What's What - The BlueDome guide to outdoor qualifications

Climbing and Walking

The awards covered in this section relate to the recognised qualifications for climbing and hillwalking in the United Kingdom. The awards are the Single Pitch Award, the Walking Group Leader Award and the Mountain Leader Award.

The awards are now widely recognised as the ones to have if you wish to work professionally in the outdoors. Local Authorities, voluntary sector, commercial operators and large outdoor bodies such as the Duke of Edinburgh's award and Scouts and Guides all regard the provision of these awards as essentials for their instructors. The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority recognises these awards for those who lead others in the hills and in climbing activities.

The administration of the awards, training of assesors, moderating courses and assesment of candidates are carried out by various regional bodies. The Scottish Mountain Leader Training Board, Wales Mountain Leader Training Board, Mountain Leader Training Board and the Northern Ireland Mountain Training Board (Full contact details are in the useful links section).

All people wishing to undertake training under the regional boards must be a member of their regional Mountaineering Council or be a member of a club that is affiliated to one. Please note that if you just want to go hillwalking or climbing for your own interests then membership of any of these organisations is not required!

The whole thing is overseen by the United Kingdom Mountain Training Board which was established in 1991 to co-ordinate the operations of the various regions. The UKMTB is also tasked with the maintanance of standards and with international representation of the work of the UK's mountain training establishments.

How to start
Assuming that you are a member of an affiliated club or an individual member of one the councils your first step is to register with your regional training board. They will issue you with a logbook and a registration number. All training is experience based and takes into account the type of walking or climbing you undertake and in what circumstances you use the outdoors. You must apply for registration for each award separately and the regional office can then add the training activity for that award to your records.

Registered providers of training are strictly controlled and as you attend a course your provider will note it in your logbook, sign hisor her notes and place a unique sticker alongside his entry. The purpose is to ensure that people do not just award themselves titles and go off taking unsuspecting groups out into the wilds. The training providers also pay the boards for the stickers and this helps to fund the work they do in administering the schemes.

The Single Pitch Award

The Walking Group Leader Award

The Mountain Leader Award

Useful Contacts and Regional Links
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