This week Sally and I are training a new bunch of mountain leaders. This is the Mountain Training scheme of Summer Mountain Leader Award and it is a six day training course. Yesterday we started by chatting through the scope of the award, equipment to carry and started the navigation training. We also did a session on the weather and reading synoptic charts and discussed a couple of group leadership models. The days are long, ten hours each day, to make sure we have enough time to get through all the content of the syllabus.
Today the focus was on leadership. Starting with preparing group members for the walk in advance, assessing them on the day, teaching core skills and leading them on all different types of terrain. We started up the Ben Nevis pony track from Achintee as far as the wooden bridge, then turned back on ourselves up open grass and steep broken, rocky ground on the SW Rib to go up Meall an t'Suidhe. On this steep terrain the leader needs to manage the group very closely and carefully, choosing the best route, safeguarding each group member and keeping them all secure.
The summit of Meall an t'Suidhe gives a great view of the pony track and a good oportunity to talk over how we can minimise our impact on the mountain, or in fact make a positive impact by clearing litter, unblocking cross drains in the path and educating our groups to do the same. These are the kinds of things that Nevis Landscape Partnership can help with as well on their workshops. Have a look here at what is on offer.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.