From Trainee to Trainer – Heathers journey

Heather is a Tutor at Bewerley Park. Read her reflections on her journey as a Mountain Leader.

I wrote this piece about my Mountain Leader journey on the train back from the Isle of Jura when I decided that it would be a good idea to exercise my brain after excessive exercising of the legs (I had just done the Nidderdale Triathlon, followed by The Three Peaks Cyclocross the day after, immediately followed by a 5 day wild west coast of Jura hike condensed into 4 days so I could fit a round of the Paps of Jura in too… a great week!!) 

From Trainee to Trainer

I have had the recent privilege to work alongside Anne Barrowman to deliver a Mountain Leader (ML) training course; this has been the catalyst for these reflections, 5 years after being assessed by Anne on my own ML assessment. After 26 hours non-stop rain, 10 seconds of sun and wet to the pants I can still say I enjoyed it! The mountain environment is a never ending source of inspiration for me. 

I clearly remember my own Mountain Leader training expedition, wondering how my instructors managed to fit all their gear in to such a small bag. 5 years and many adventures later I now know that a few more gold coins in the piggy bank helps (my sleeping bag no longer takes up half the space in my rucksack) and more importantly, experience (the sum of our mistakes I recently read!). My 3L Camelbak (that’s 3 whole kg of weight!) has been replaced with a 500ml Nalgene bottle. I now extol the virtues of rapid cooking couscous instead of gas guzzling pasta (much to the disgust of my Dad – it’s ‘girls’ food apparently!), and a clean pair of socks for each day has become 1 smelly, soggy wet pair for the whole trip! I hope I was able to pass on some of this knowledge on our recent Training Course. 

Walking along watching a our potential ML Trainees, I contemplated their situation. Rain covers blowing off their bag and threatening to act like a parachute, compass spinning wildly round the neck and threatening to strangle them and heaven forbid, pots, pans and roll mat on the OUTSIDE of the bag (before hasty instructor intervention!). This all made me realise just how much experience I have accumulated over the last 5 years – I was definitely guilty of many of these cardinal sins when I first set out on my ML journey! 

It was fantastic to witness 4 enthusiastic souls setting out on their own ML journey in the summer and I hope they get as much pleasure out of the Training and Assessment process as I have- there is no better excuse for excessive trips to the mountains than saying you’re preparing for Assessment!

Continuing my Mountain Leader journey

I had careful plans to celebrate my 30th birthday in style (on my Winter ML Assessment in a snow hole!) however these were thwarted by a distinct lack of winter last year! I now hope to complete the Assessment in February 2020 before my D-Log explodes with too many Logbook days!

heather journey mountain leader

When my Winter ML is in the bag I am very keen to pursue my Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor Award (MCI). I am well aware some work is required to develop my climbing; a little less like an elephant and a little more like a ballerina! One of the beauties of working at Bewerley Park is that I have always been surrounded by people, like Anne, who have the knowledge and experience in their field but more importantly the generosity and willingness to give of their time to help others pursue their goals – for that I will always be grateful!

So thankyou Anne! It was a pleasure working alongside you, I learnt loads and I hope you appreciated the 10 seconds of sun on our expedition- I told you it would come eventually!


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