Gold NNAS Award Assessment

On completion of this award, participants will be able to plan and follow routes in any open countryside, forest, or hill environment.

Syllabus – The learning outcomes:

  • Show confidence in the use of the skills detailed for the Bronze and Silver awards in open countryside, forests and hill environments
  • Demonstrate the use of contours, to identify landforms (e.g. hilltops, valleys, spurs, re-entrants and knolls) and utilise them as the prime method of navigation. Demonstrate use of ridges and valleys as reliable handrails and the size and relationship of contour features, (e.g. a series of knolls) and use them for micro navigation to specific locations.
  • Demonstrate the use of distance judgement, compass skills and continuous contact (by frequent checking) in complicated areas. This involves the use of both map to ground and ground to map techniques, the selection of appropriate techniques for each situation, and the integration of these into a navigation strategy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan a safe walk or route in open country in line with set criteria of duration, difficulty and objectives. This must involve “Gold” skills and strategies and may be used by the candidate for practice prior to assessment if appropriate.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the special physical and navigation demands posed by hill and moorland terrain, poor weather conditions, daylight hours and the effects of fatigue and discomfort on decision making and execution of a selected route. This includes awareness of the effects of heat and cold.

Guidance Notes - Gold Assessment

In addition to an oral or written examination, the candidate will be assessed on a practical exercise in which the candidate follows a route in terrain with complex contour features.

  • The practical assessment duration will be a maximum of 6 hours with a maximum ratio of 1:4.
  • Candidates will demonstrate the ability to plan a safe walk with flexible options and know how to re-plan en-route.
  • The assessor will judge whether the routes taken by candidates are the most effective taking into account height gain and loss as well as underfoot physical demands, whether the candidate uses navigation strategies with confidence and skill and how well their level of concentration is adjusted to the difficulty of navigation.
  • The assessor will make judgements regarding route awareness, checking progress against time, assessing the route ahead and flexibility in changing the route as circumstances such as weather, terrain, time, daylight, ability / fitness, etc dictate.
  • Where inclement weather or testing conditions have not been encountered during the practical assessment, candidates should be questioned to judge their awareness of safety and physical factors involved in remote navigation with special attention to clothing, equipment, basic first aid, flexible decision making, escape route, shortening a route, emergency procedures etc.
  • The length of the practical assessment will depend on the type of map and terrain, but candidates at this level are expected to be appropriately fit to cope with the demands of the terrain and duration of the day. The distance will normally be between 6 - 10 km in suitable forest, fell or moorland that has no major terrain hazards en route.