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Design your own adventures with Mountain Training skills courses

With the walking season well and truly in full swing, now is the time to brush up on your hill skills and get exploring. Whilst a map may seem daunting at first, once you are shown what it does and how to use it your confidence in the outdoors will grow. We spoke with Mountain Training about their skills courses and qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering and what you can expect when you sign up.

All images © Huw Jordan Tatlock and © Passion Fruit Pictures

Mountain Training, the UK and Ireland network of awarding bodies for outdoor leadership qualifications, has designed skills courses to help people build confidence and become more independent. The Hill, Mountain and Rock skills courses are all about learning to plan your day using maps, guidebooks and weather forecasts, thinking about what to wear and what to pack for an enjoyable day and in case of an emergency, as well as how to look after the wild places that we explore.

Kick start or reboot your adventures with a skills course - they're a good excuse to spend time in the hills, mountains and crags, becoming independent and exploring somewhere new. People attend skills courses for all sorts of reasons, and whatever your motivation for getting outdoors, it's never too early or too late to get some input from a professional to help you make the most of your time outdoors.

The minimum age for participating in skills courses is 10 so you can even do them as a family!

Mountain Training Hill Skills
A 2 day Hill Skills course is your key to getting started in countryside and moorland walking, and can take place in one of the many upland areas of the UK. If you have some experience of hill walking but aren't confident about planning walks, navigating and understanding the equipment required, then a Hill Skills course is an ideal way to learn.

No previous experience is necessary and our approved providers are great at tailoring the course to meet everyone's needs.

Ingrid, a recent Hill Skills participant, said, "I learned that I knew a lot more about navigation than I had previously thought and that working with a compass is way easier than I had anticipated!"

Mountain Training Mountain Skills
If you have some basic hill walking experience and are keen to progress away from marked paths into steeper, rockier terrain, then this is the course is for you. You will learn about the differences in weather, navigation and managing risk in the mountain environment, allowing you to feel more confident to venture into more remote locations.

This is traditionally a two day course (with some providers offering a five day option) and courses are run in the UK's mountain areas, for example Eryri (Snowdonia), the Lake District, Brecon Beacons or Scottish Highlands.

"I had always relied on others to help me out on a mountain day, but I really wanted to become confident in being able to do this for myself," said Corinna about her motivation for completing a Mountain Skills course in Eryri.

Mountain Training Rock Skills
The Rock Skills courses teach you all you need to know about outdoor climbing - whether you've never touched rock before, want to become a competent second or are learning how to lead sport and traditional climbs, there's something for every level.
Rock Skills courses focus on technical climbing skills such as body position, movement and ropework, as well as understanding gear placement, emergency procedures and environmental awareness.

There are four courses so you can choose the right level for you:

Rock Skills Intro: a 1 day course designed to show you the basics and give you lots of opportunity to try outdoor climbing.

Rock Skills Intermediate: Across 2 days, this course is aimed at people with some experience of climbing who want to improve their movement skills, develop their ropework and learn about traditional protection.

Learn to Lead Sport: A 2 day course ideal for people who are ready to progress to leading sport routes on rock, improve their lead climbing confidence or refresh their leading skills.

Learn to Lead Trad: This 2 day course teaches trad climbing skills, including how to place protection, build belays and move efficiently on rock.

Developing your rock climbing skills can allow you to discover different routes or activities in some of your favourite locations, allowing you to enjoy them in a totally new way and fall in love with them all over again!

A Rock Skills course could put you on the right path to all kinds of adventurous activities, including bouldering, single pitch climbing, multi-pitch climbing, via ferrata or even alpine and mountain rock routes! Find out more about Rock Skills courses.

How to book a course
Providers of all courses offer dates throughout the year and can deliver private courses if you've already got a group of people interested. All courses come with additional goodies such as a "Safety on Mountains" or "New Climbers" handbook, a navigational timing card and certificate of completion.

Courses are listed on Mountain Training's website so you can find a date that suits you or contact a provider to arrange a bespoke course.

Want to Take it Further?
Have you been dreaming about becoming a qualified instructor or leader? Mountain Training's upcoming blog post with HARVEY Maps will get you started on your journey. Whether you want to become a professional outdoor leader, or you're looking to increase outdoor opportunities in your school or community group as a volunteer, keep your eyes peeled on our News & Features Blog in May!

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