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Becoming A Mountain Leader

1 Whether you have been hiking for years or have only just started out enjoying the hills in the UK you will have no doubt bumped into some Mountain Leaders (ML) on your trails. You breathe in the mountain air, see the stunning views and have a brilliant day rain or shine with family and friends, then that's when it hits you, becoming a Mountain Leader seems to be a great career choice. What is becoming a ML all about? In a nut shell the Mountain Leader scheme is designed for people who want to lead other people or groups into the mountains, moorlands and hills in the UK and Ireland. The great thing about becoming an ML is that it operates all over the UK and you can lead all types of people and groups; from scouts, school children, other outdoor instructors or individuals who want to boost their confidence  on the hills and mountains. 3 Now before you go off signing up for the Mountain Leader Scheme you really need to think about whether it really is for you or not. The Mountain Leader Scheme does have some prerequisites which are as follows:
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You should have at least a year's worth of hill walking experience
  • You should have a great interest in leading groups into the hills
  So you have ticked off the above boxes, whats next? You will need to head over to the Mountain Training website and sign up. Signing up is free and it will allow you to see all the courses that the Mountain Training have to offer and who is running them. The next step you will need to take is to register for the Mountain Leader Scheme (which costs around £39.00), you will also need to become a member of one of the following: the Mountain Training Association (which costs around £32.00), The Mountaineering Council Of Scotland (which costs around £29.00), British Mountain Council (which costs around £32.00) and finally Mountaineering Ireland. Before you just go for the cheapest membership, see what each membership offers in the ways of support and discounts (because we all love a good discount). 5 Once you have registered with the ML Scheme it's time for training. The first thing you will need to do is record at least 20 quality mountain days on the MTA DLOG (digital log book). The good thing about the DLOG is that you can start using it before you register for the award but it still counts towards the Mountain Leader Scheme. So with 20+ quality mountain days under your belt and all on the DLOG it's time to find a course that is right for you! You can't  just jump onto an ML assessment you will need to go on an ML training course first, what this course does is teach you how to lead a group on the hills of the UK. This training course covers everything that will be in the assessment but as we said earlier it's about teaching you the ML way. Here is the course syllabus:
  • Group Management
  • Navigation
  • Access and the environment
  • Hazards and emergency procedures
  • Equipment
  • Expedition skills
  • Weather
  • Background Knowledge
  4 The time from doing your training to your assessment can vary from person to person depending their strengths and weaknesses, but don't worry there isn't a time limit. It's all about getting out there, building your confidence on the hills and mountains of the UK, and feeling comfortable leading people. Before you book yourself on the ML assessment course you will need to tick a couple more boxes:
  • You must be familiar with the syllabus
  • You must have logged 40+ quality mountain days in three different regions of the UK on your DLOG
  • You must hold a current first aid certificate (minimum 16 hours and relevant to your work as a mountain leader)
  • You must have logged at least 8 night of camping which includes 4 nights of wild camping.
  If you have ticked those boxes then book yourself on the ML assessment course, you need to make sure that the person who runs your training and assessment has been approved by the MTA and don't be afraid to shop around find the perfect course which fits in with you. For any more information about the Mountain Leader course, what books you may need and for more in depth information go to the Mountain Training Skills & Awards website.