Preparing for Mountain Training Courses during Covid-19

Develop a razor-sharp plan for your Mountain Training qualification pathway

We have prepared some top tips to help you through all the stages of Mountain Training courses, including ideas you can still be doing despite Covid -19. Some you will be able to work through now; others will obviously have to wait until it is safe to head for hills once more. Hopefully this will help you get a razor-sharp plan in place to see you through your next MT qualification! (Note to future readers: Covid-19 has passed? The Hills are open again? Brilliant… all this advice is still relevant so read on….)

Why should you listen to us? This year Bewerley Park Centre (which is part of the North Yorkshire Learning service along with East Barnby) is celebrating its 80th anniversary. Mountain Training courses were created in 1964, starting with the Mountain Leader course. Bewerley Park Centre was one of the few original providers approved at the time and we are still running this, and other awards 56 years later!

This advice has been put together by Anne Barrowman; Bewerley Park Teacher, MT Course Director of 20 years and all-round Mountain Guru. She has curated these top tips for each stage of the process to give you aspirant MT qualification holders some food-for thought in these uncertain times.

Make sure you register for the right scheme

There are now so many Mountain Training awards it is important you do your research and register for the correct award for you. For instance, if you want to lead groups in the mountains, Lowland Leader is the wrong award for you! If you only want to improve you own personal skills the Skill Awards may be best. By understanding which award to register for you will save yourself a lot of time and money. You will learn a lot by reading and researching the different schemes here, so while you are self-isolating this is a perfect task to occupy your time productively.

D-Log, D-Log, D-Log…

This is something so many people do badly, as it’s the job that you never really have time for, but now you do! Every Mountain Training Couse has a minimum requirement to attend training, without this you won’t be able to attend or the course won’t be registered if you do attend. So spend this isolation time getting your DLOG up to date. If you’re having trouble entering info have a look here to help. Remember there is a reason there is a minimum requirement; this is so you don’t struggle on the course. If you are at the correct standard and you can enjoy the experience and are able to absorb all the course has to offer.

Attend a training course

OK, granted this is something you can’t do at the moment. Given the uncertain times we are living in please do remember to heed the latest BMC Covid-19 guidelines on walking and climbing activities 

Consolidate your experience

This is the stage that is most neglected yet in my opinion is the most important. Safely leading groups in the hills, mountains and crags is all about making the correct judgment calls. Planning the best day for the group given the weather and conditions is hard and takes experience. Judgement call are needed to keep your plan on track and when things aren’t going right and plans need adapting. Whilst you can’t get this just from reading and research (it is primarily about experience based on practice and reflection) you can still gain a lot by researching ideas and tactics at this time. When people come for assessment with the bare minimum of experience this leads to them struggling through an assessment or getting deferred or failed. If you know you have a weakness in the syllabus make it a strength during the consolidation experience. Mountain training has put together a skills checklist for all awards. Make sure you use it. Advice about going in the hills may change at any time. With the Hills and Crags off-limits at the moment, work on the other areas in the syllabus where you don’t need hills or crags like weather, geology, Fauna and Flora, etc. See on-line learning you can do with Mountain Training. Remember to make your DLOG reflect and champion your experience. (Have we mentioned getting your DLOG up to date!)

Attend an assessment course

This is again not possible at the moment, but following these Top Tips can mean that when you do your delayed assessment you have so much more knowledge and can enjoy the assessment experience even more! If you have more than the minimum experience you can arrive with confidence. Just remember your assessor is only trying to see if you are at the standard set out by Mountain Training. The standard is not a secret; this is in the skills check list and the handbook so read it! Prepare for the assessment and we will give you every opportunity possible to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and judgement.

Post assessment

First of all WELL DONE! Once you have finished your celebrations you will realise your journey has only just begun. You now need to put the qualification to work; use the skills or lose the skills. Learning should never stop, even if you do not want to pursue a higher qualification nothing stays the same; there is always further knowledge and experience to gain to make you a better leader. Keep logging in DLOG to demonstrate this and consider joining Mountain Training Association to continue your CPD.

I hope this helps keeps you more positive during this uncertain time of Covid-19.

Anne

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Here at the North Yorkshire Learning service we don’t just run the Mountain Leader course. Over the years Mountain Training have established many more fantastic awards to better fit the needs of the candidates. Walking leadership qualifications we run include: Lowland Leader, Hill and Moorland Leader and the Mountain Leader. For climbing leadership qualifications, we run the Climbing Wall Instructor and the Rock Climbing Instructor. We also run the Hill Skills and Mountain Skills awards. Visit Mountain Training to see all their awards and more.