Hill & Mountain Skills FAQs

1/ Which course should I do?

The answer to this really depends on your previous walking experience. If you're completely new to walking in the hills or it's been a while since you last went walking or you've never really learned how to use a map and compass, Hill Skills would be more appropriate. If you're quite happy walking on paths and have some experience of using a map and compass but haven't been anywhere particularly mountainous, the Mountain Skills course is perfect for you.

If in doubt, speak to your chosen provider or opt for Hill Skills - you can always do a Mountain Skills course afterwards.

2/ How old do I have to be?

The minimum age is 10 and there is no maximum age. As long as you are fit enough to go hill or mountain walking, you will gain a lot from whichever course you choose to do. If you are under 18 and looking for a course just for yourself, or finding out about courses for someone under 18 who won't be with a parent or legal guardian on the course, you may want to ask your chosen provider if/how they cater for unaccompanied under 18s. Depending on the activites you will be doing, your chosen provider may need legally required activity licences for 'trekking' with unaccompanied under 18s. Do ask your provider any questions relating to delivering hill and mountain walking courses to unaccompanied participants under 18.

3/ Can I do both courses? Can I do them more than once?

Absolutely. You can do one or both courses as many times as you like. The scheme has been designed in such a way that once you've completed a Hill Skills course and done some walking in your own time, if you're keen to progress to Mountain Skills that's great! If not, you can just as easily do another Hill Skills course to cement the skills you learned first time round. Similarly, once you've completed a Mountain Skills course you might be interested in learning more about going scrambling or you might prefer to do another Mountain Skills course. Both of the courses are great preparation if you're thinking about leading walking groups in the future. A solid base of knowledge is crucial for all leaders and learning to look after yourself in the hills and/or mountains is the first stepping stone on that journey.

4/ Can I do a course with my family?

Yes, if the youngest member of your family is 10 or older. Anyone aged 10 or over can attend a Hill Skills or Mountain Skills course and many providers will offer bespoke courses if you have a ready-made group all interested in doing the same course.

5/ How do I book a course?

Search for a course here. You can filter by location, date and type of course to find one that best suits your needs. You will need to contact the provider directly to book on to a course. Some providers may take payment through our Candidate Management System and some providers may take payment directly. Once you have found a course suitable for you, you can use the 'Enquire' button in the Booking box, to register your interest with the provider. The provider will then reply to confirm your booking and organise payment.

All courses include:
  • A copy of the Safety on Mountains book
  • A navigational timing card
  • A certificate of attendance for completing each course
  • Lifetime use of our digital logbook (DLOG) for recording your hill and mountain walks

6/ Do I have to do Hill Skills before I can do Mountain Skills?

No. The Mountain Skills course is an ideal choice for walkers interested in transferring their walking skills to more mountainous terrain. Ideally, participants would have some basic hill walking experience and have a reasonable level of fitness, but you do not need to have attended a Hill Skills course first.

7/ What is the Digital Logbook (DLOG)?

DLOG is a logbook for recording your walks (and climbs, if you climb too). It is used extensively by candidates working through our leadership qualifications and can be used by skills scheme participants if you would like to keep a record of your activities. The DLOG serves as a useful reminder of what you've done and you can track your progress as your confidence and skills increase. In order to access DLOG you need to connect with your candidate account - please contact your course provider to ask for your candidate number.

8/ How fit do I have to be?

The Hill Skills course requires a moderate level of fitness. It is a practical course where you will be walking for a good part of each day, and learning along the way. Any health issues should be talked through with your tutor prior to the start of the course.

The Mountain Skills course is a clear progression from the Hill Skills course. The main difference being that it’s run in the high mountain areas of the UK. As such there is a requirement that you have some experience of hill walking prior to attending the course and also have a reasonable level of fitness. An example of reasonable fitness might be someone who actively participates in sporting activities on a regular basis such as jogging or cycling. If you are unsure about your fitness or experience then speak to one of our course providers, and if in doubt over which course to attend, the Hill Skills course may be a more appropriate choice.

9/ How much are the courses?

The cost of the course is determined by the provider, not Mountain Training. Many factors are considered by providers in calculating a reasonable cost for the course. When viewing course costs is it important to consider what additions a provider may offer, and what you want to be included. Some or all of the following may be included by providers:
  • Use of walking equipment such as boots, waterproofs, a rucksack, map and compass
  • Transport
  • Accommodation and food
Additionally, private courses for a particular group of people (university students, work colleagues, friends and family etc.) can be run by many of our providers, just contact them to discuss your options.

10/ How many people will be on my course?

For a Hill or Mountain Skills course, you may be in a group of up to 8 participants in total, with one tutor. The groups are kept fairly small to allow for lots of learning and discussion.

11/ Will this course allow me to lead walking groups?

The Hill & Mountain Skills scheme courses are designed for those who would like to increase personal hill and mountain walking skills, for recreational walking in their own time. The syllabus does not cover any leadership elements nor train people in the skills helpful to lead others in the hills and mountains of the UK. The Hill & Mountain Skills scheme does serve as a refresher of personal skills when needed and some people choose to attend a course, in preparation to start logging experience for a Mountain Training walking leadership qualification in the future.

12/ Is the Hill & Mountain Skills scheme like a navigation course?

The Hill & Mountain Skills scheme syllabus covers many useful elements, as well as map reading and navigation. Think of these courses as a 'big picture' look at all aspects of enjoying getting out into the hills and mountains, with increased confidence and ability to make better plans, better decisions while you're out, knowing what to pack, looking after yourself, looking after the environment, knowing where you can go and using these skills in different contexts while on your course, and beyond. There's more to walking than just navigation.

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