Getting started
To get started on the Mountain Leader qualification you need to meet the following prerequisites:
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You should have at least a year’s worth of experience of mountain walking
  • You should have an interest in leading groups in the mountains
  • You must be a member of a mountaineering council: BMC, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland (you can join one when you register if you're not already a member) - find out why
If you can meet all of the above requirements, here's what to do next:
  • Create an account on our Candidate Management System or log in if you already have one.
  • Register for the Mountain Leader scheme (this costs £65)

Mountain Leader candidate handbook

The Mountain Leader handbook has full details about the scheme including the syllabus and supporting guidance notes.

Llawlyfr yn y Gymraeg:

Do you have additional needs?

Do you have a physical or mental impairment or disability which may require a provider to make reasonable adjustments so that you can take part in a training or assessment course? Find out more.

Not quite right?

If this doesn't sound like the right qualification for you, consider the following: You could also read through our 'Which scheme is right for me?' page.
Mountain Leader training lasts for 6 days and will be run by one of our approved providers in one of the key mountain areas of the UK or Ireland.

Before you book onto a Mountain Leader training course, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must be registered on the scheme
  • You must have recorded a minimum of 20 Quality Mountain Days (ideally on DLOG) which can have taken place at any point (pre- or post-registration)
A variety of cost packages are available for the course depending on what's included; food, accommodation etc. so you can choose one that's right for you.

Find a course

Use the Mountain Leader Skills Checklist

This document can be used during or shortly after your training course to help you identify areas of the syllabus that may require attention.

The Syllabus

Mountain Leaders should be competent in the following key areas, all of which will be covered, to a greater or lesser extent, during your six day training course.
  • Group management
  • Navigation
  • Access and the environment
  • Hazards (including steep ground and rivers) and emergency procedures
  • Equipment
  • Expedition skills
  • Weather
  • Background knowledge
Detailed information on each of the above topics can be found in the Mountain Leader Handbook and the onus is on you to be competent in all of them by the time you come to assessment.

Consolidation The period between training and assessment (often referred to as the consolidation period) varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. You can use the excuse 'I'm preparing for assessment' to have as many mountain adventures as you like, so get out there and explore this beautiful country of ours! We have also published a book and created an association to support you during your consolidation and after you're qualified.

The Mountain Training Association

Join the Mountain Training Association and be part of a community of like-minded people on our schemes. The Association offers a range of workshops for trainee and qualified leaders and coaches across the disciplines, as well as a quarterly magazine, gear deals/discounts, a monthly newsletter and an insurance deal. You can join the Association at any point after you have registered on one of Mountain Training's leadership/coaching schemes.

MTA logo

Join now

The Book - Hill Walking

Hill Walking has been written specifically for people pursuing Mountain Training's leadership qualifications and it includes essential tips and information for those who wish to lead in the hills as well as being a useful learning aid for recreational walkers. The book is split into three parts: Getting Around in the Hills, The Upland Environment and Group Management. Its functional design with easy-reference pages, striking illustrations and images make this book an indispensable guide to the skills required for summer hill walking.

Hill Walking

Buy now


E-learning modules can be accessed through the 'Awards & Training' tab of your CMS account.

Mountain weather

Weather elearning slide

Created by the Met Office for Mountain Training, this free module is packed full of useful information about weather systems, forecasts and how to use this information as a leader to plan your journey. The module takes approximately 1 hour to complete and is available to anyone who has registered on one of our schemes.


Geology elearning slide

These three modules are free for members of the Mountain Training Association - they have been developed in partnership with Paul Gannon, author of the Rock Trails series of books.

Mountain building
This module covers a basic understanding of mountain building and plate tectonics.

Mountain landscapes and rock types
This module covers a basic understanding of various rock types and how they appear in the landscape.

Mountain destruction
This module explores the ways in which weathering and erosion slowly dismantle mountain ranges and should help you spot signs of the on-going processes of mountain destruction.
Before you book onto a Mountain Leader assessment, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must have attended a Mountain Leader training course (or have been granted exemption)
  • You must be familiar with the syllabus
  • You must have logged a minimum of 40 Quality Mountain Days in three different regions of the UK and Ireland
  • You must have logged at least 8 nights camping, including at least 4 nights wild camping
  • You must have physically attended and completed (i.e. not online) a first aid course which involved at least two full days or sixteen hours of instruction and included an element of assessment
The Mountain Leader assessment is 5 days long and includes a two night expedition.

Assessments are run by one of our approved providers and a variety of cost packages are available, depending on what's included; food, accommodation etc. so you can choose one that's right for you.

Find a course

OfQual regulation and Mountain Training England
Learning to navigate as a leader on Mountain Leader training

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We just went to a totally new level in terms of navigation. So that was both fascinating and quite challenging.

Steve Wheatcroft - July 2022
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For anyone considering doing their Mountain Leader, I would recommend doing it. It’s a challenging, rewarding process, and one that will be different for each individual...

Jessie Leong - October 2020
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"The best (thing about the qualification) is probably getting to meet a whole range of people of different levels of experience. Learning from instructors, course mates, colleagues and friends."

Laura Simpson - April 2016
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"I never saw myself as an expedition leader when I was younger. I thought it was something for those in the forces or gnarly men if I'm honest. In 2000 I changed my life, leaving a secure job in search of escape and adventure."

Cressida Allwood - August 2016
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"I get a real buzz out of knowing that I've gained it as a qualification. It's a great feeling to know that you've met a set of requirements set by some seriously experienced and capable people."

Dan Aspel - October 2015

Support & Development

Join the Mountain Training Association and be part of a community of like-minded people on our schemes.

MTA offers a range of workshops for trainee and qualified leaders and coaches across the disciplines, as well as great deals and discounts

More info

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