a variety of maps and scales, and relating prominent landforms to contour information. 
  • Learn to identify linear features, point features, major landforms etc., how to orient the map according to these features, and use them to confirm position along the route.
  • Introductory compass use
  • Measure horizontal distances on the map and estimate distances on the ground using timing, pacing and simple visual judgements.
  • Plan and implement simple routes and navigational strategies
  • Learn to quickly recognise navigational errors, and apply simple relocation techniques
  • Become familiar with the Countryside Code, access legislation, safety equipment and emergency procedure.
Course content – Silver

The Silver Course builds on the skills of the Bronze level, and covers topics in more detail. For the full syllabus see the NNAS website:

  • Using landforms and point features to orient the map, and navigate using hills, ridges, spurs and valleys. 
  • Extensive compass use, including deviating from a compass bearing and accurately regaining the original line.
  • Maintaining route finding accuracy in poor visibility, and recognising and rectifying navigational errors quickly.
  • Planning and implementing more complex routes, taking into account personal fitness, terrain and accurate timings.
  • Understand safety considerations including selecting the appropriate equipment and clothing, the effects of fatigue and physical discomfort, and extreme weather.
  • Legislative and environmental considerations of walkers in the countryside, including the responsibility of walkers to other countryside interests.
    Hikers with maps in front of Mont Blanc
Additional Course Content

Beyond the NNAS syllabus, both navigation courses cover specific skills relevant to trekking in the Alps. We will cover the differences in mapping and legislation, European footpath markings and gradings, alpine trekking hazards and alpine weather considerations.

Extended Navigation Course

Our extended navigation week combines the NNAS Bronze and Silver courses with a day’s guided hiking in the Chamonix valley for a five-day course. The extra day gives a chance to practise your new skills with your instructor before continuing onto the Silver course. For this day we will typically choose one of the classic hikes in the valley such as the Grand Balcon Nord with its superb views of the Mer de Glace.
Three people taking a pause during one of our navigation courses in the Alps

Practical Information

What is included: The cost of the course will be €160 per person for the course only. This includes two days of instruction and guiding in the Chamonix valley with a qualified International Mountain Leader who also holds the NNAS Tutor Award. The price also covers NNAS course and registration fees and a digital certificate for successful candidates. The extended navigation course includes five days of guiding plus instruction and fees for both NNAS courses.

Additional Costs: Acommodation (see below), food and transport costs are not included. You will also need appropriate insurance covering hiking in the Alps. We may use ski lifts to access suitable terrain more easily, which you will need to pay for. This won’t be  more than €20 per person maximum for a two-day course.

Where do we meet? Our Chamonix valley courses are based around the village of Argentiere, a ten minute drive or a short bus ride from Chamonix centre. This location gives us easy access to the terrain we need for both the Bronze and Silver courses, has good transport links to Chamonix, and has plenty of accommodation. We normally meet at the Al’Pain bakery on the first morning for some introductory excercises over a coffee, but we’ll confirm this before the course.

Who is the course aimed at? The courses are aimed at both complete beginners (Bronze) as well as those with intermediate navigation skills (Silver). If you are not sure which would be most appropriate, please get in touch!

What do I need to bring? This post gives you a more complete list. In short, you’ll need an IGN 1:25 000 map, compass, pen and paper, plus kit for a one-day hike. We will also ask you to print some maps on A4 paper ahead of the course.

Do I need to have done the Bronze level before I can do the Silver Award? No, there is no requirement to take the Bronze level first. If you feel you already have the skills for this level, you are free to go straight to the Silver course.

Do I have to take the assessment? No! If you don’t want to take the assessment, you can simply come on the course. We can’t provide certificates to anyone who hasn’t taken the assessment, but the assessment is optional!

Is there a minimum number before a course is confirmed? We normally need a minimum of three people to run this course in order to ensure we cover our costs, but we may occasionally run with fewer people.

Accommodation: There are several good quality hotels and apartments in Argentiere, however, if you are having trouble finding something suitable, please get in touch. Click here for accommodation recommendations in all our course venues.

Getting to Chamonix/Argentiere: From Geneva airport there are numerous bus services and transfer companies offering scheduled buses to Chamonix bus station or door-to-door transfers. We highly recommend Mountain Drop-offs as we work with them on a regular basis. If you are travelling from elsewhere in France, there are SNCF train stations in both Chamonix and Argentiere and the town is served by Flixbus and BlaBlaBus.

If you are having difficulty organising transport please get in touch!Three navigators on a cloudy day in the mountains


For further information, please contact us at bookings@whitemarmotte.com or click the button to book online.

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