I've always had a love for the mountains. Whether its running, walking or biking, being in the hills makes me feel alive and puts everything into perspective. Twelve years ago I completed my Mountain Leader Training as I wanted to be in the mountains on a daily basis. At twenty years old, I was a bit too young for the responsibilities and I never completed the qualification.
Now, over a decade since then and after spending a most of my spare time in the wilderness and traveling around the world, I have decided to get back to working outdoors. This time it's different. With age I have changed my outlook, now I want to share my passion with others and show them how to love and respect the mountains.
The first step was to find out where I'm up to, in regards to the knowledge and experience needed to pass the assessment. A quick trip to Snowdonia to complete an ML refresher course with Snowdonia First Aid should sort that. Being able to lead others in the outdoors isn't just about having hiking experience yourself. There is so much involved and I am happy now that I know what I need to work on.
A large part of the course is about the environment. This includes being clued up on all types of flora and fauna that you might find around the UK. You need to know about land formations, how to recognise rock types and what happened in the past to create the landscape we see today.
Before even leaving the carpark it was pointed out to me that my maps were out of date and new ones would be needed for the assessment. Oops! Apparently maps have been updated in the passed 12 years!
I'm pretty confident with my navigation but it's been years since I've done any micro-navigation and the same for night nav. Both of which you get assessed on. Also, being refreshed on rope work techniques, group river crossing styles and emergency abseils was brilliant, and necessary. So much of the syllabus has slipped my mind as I haven't practiced it, and some has changed completely. Lots to work on and practice!
The course was two days long and was almost tailored to what the group wanted to work on and practice. Steve Howe, who ran the course, was very patient and let each of us practice each part as much as we needed to. By the end we managed to cover everything we wanted and more.
If anyone is tempted to work in the outdoors then I would definitely recommend Snowdonia First Aid for training and assessments. Steve and Helen are excellent teachers and unbelievably knowledgable. Everybody on the course came away feeling inspired and motivated to get their careers underway.
Thanks to the team, and to Helen and Steve, for a great course!
If anyone has any questions about the course, feel free to ask.