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Mountain skills course launched

Posted 22 October 2012
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Mountain skills course launched
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The National Mountain Centre at Plas Y Brenin has for many years been training people in Mountain Leader (ML) and Walking Leader (WL) qualification courses, but now it is looking to extend its reach.

For most taking the ML course, the aim is to ensure they are trained and equipped for leading groups fo people, which may be useful if that is a reguilar activity as a professional working in the outdoors, or even as a member of a walking group.

However, others may not think the course is for them if they prefer to head for the hills on their own or in a small group.

Now, Plas Y Brenin has come up with a new approach for those who like to go walking, with the 'leader' title dropped from its course, Grough reports.

The plan is for the courses to now be more broadly aimed in order to increase safety and preparedness levels on the hills and in the outdoors for everyone, not just aspiring leaders.

Chief executive of Mountain Training Cymru Bryn Williams said there are plans for two levels of training, starting with the simpler hill skills course and moving up to mountain skills.

He explained: "That's an introductory skills course for people who want to get into country walking, so not mountains - more countryside walking.

"The mountain skills would be for much more rocky, jagged, high peaks and that would equate to the same remit areas as the Summer Mountain Leader."

Mr Williams added that Mountain Rescue teams could benefit from the training, as it should lead to fewer call-outs.

One way this could happen is through better trained members of the public knowing to take Ordnance Survey maps and compasses out on the hills - and knowing how to use them.

Navigational failure is a common cause of Mountain Rescue incidents, with the shorter daylight hours making it harder for those who do lose their way to find it again before it starts to get dark.

One such example occurred between Grasmere and Great Langdale last week, when a small group got lost and became "benighted" when darkness fell, according to Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801473341-ADNFCR