Summer Mountain Leader Assessment

Summer Mountain Leader Assessment

From: £475.00

Assessment dates – 21st to 25th October 2024. Mountain Training Scotland provider Richard Bentley runs this course in conjunction with Active Outdoor Pursuits – based and run at our outdoor centre (Cairngorms Adventure Centre, Craigower Lodge, Golf Course Road, Newtonmore).

Add 4 or 5 nights’ self-catered shared-dorm accommodation *

Run By MTS Provider Richard Bentley (Mountain Motion)

Summer Mountain Leader Assessment – 5 Day Course

The Summer Mountain Leader Award (SML) exists to promote safe hill and mountain walking with individuals and groups.  The Mountain Training scheme provides training and assessment enabling you to lead safely in the mountains, hills and moorlands in the UK in Summer Conditions. Areas of training & assessment include; group management, rope work, first aid, navigation & expedition as well as looking at your knowledge of geology and flower and fauna.

Assessment Content

Access the assessment syllabus via Mountain Training website.  Over the 5 days you are assessed on your overall performance with specific skills being focused on different days. For the course you will be expected to provide your own equipment for the course, this includes expedition kit & personal and group safety kit.

A home paper issued prior to the course and the preparation of a short 5 minute talk on a topic relevant to the environment.  For example; Cairngorm Reindeer, Glacial Features, SOAC etc.

Pre-requisites for Summer Mountain Leader;

It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the pre-requisites for the award;

  • Completed the ML training course (6 days) or received exemption from training.
  • Recorded a minimum of 40 quality mountain days (QMDs) in your DLOG.
  • Registered and active member of Mountain Training.
  • Hold a valid and current First Aid certificate (16 hours min).
  • 8 night camping of which 4 must be wild camping.
We do not cover personal registration fees or membership fees which need to be done prior to the course through Mountain Training.

Typical Summer Mountain Leader Assessment Program:

  • Day 1 – simple navigation & dealing with common incidents/accidents on the hill + river crossings.
  • Day 2 – Steep Ground and group management in the terrain – including the ropework elements
  • Day 3 – Exped starts – normally walk into the evening or pitch up and go for night nav.
  • Day 4 exped continues – night navigation depending on conditions and what we did the night before.
  • Day 5 walk off the hill and return for debriefs/showers and drying of kit.


In terms of experience, the quality of a mountain day lies in such things as the conditions experienced both overhead and underfoot, the exploration of new areas, the terrain covered and the physical and mental challenge. Such days make a positive contribution towards a person’s development and maturity as an all round mountaineer.

Usually some or all of these criteria would be fulfilled:

  • the individual takes part in the planning and leadership
  • navigation skills are required away from marked paths
  • experience must be in terrain and weather comparable to that found in UK and Irish hills
  • knowledge is increased and skills practised
  • attention is paid to safety
  • five hours or more journey time
  • adverse conditions may be encountered
  • ascent of a substantial peak would normally be included in the day

These criteria mean that days as a course member under instruction (for example on a training course or military exercise), assisting a qualified leader, as a member of a group practising skills, or days spent repeating familiar routes are very unlikely to meet the requirements of a Quality Mountain Day.

For the purpose of the Mountain Leader scheme, ‘mountainous country’ may be defined as wild country which may contain unavoidable steep and rocky ground where walkers are dependent upon themselves for immediate help. In the United Kingdom and Ireland mountainous country includes:

  • Snowdonia
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Lake District
  • Mountains of Mourne
  • Scottish Highlands
  • Galloway Hills
  • Cork & Kerry Mountains
  • Galway & Mayo Mountains
  • Donegal Mountains
  • Dublin & Wicklow Mountains

Yes, providing those experiences satisfy ‘some or all’ of the criteria outlined within the handbook.

The Mountain Leader award is a UK-based award and as such we expect some experience in the UK/Ireland. However, up to half the required minimum experience can be days undertaken overseas, PROVIDED THAT those days are comparable, in terms of terrain and weather conditions, to those found in the UK. So for example, Alpine routes are out, GR routes with way markers are out, but the Falkland Islands and some parts of Iceland (not the glaciated parts) are in. Overseas glacier travel and winter days on snow and ice are also out.

Mountain Training’s recognition of whether a day constitutes a QMD or not, is based on whether it satisfies the criteria for a QMD as detailed in the Mountain Leader handbook.

Our definition does not mention the season. All of the QMD criteria are achievable when snow or ice prevails, so the day can count. That said, the experience you’re gaining and logging is in pursuit of the Mountain Leader qualification, which is all about leading groups in ‘summer’ conditions. Course directors will consider your logged experience when you book on a course but it may be worth consulting the provider concerned before doing so if you are unsure.

Additional Information

Mountain Training Scotland providers run this course in conjunction with Active Outdoor Pursuits – based and run at our base (Cairngorms Adventure Centre, Craigower Lodge, Golf Course Road, Newtonmore).

If you are interested in becoming an outdoor instructor then why not take a look at our Outdoor Instructor Training Courses?

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