I want to be a Mountain Leader

I am asked quite often how to become qualified to take groups out on the hills. Sometimes people just want to confirm a higher level of personal skill.
OK, ML. Actually ML (summer). The main website for Mountain Training is here: http://www.mountain-training.org/walking/skills-and-awards/mountain-leader
In summary, you think about what kind of work you want to do and what qualification is necessary. MLs is widely respected and pretty much covers everything in the hills in GB except rock climbing and winter mountains. Obviously though not canoeing, mountain biking and the like.
You can do other, lesser, hill skills qualifications but no cheaper and not worth missing out on the full deal.
You need to have experience in at least three major UK mountain areas. These would be The Lakes, Scotland and Wales although The Peak, Dartmoor and Northern Ireland count as well.
You register on the scheme with Mountain Training and fill in a log book. This would show your experience in mountains going back as long as you can remember. The minimum number of Quality Mountain Days (QMDs) to attend a training course would be 20.

The syllabus broadly covers:
Group Leadership.
Navigation (in all weathers and night)
Wild camping
Steep ground work (including simple rope techniques – no slings or krabs)
Equipment knowledge
Environmental knowledge
Mountain background knowledge.
Access rights and good practice.
There is a Mountain Leader handbook
A training course should cover 6 days. Andy Brown MIC does week courses or split weekend courses (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) two weeks apart which works well for a lot of folk. E.G. http://www.adventures.org.uk/-split-weekend-ml-training-course-30th-september-1-2nd-october-and-14-16th-october-2016/p510279
After training you consolidate – work on any areas that you need to and get your QMDs up to 40 which you will probably have already. E.G. http://www.adventures.org.uk/-split-weekend-assessment-course-9-11th-and-23-25th-september-2016/p505694
We try to make our candidates produce a high level of skill – not just sufficient to pass – so we pack a lot in.
You need to be mountain fit. (I suggest no pies and beer on the morning of assessment)
You will need a valid two day first aid ticket also, probably an Outdoor First Aid. Never a bad idea anyway. I do mine with Lakes First Aid http://lakesfirstaid.co.uk/outdoor-first-aid/
It is possible to get exemption from training if you have extensive experience and a high level of skill. In practice this can be a risky route unless you maybe do a one day pre-assessment course. If you can “learn the dance”before hand it makes assessment a lot easier.
Here are some more Facebook links which are useful.
That lot should get you started.
If you need to know more please get in touch: philtinning@hotmail.co.uk

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