This week, Dave Anderson and I have been assessing five candidates to become Summer Mountain Leaders. This five day course requires 60 hours of contact time and each candidate must have at least 40 quality days of mountain walking in their log books. It's an intense week for both candidates and assessors!
Working as a Summer Mountain Leader requires great leadership skills, navigation, camp craft, environmental knowledge and the skills to manage an incident or accident. All of these aspects of the award are covered in the assessment. We started out with the emergencies, rescues and stream crossings on Doire Ban near Lundavra. We went to Glen Coe for the steep ground day which we spent in Number Two Gully on the West Face of Aonach Dubh. This is a steep walk with occasional simple scrambling in a very dramatic place. Careful route choice and group management as well as safeguarding are required to lead people here.
For our three day expedition we went to the Ardverikie hills. The candidates spoke with the stalkers to check we would nopt disturb them at their work before heading to Beinn a'Chlachair on the first day. We found a wonderful camp site at the col to the NE and enjoyed a great show from the sunset and clouds floating in and out of the coire. We enjoyed several hours of night time walking as well, checking out the navigation kills of the candidates in poor visibility.
The second day took us over Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhin, so we reached three munros on the trip. Another brilliant camp site and a walk down and over Meall Cos Charnan on the last day, with the group planning the route, the timings and leading it, got us back to the van. Well done and thank you to all the candidates for all the hard work you put in to this week. It's great to have a new crop of mountain leaders inspiring people in the Scottish hills.
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.