With Graham putting a Mountain Leader Training Course on and having some free time I took the opportunity, along with fellow International & Winter Mountain Leader Lucy Wallace, to spend a week observing and also providing some instruction to a group of aspirant Mountain Leaders as I look to become a Mountain Leader Course Director at some point in the future.
After going through the same process myself some years ago and continuing on through further awards I can honestly say attending a Mountain Leader Training Course is one of the best decisions I have ever made, though I can’t deny there’s been a few poor ones 😔.
I didn’t intend to ever go past the training and only joined as I was convinced by, now good friend, Helen Howe that it would be useful for my own enjoyment and adventures in the mountains. Well after joining a ML Training Course provided by Helen & Steve Howe things got out of hand and it became quite an addiction!
The ML Training Course is a 6 day course, including a 2 day/overnight expedition element. Even with the 6 days the syllabus is quite full on with a lot of information, guidance and instruction for the aspirants to take in so I was more than happy to assist with various aspects of instruction and teaching during the week.
I discovered on most of my training courses that the level I thought I was at wasn’t the level I needed to be at with more work to do across the syllabus during the consolidation period before assessment. I’m sure most candidates leave training with a new realisation of what is needed before going for assessment which hopefully inspires them to keep on learning and practicing and not becoming complacent.
I particularly enjoy teaching candidates the aspects of navigation and rope work and as to the level they will have to demonstrate on assessment.
There is a lot of time focused on teaching navigation skills and techniques, but the award isn’t all about navigating! I try to impress on the candidates that they are required to become competent and efficient at navigation so they can not only navigate but show good leadership and make good decisions whilst navigating not ‘instead of’ navigating.
Night navigation is often the least ‘looked forward’ to aspect of training or assessment and I find it worth explaining it is basically just becoming efficient and able to confidently navigate in poor visibility, simple….! I find it extremely rewarding to be able to pass on techniques and skills I have been taught by some excellent instructors to new candidates, sometimes it’s literally as though a light bulb is switched on to light the landscape when a candidate masters a new technique and all becomes clear! 🙌
As well as getting to provide instruction and tuition to aspirant ML’s these courses give me the chance to work along side instructors such as Graham & Lucy, both of whom are ‘full time’ mountain whereas I’m still in a transition phase. Whilst in a former industry I always said I would be happy to go on any training course as I believe that I should never stop trying to learn (if only I’d have thought that in school days 😣) and again I gained knowledge from working with very knowledgeable and ‘passionate about the mountain environment’ instructors.
Summary – I really enjoyed this Mountain Leader Training Course, though could have been a touch warmer on the exped! I’m sure the aspirant ML’s enjoyed their time on the course too and it will have been a great benefit to them to have had three instructors ready to pass on new skills and knowledge.
I wish them all the best along their Mountain Training path and look forward to working alongside Graham & Lucy in the future.