Personal Skills

Our skills courses are all about supporting people to be independent hill walkers and rock climbers. They're a great way to get outside, learn with other people and leave feeling confident in tackling your next adventure. There are six courses so you can choose the right one for you based on your previous experience and what you'd like to do. Check out the summary of each course below to find the best place to start.

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Why should I do a skills course?

  • Explore with confidence - the UK and Ireland provide endless opportunities for hiking in the hills and rock climbing at the crags. Whether your goal is to follow a well-known trail, complete some classic climbs or head off on your own, our skills course are all about equipping you with the skills to explore with confidence.
  • Fill in the gaps - if you once knew how to read a map or tie in to the end of a rope, but you don't trust yourself to get it right every time, a skills course will fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle and provide some great hints and tips to get you back on track.
  • Experienced instructors - all Mountain Training skills courses are delivered by experienced, qualified people who are passionate about supporting others to enjoy hill walking and climbing as much as they do. They're very good at tailoring each course to meet the needs of the group so that everyone leaves with the skills they need to progress.
  • Emergency procedures - if you were lost, went off route or something went wrong, would you know what to do? Our skills courses cover how to avoid common mistakes and what to do in a variety of emergency scenarios.
  • Supporting resources - our approved providers will supply all course participants with supporting resources. Safety on Mountains and New Rock Climbers are designed as quick-reference booklets so you don't need to take loads of notes during the course, allowing you to relax and enjoy learning with others.
  • Certificate of attendance - our approved providers will give you a certificate of attendance which will not only look great in a frame on the mantlepiece or stuck on the fridge, it's also your ticket to accessing our digital system where you can start logging your activities and potentially register for one of our leadership qualifications.

Find a course

Hill Skills

If you want the skills to plan your own walks along the coast, across the moors or anywhere in between without someone more experienced, a Hill Skills course is the right course for you. No previous hill walking experience is required and the course will cover planning and packing, navigating with a map and compass, common hazards, minimising your impact and what to do in an emergency. If you're new to hiking or keen to brush up on your skills, a Hill Skills course is a great place to start. Courses are normally two days long.

Hill Skills

Mountain Skills

A Mountain Skills course is an ideal choice for people who want to explore steep, remote or mountainous areas. Topics covered on the course will be the same as on a Hill Skills course, but with steeper ground in mind - there will likely be some simple scrambling, a look at route finding in the mountains and an opportunity to explore mountain-specific hazards. Ideally, participants will have some basic hiking experience and a reasonable level of fitness. Courses are normally two days long, with some providers offering a five day option.

Mountain Skills

Rock Skills Introduction

If you'd like to try rock climbing, this one day course provides an introduction to climbing outside on boulders and friendly crags. The focus will be on maximising climbing time, how to move on rock, finding balance and using your feet. Basic ropework and how to belay will also be covered.

Rock Skills Introduction

Rock Skills Intermediate

Rock climbing is an addictive, enjoyable activity that has many benefits, both physical and psychological. If you've tried it and love it, or you already climb indoors, an Intermediate course is all about becoming a confident top-rope climber outside. It will cover setting up anchors for top and bottom rope systems as well as the skills required to be a competent second (follow a lead climber up a route, removing traditional protection). Courses are typically two days long.

Rock Skills Intermediate

Rock Skills Learn to Lead Sport Climbs

If you already lead climbs indoors or have the skills to top rope outdoors, a Learn to Lead Sport Climbs course will introduce essential sport leading skills such as choosing an appropriate route, resting and clipping positions, belaying a lead climber and rethreading the belay at the tope of a climb. It will also cover common hazards including how to check the safety of in-situ bolts and belays. Courses are typically two days long.

Rock Skills Learn to Lead Sport

Rock Skills Learn to Lead Trad Climbs

Learn to place gear while leading trad (traditional) climbs, build your own belays and protect another climber on this two day course. The UK and Ireland have a rich history of trad climbing which covers routes of all grades on all rock types on sea cliffs, moorland edges and high mountains. The course will focus on single pitch venues and due to the skills required, previous experience of placing traditional protection or lead climbing are required.

Rock Skills Learn to Lead Trad

Find a course

What next?

Skills courses are an ideal stepping stone to a lifetime of independent walking and climbing, and they can also act as a great gateway to our leadership qualifications.

Hill Skills -> Lowland Leader

People who have completed a Hill Skills course can register for our Lowland Leader qualification and attend a training course without needing to log additional experience. So if you've left the course feeling really inspired about sharing your new-found passion for hill walking, there's nothing stopping you from continuing the journey on a course near you.

Mountain Skills -> Mountain Leader

Has a Mountain Skills course made you realise how much you already know? Or boosted your confidence to the point where you'd love to lead other people in the mountains? If so, our Mountain Leader qualification is worth considering. Our definition of a 'quality mountain day/QMD' might match your average day out; you need to have 20 QMDs before you can attend a Mountain Leader training course. 20 days in the mountains? Sounds great!

Rock Skills Learn to Lead Trad Climbs -> Rock Climbing Instructor

Experience leading trad climbs is at the heart of the requirements for our Rock Climbing Instructor qualification. The skills you will have learned (placing gear, building belays and lead belaying) will provide a solid basis on which to build instructional skills, if that's something that interests you. There's nothing quite like the buzz of introducing novices to rock climbing, so check out the training prerequisites to see what's required.

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