Summer Mountain Leader Training

Summer Mountain Leader Training

From: £450.00

Course dates – 21st October to 26th October 2023. Mountain Training Scotland provider Richard Bentley runs this course in conjunction with Active Outdoor Pursuits – based at our outdoor centre (Cairngorms Adventure Centre, Craigower Lodge, Golf Course Road, Newtonmore).

Run By MTS Provider Richard Bentley (Mountain Motion)

Summer Mountain Leader – Training Course

The Summer Mountain Leader Award (SML) training is a 6 day course including a wild camp night.  All 6 days must be completed in order to successfully pass the training course.  Before booking on the SML Training course please ensure you have read and met the pre-requisites contained in the Mountain Leader Award Handbook which you can download from the Mountain Training website at time of registering.  It is your responsibility to ensure you have logged the required days before booking on for the training course.

Before you book onto a Mountain Leader training course, make sure you have done the following:

  • 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
  • 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)

What do you need to bring?

As a trainee working towards your Summer Mountain Leader Award it would expected for you to bring your own equipment.  The course instructor will check that the equipment you bring is appropriate.

We do not cover personal registration fees or membership fees which need to be done prior to the course through Mountain Training.

Standard Summer Mountain Leader Training Course Program:

  • Day 1 – Course introduction, navigation locally and some discussions like weather and leadership.
  • Day 2 – Ropework and further syllabus discussions like access
  • Day 3 – Steep ground and group management + expedition prep
  • Day 4 Expedition & night navigation
  • Day 5 Expedition continues and returns.
  • Day 6 Further syllabus discussions and water crossings, dealing with common incident and accidents on the hill – debriefs.


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.

Other Information


Mountain Training Scotland provider Richard Bentley runs 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?

Take a look at the Mountain training webpage for the Summer Mountain Leader where you can find out lots more information.

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