Have you always done walks with guides but wished you could go off on your own? Do you want to try new places but are worried you’ll get lost?
Learn how to use a map and compass and the essentials of navigation so you can take yourself or lead others in the outdoors.
Every course is tailored to your specific needs, whether you want to pass a Mountain Leader assessment, plan a solo walking trip or take your family out safely for the day.
Let us know what you want to achieve and we'll make sure you get there.
Gain confidence to navigate solo
Test yourself with realistic scenarios outdoors which will prove that you can rely on your map, compass and yourself.
Learn to love maps
Understand map symbols, scale and the cartographer's choice of information so you know how to choose the right map for your purposes. Discover the wealth of information within maps that enables you to find historical sites and new places to explore.
Never feel lost again with natural navigation
Learn how to continually know where you are -- rather than having to pull out a map every few minutes. Like Sherlock Holmes, you will learn how to read the clues so you always know where you are on the map.
Sometimes a map is inaccurate or out of date. Learn how to piece together all the clues in the landscape so that you can confidently identify when the map is wrong and what to do about it.
When in wilder, remote locations, everybody gets lost to some extent and has to relocate themselves. Learn how to relocate yourself when you've gotten temporarily lost.
mountain rescue team member
I can’t talk of Malcolm highly enough. Three 1 to 1 sessions is all it took to take me from novice hill walker all the way to the standard required to pass a mountain rescue team 3 days assessment.
I didn’t even know how to use a compass when I first met Malcolm however his practical and expert way of teaching meant that it didn’t take long to get the hang of it. Malcolm’s knowledge and advice meant that I blended in with the team members able to share advice and knowledge in a way where most people assumed I had more experience.
Being able to navigate effectively in a white out tested this to the max. This was solely down to Malcolm and the time/effort he put into teaching me. I honestly can’t thank him enough.
Instructor Malcolm Handoll
Malcolm, co-founder of Five Senses, lives at Bamff Ecotourism Estate with his wife Rachel and son. He is a Mountain Leader and geographer. He has been teaching mountain navigation for 25 years and loves solving each person's specific challenges with navigation.
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What should I bring?
- Comfortable, warm layers of clothing that you don’t mind getting muddy or wet
- Packed lunch and water
- Face mask
- Notepad and pencil
- Personal medication
- Sunscreen and/or hat if needed
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper, plastic bag and sanitiser
- Optional: binoculars
If you don’t see the dates you want, please contact us for alternative dates.
We run special events for families, youth groups and provide bespoke training at the highest level in addition to the dates listed.
What about Covid?
We continue to practice social distancing and the wearing of face masks in close proximity. As all activities are outdoors, we should be able to be mask-free. Sanitiser and soap will be provided. Let us know if you have tested positive for Covid within 2 weeks prior to your course and we'll reschedule you.
What about toilets?
We will be in the outdoors, so there are no designated toilets unless an emergency.
What about food?
Bring good pack lunch and snacks.
What about ticks?
Ticks are present, however we select areas where we can largely avoid them. We are very aware of the seriousness of potential tick bites and choose locations accordingly.
How to get here
There is ample car and bike parking, whilst those wishing to use public transport can catch the 57 bus from Perth or Dundee to Alyth. Services are hourly and traverse scenic countryside.
From Alyth you can walk the delightful, wooded Den of Alyth (SSSI) for the 2 1/2 miles to Bamff of you can arrange to be collected at the bus stop.
On Google maps, we can be found by looking for ‘Bamff Ecotourism' near Alyth. Sometimes GPS has led people astray, so here are more precise directions:
From Edinburgh to Blairgowrie
Take the M90 over the Forth Bridge signposted for Perth. Leave the M90 after the Friarton Bridge over the Tay and follow the signs for Braemar (A93), through Bridgend , and then Blairgowrie.
From Glasgow to Blairgowrie
Take the A9 at the Broxden roundabout just west of Perth and stay on it until the turning for Luncarty. Go through Luncarty and Stanley the bear right for Blairgowrie, right again at T junction and left for Braemar/Blairgowrie at the junction with A 93.
From Blairgowrie to Alyth
Drive through Blairgowrie, going left at the traffic lights, cross the River Ericht, take the A926 out of Blairgowrie, signposted for ‘(Alyth)’ and Kirriemuir. Look out for the signs for Alyth shortly after New Alyth and turn left off the A926.
Drive straight through Alyth, leaving the Square to the right. The parish church is straight ahead. Cross the bridge over the Alyth Burn and swing left up the Bamff Road. Leave the church on your right.
From Alyth to Bamff
Follow the Bamff Road, signposted for Glenshee and Bridge of Cally for 2.5 miles.
After a sharp left hand bend, signed Glenshee, Bridge of Cally, (Glenisla is to the right) you will see the lodge at the end of the drive to Bamff . Turn off the road (to the right) and up the drive – about two thirds of a mile.
From the North
You may approach by the Tullymurdoch/Alyth road from the A93, or from the west from Bridge of Cally take the Drimmie Road. If you are approaching from Bridge of Cally go left at a sign for Bamff, then after Mains of Creuchies go right(for Alyth). You will see the Bamff farm road to your left after a few yards. Carry on for another half mile and take the next left, marked Bamff.
Perth to Blairgowrie is about 15 miles and Blairgowrie to Alyth is 5. Alyth to Bamff is 3.5 miles or so.
Will the course be cancelled if the weather is bad?
No, the course will run come rain or shine as that gives us a chance to learn in more realistic conditions. However if lightning is forecast, we will change locations.
Where to stay
We are based at Bamff Ecotourism Estate, which includes self-catering accommodation in cottages, yurts and off-grid cabins.
What if we're late?
Please allow plenty of time extra to get to the start point -- don't rely on Satnav to get you there on time! Due to the rural location and farm traffic, travel times can be longer than you would expect.
If you're not going to make it to the start of the course at least 15 minutes prior to start, please contact us so we can make any arrangements.
What is the minimum age?
Children are welcome accompanied by parents, and 16 and 17 year olds are welcome solo with written permission.