Resources For Aspirant Mountain Leaders
So you want to become a Mountain Leader do you?
Well along with being the 'professional' employed to lead an individual or group on their hill or mountain journey, safely and confidently, paying clients may well expect to enjoy the experience too! Rather than planning to finish the day feeling as though they have been on a military route march there may just be an expectation of gaining something more than blisters for their money, they may even ask questions about the landscape, environment, flora and fauna....!
Believe me, I'm fairly confident nobody I know would ever describe me as 'academically' gifted. I embarked on the Mountain Training award schemes at the ripe old age of 41, following previous careers in the Building, Printing & Door Security industries. After a lot of years being practically minded (letting my brain go soft whilst getting paid to move things/people about all day/night) the environmental/background knowledge requirement was, at first, a daunting prospect to me.
There are many extremely knowledgable and intelligent people within the Mountain Leader/Instructor circles, it turns out clever folk like walking/climbing up steep stuff too! From day one I knew I shouldn't expect to reach the level of knowledge some of my instructors and the mentors, I looked/look up to, have.
But fear not!! Whilst some people excel in certain subject areas, it is a respectable knowledge of a wide range of subjects that is required, "know things about a wide range of things....". Who knew when I started my mountain training journey I would discover an amount of knowledge about trees, plants you can use as poison and plants you can make alcoholic beverages from? At the beginning of my own 'learning' I didn't expect I would scratch the surface of subject, previously of little interest to me, to find myself eager to learn more.
I never thought for one moment that I would need more shelves for a reference book collection, but becoming a mountain leader doesn't mean finishing learning once you gain the award.
What should you be reading/researching? -
Aspirant Mountain Leaders come from all walks of life with wide ranging backgrounds and knowledge. I've taken ML Training courses that have had geologists, bushcraft/survival instructors, Olympic athletes, Everest summiteers, members of the Armed Forces, teachers etc etc. There is usually a breadth of existing knowledge within a trainee group. Learn from each other, learn from books and other publications, industry professionals blog, award body skills downloads, TV, You Tube etc etc
Below is a list of resources 'I personally recommend'. Additional to the list are countless publications and TV productions produced about many topics related to the British Mountains.
N.B the list is chosen on my own opinion and is based on what I found useful going through the Mountain Training Awards, or/and refer to now too (I do not receive any commissions from any sales or referrals :-( I have added links where I feel the links are safe.
The Mountain Leader 'Hard Skills/Syllabus' -
- Hill Walking The Official Handbook of the Mountain Training Walking Schemes - Steve Long
- Mountain Leader Candidate Handbook (download)
- Navigation In The Mountains - Carlo Forte
- Mountaincraft and Leadership - Eric Langmuir
- Ropework For Mountain Leaders - Helen Teasdale (Plas y Brenin) You Tube
Flora & Fauna -
- Nature Of Snowdonia (Second Edition) - Mike Raine (My ML Bible....!)
- Hostile Habitats Scotlands Mountain Habitats - Mark Wrightham & Nick Kempe
- Field Studies Council Fold Out Guides
- Highlands - Scotlands Wild Heart - Iplayer
- Iolo's Snowdonia - You'll have to track it down or catch it on repeat.
- Granite And Grit (Ronald Turnbull)
- Rock Trails - Paul Gannon
- Igeology app (British Geological Survey)
- Rise Of The Continents Eurasia S1 E4 (Dr Iain Stewart) - Available on You Tube
- Men Of Rock (Dr Iain Stewart) - Available on You Tube
- Making Scotlands Landscape (Dr Iain Stewart) - Available on You Tube
Mountain Skills -
- Mountain Training Skills Videos (You Tube Channel)
- Glenmore Lodge Skills Videos (You Tube Channel)
- Mountaineering Scotland (You Tube Channel)
- The BMC Walking Skills Videos
- Ordnance Survey - Get Outside Guides.
Have you joined the MTA yet? I recommend you do as there are lots of resources on their website available to members to read and download.
General Interest -
Mark 'Charlie' Valentine.