Navigation for Mountain Runners Course – Date TBC


A solid half-day course getting your head around the basics of maps and compasses, tailored specifically to the needs of mountain runners.

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Have you gotten horribly disorientated during a mountain race? Followed the wrong bloke off the summit? Want to be able to run freely through the mountains without getting lost? Then this navigation course is for you…

Location: Leitrim Lodge, Mourne Mountains

Time: 9.30am – 2.30pm.

This is a practical half-day course run in the Mourne Mountains. We’ll meet at the Leitrim Lodge picnic area at 9.30 am and be based entirely from there for all sessions. We’ll start the day on the picnic benches with some theory work for about 45 minutes. Once everyone is comfortable with the basics, we’ll head up on to the mountain for 3.5 hours to put into practice what we’ve learned. Typically, by the end of the course you’ll:

  • Understand maps and contours better.
  • Know how to orientate and thumb a map.
  • Understand how to use a compass, in particular take and follow a bearing.
  • Practice taking bearings on mountain terrain.
  • Improve how you read the terrain and know when something is going wrong.
  • Practice different route choices, and have an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of alternate routes.
  • Be more confident making and following a navigation plan.
  • Understand how you would relocate if lost.
  • Learn how to plot grid coordinates to help you reach race checkpoints.
  • See examples of maps prepared before races.

Of course, if there’s anything else you’d like to know about mountain navigation for runners, we’re more than happy to help out. For example, if there’s a navigational event or mountain race you’re nervous about, we can take you step-by-step through ways of planning and running it.

What to Bring Along

Please note that, given the current health issues, sharing of equipment will be kept to a bare minimum, so please come self-sufficient. Where equipment / resources need to be shared, they will be disinfected beforehand. We will provide hand sanitizer to ensure good hand hygiene from the outset of the course. At a minimum please bring with you:

  • Compass – make sure it doesn’t have a bubble!
  • Bring along your Fell Running Association (FRA) mountain running kit – whistle, waterproof coat with hood, waterproof trousers, hat and gloves in a bumbag are a minimum for the mountain section.
  • Clothing that will keep you warm and dry – there’ll be quite a bit of standing around looking at the terrain and maps so a couple of layers would be good.
  • Fell running shoes are fine. If you prefer mountain boots to keep your feet dry, specially during spring and autumn cold weather, that’s perfect too.
  • Note that we’ll be using the Harveys Mourne Mountains 1:25000 map, not the Ordinance Survey (OS) one. We will have ones that you can borrow on the day. If you want to purchase one, the laminated version is worth buying.

Also note that there’ll be no mad running during this course as the emphasis will be on reading maps and taking bearings correctly. Speed demons will be slowed down on this session!

There’ll be hot water for tea, coffee and hot chocolate available once we get off the mountain – please bring your own mug if you’d like a hot drink. If you want something more substantive while out on the hill (snacks/sandwiches/fruit), just bring it along for yourself.

If the date doesn’t suit, don’t worry… just get in contact and we can arrange to run the course on a day and time that suits you best!

Please note that, so that we can get everyone’s medical and emergency contact details, only one course place can be purchased at a time i.e. If you are buying two course places, you’ll have to make two separate payments. We apologise for the inconvenience but want to make sure we’re all safe and sound out there!


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