Learn Training Mountain Training Mountain Leader qualification

Mountain Training Mountain Leader qualification


This article takes a more detailed look at the Mountain Leader qualification, so you can decide whether it’s the right qualification for you.

Who is it for?

The Mountain Leader Qualification(ML) provides training and assessment in the skills required to lead summer walking parties in the hills, mountains and moorlands of Britain and Ireland. Mountain Leaders operate across the UK with all sorts of groups of people; from Scouts and schoolchildren to outdoor instructors and OAPs. The qualification is what you make it and there are countless opportunities for Mountain Leaders. It does not cover walking in winter - for that see the Winter Mountain Leader.

What does it cover?

It is the combination of technical skills, personal experience and leadership qualities which form the basis for effective group leadership. The Mountain Leader scheme assesses all these aspects and the course handbook lays out the qualification in more detail.

Whilst fostering a love of the hills in their groups, leaders should also make them aware of the nature of rural communities, the needs of other hill users, and the fragility of many upland habitats. Consideration of these aspects is vital if the mountain environment is to be protected.

How does it work?

To get started on the Mountain Leader qualification you need to be at least 18 years old and have at least a year’s worth of experience of mountain walking. Candidates need to log at least 20 ‘quality mountain days’ prior to assessment. Build your personal experience, do a training course, consolidate your learning, go for assessment and then continuing developing as a Mountain Leader.

FIND A COURSE: Mountain Training website

CASE STUDY: Steve and Chris Wheatcroft, father and son Mountain Leaders

Father and son Steve and Chris Wheatcroft qualified as Mountain Leaders, doing the training and passing the assessment together, becoming the first father and son team to do so.

Steve, "I've been used to being out in Scotland, North Wales and the Lakes from a very early age as my mum (Joy) had a huge appreciation for the aesthetic in nature. We always used to go to those sorts of places when I was young but my family were not mountain walkers, so I I started doing some climbs on my own and loved it. I became passionate about the outdoor environment so I’ve really spent the best part of 40 years being out and about in the mountains."

"Mountain walking was a regular family activity as the children were growing up, Chris would still be full of energy each evening. I thought, I've done an awful lot but I'm not formally accredited, so if at some point I want to develop this further, I need to formalise things. It was partly me looking forward to retiring from my current profession at some stage and thinking, what am I going to do next? I see this as a key component in the next phase of life and for however long I'm physically fit enough to lead others in different environments."

Chris, "I’ve been walking since a very early age. It has always been a significant part of my life. I think dad mentioned [the training] first, I was back from New Zealand for a month just before COVID. He’d been thinking about it for a while and at that stage I knew I was coming back to the UK but didn’t really know what work would look like so I decided it would be a good thing to do. We decided to go for it together at that stage and haven’t looked back.

I'm very busy being a doctor again now. The idea would be to try and go part time with medical work eventually and be able to fill in Mountain Leader work around that part time schedule, but in the interim I’d be keen to do some weekend work. Even if it’s not paid work it will be rewarding just getting people out into the environment, and you never know what you’re going to spark with people. It can just be that they’ve been up into the hills discovering new things about themselves, switching off and discovering a whole new world."