Walk leader qualifications

Mountain Training offers programmes of training and assessment for walkers interested in leading groups as well as skills awards that teach individuals how to look after themselves in the hills and mountains. The UK and Ireland are home to a great many stunning locations and our work is dedicated to helping more people get out there and enjoy them.

Walking pathway infographic with time to completion

If you're finding it difficult to choose, read our blog article: Which scheme is right for me?

What's covered?

All our walking qualifications cover the following topics in their respective terrain areas:
  • Walking and Route Finding
  • Navigation
  • Hazards and Emergency Procedures
  • Equipment
  • Responsibilities of the Leader
  • Group Management
  • Access, Conservation and Environmental Knowledge
  • Weather

Lowland Leader >

This qualification is all about learning how to lead groups on day walks in lowland countryside, including woodland and coastal paths.

Walking in the lowlands

Training: 2 days
Assessment: 2 days
Average time from training to successful assessment: less than 1 year

Hill and Moorland Leader >

If you're going to lead walking groups in upland or moorland areas that aren't steep and rocky, Hill and Moorland Leader is the qualification for you.

Sunset in the Peak District

Training: 3 days
Assessment: 3 days
Average time from training to successful assessment: 1.4 years

Mountain Leader >

The original mountain leadership qualification, which is now 60 years old! Mountain Leader is the benchmark for anyone wishing to lead groups in the mountains. It includes camping with groups in the mountains.

Walking over broken ground in the mountains

Training: 6 days
Assessment: 5 days
Average time from training to successful assessment: 3.3 years

Winter Mountain Leader >

Experienced Mountain Leaders with winter experience can apply to register for the Winter Mountain Leader qualification. Winter Mountain Leaders operate in one of the toughest environments: the unique winter conditions of the UK and Ireland. The use of a walking axe and crampons are vital components of safe winter walking and the scheme will train you to look after others in often very challenging conditions. The Scottish Highlands are the natural focal point of the Winter Mountain Leader, so a passion for ‘Scottish Winter’ is essential.

Ridge walk in the snow

Training: 6 days
Assessment: 5 days
Average time from training to successful assessment: 4.9 years (it takes several winter seasons to gain sufficient experience in the Scottish Highlands)

International Mountain Leader >

The International Mountain Leader qualification builds on the skills gained as a Mountain Leader and applies them to the international environment. Additional considerations include trekking at altitude, snow covered terrain and travelling overseas. The qualification is ideal for people hoping to lead groups outside the UK and Ireland, other than where Alpine techniques are required.

Walking in to Uhuru

Summer training: 5 days (UK) - includes a timed navigation test
Winter training: 5 days (Alps/Pyrenees)
Summer assessment: 4 days (Alps/Pyrenees)
Winter assessment: 5 days (Alps/Pyrenees)
Average time from summer training to successful winter assessment: 2.6 years

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