Hill walking requires a range of skills, and no matter how experienced you are there’s always something more to learn. Whether you’re looking to develop a career outdoors or just want to build your confidence, it can be satisfying and fun to improve your existing skills and develop new ones.
If you’re thinking of joining a training course, or you want to hone a particular skill, there are a variety of courses and providers across the country. This includes a series of professionally recognised qualifications from Mountain Training for group leaders in landscapes; from lowlands to moorland and mountains.
Beyond professional qualifications there are many reasons to undertake training. Perhaps you’re an individual with no intention of leading groups but want to gain a qualification simply to help build your own knowledge and confidence. Maybe you’re part of a club and you’d like to share your knowledge with less experienced members. BMC Club Member Training can help you support them whilst they gain experience, develop skills, and become competent walkers and mountaineers in their own right.
BMC members are also able to take advantage of subsidised rates for a range of hill walking skills courses. Training Essentials cover subjects like map reading and navigation, scrambling and learning to use an ice axe and crampons in winter conditions.
Do I Need A Qualification?
You don't need a qualification to go hill walking. One of the great freedoms that mountain users cherish is the ability to enjoy themselves without the presence of regulation. If you’re walking in a group and informally sharing your skills and knowledge, there’s no requirement for anyone to hold a qualification. If you want to be paid to coach or instruct others, you must demonstrate your competence, and holding a relevant qualification is often the easiest way for leaders to do that.
What Skills Training Is Available?
For those with many years hill walking experience, skills training is an opportunity to refresh or perfect those skills, and build confidence and experience to take your walking to the next level. If you’re relatively new to hill walking, taking a course or undertaking some training will help you get off on the right foot. Any skills are built with time and experience, but having a solid foundation of the basics and knowledge of best practice will stand you in good stead.
BMC Club Member Training
Are you a BMC club member wanting to learn new skills? The BMC organises a series of courses, lectures, workshops and training opportunities for BMC club members and club leaders. They cover subjects like club safety, how to train novice club members in summer and winter skills, and outdoor first aid. To bring the best value possible to BMC members, courses are subsidised by the BMC.
BMC Training Essentials
For BMC members, Training Essentials offers skills training courses at a reduced price. Delivered by trusted instructors handpicked by the BMC and the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, the courses can be tailored to individual and group aspirations. Covering navigation and scrambling, courses act as a springboard to set you up with the skills and confidence you need to take on your next great hike.
Find more information about the subjects covered by BMC Training Essentials courses.
Hill & Mountain Skills Training
If you’re just starting out, Mountain Training have developed two courses designed to equip those new to hill walking with basic knowledge and safety skills needed for hill and mountain walking.
Professional Qualifications with Mountain Training
Mountain Training’s aim is to educate and train people in walking, climbing and mountaineering. They have a range of nationally-recognised mountain leadership, instruction and coaching qualifications, as well as skills courses. From Lowland, to Hill and Moorland to Mountain Leader Qualification . Find out which qualification might be right for you, and what’s involved in gaining them.
Winter Skills Courses
Snow, ice and winter weather makes hill walking a tougher proposition compared to summer walking. Before heading out in winter you should feel confident in your hiking skills and be prepared for the increased challenges from more extreme weather. One of the most popular ways of doing this is to book in to a winter skills course at one of the UK’s mountain centres like Plas Y Brenin, Wales, or Glenmore Lodge, Scotland. They offer full board and accommodation to go with itineraries which cover crampon and ice axe use, avalanche awareness and much more.
Outdoor First Aid
You don’t need to be an experienced doctor or nurse to carry out some of the basic procedures which will hugely improve the chances of a very sick personbefore the emergency services can reach you. If you have never learned these skills, or were taught them many years ago, consider taking a course.
A quick word about insurance. Individual BMC members and members of BMC affiliated clubs are covered by the BMC Combined Liability insurance. This is designed for recreational walkers and climbers, who may sometimes share their knowledge with less experienced mountain users. If you’re coaching and instructing in exchange for payment, you will need professional indemnity insurance. If you’re paying for coaching or instruction, ensure that the person delivering it holds the appropriate insurance.