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Thread: Mountain leader training

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Hey,

    I'm planning on doing the mountain leader training course in the next month or two. I'd be taking the food and board option. where available.

    Plas y brenin has been suggested to me as the most respected place to do it... but I wonder if I would just be paying a premium for the confidence brought by their reputation. The training with food and accomodation is £570. I see other people offer the same for almost £200 less. I am aware that the comfort and practicalities may be less ideal with the cheaper ones.. but is it really worth £200?

    Does it really matter who I do it with? I guess all trainers are accredited and trusted to provide the same info.

    I don't want to travel any further than the lakes (I'm based in devon and somerset at the moment), so Scottish options are out for me.

    All advice on this welcome.

    Thanks



    Tom

  2. #2
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    all trainers are accredited and verified..so in terms of standard of training, there isnt much to choose from.

    Contact Mountain Leader Training for suggestions closer to home than Scotland

  3. #3
    Widdler
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    Currently the other options I'm tempted with are these two. Both are £200 cheaper than plas y brenin (accomodation included). I'm happier sorting my own food so don't need full board

    http://www.carolclimb.co.uk/mountain%20leader.htm

    http://www.mountainsense.co.uk/mount...eader-training


  4. #4
    Widdler
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    Thanks Gof

    Plas y brenin and the two options i posted above were listed on the mountain leader website and are held in Wales and the lake district.

  5. #5
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    give them a ring and have a chat with them - see if you like the feel of the staff..then choose.

    ask if you can talk yo any previous clients

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    PyB has the advantage of providing you with board and lodging, great drying rooms, the opportunity to borrow and try out kit etc. You will get a lot more out of the training course if you have more than the minimum number of QMDs beforehand, because you can learn more advanced and subtle stuff rather than struggling with basic stuff.

    I did the training course there in 2010 and it was excellent, but I did feel they could be a bit 'traditional' in some areas. They wouldn't let one bloke take his own tent on the exped because it was a single hoop (not a laser comp but that kind of design), and made him borrow a Quasar from stores instead.

    I did my assessment with Snowdonia First Aid, Steve and Helen Howe who were brilliant at putting the assessees at their ease, running a really educational assessment course (all good assessments should ensure people doing them learn things!) I had a fab time on the assessment course.

    Phil George, and Rob Johnson at ExpeditionGuide are also regularly recommended.

    There's a useful Facebook site called UK Trainee Mountain Leaders.


  7. #7
    Widdler
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    Thanks a lot Kate, very useful tips

    Snowdonia first aid looks good, but have no more training courses this summer/autumn. Maybe I can consider them if I get to doing an assessment.

    Expedition guide seem worth checking out. Unfortunately, the only dates they have left are a bit tricky for me.

    I'm tempted with the idea of just paying the full whack with Plas Y Brenin and living it up like a king. Plus the dates available are perfect for me. But I need t be sensible with the cash...

    I've spent hundreds of days up mountains and in hazardous remote locations, including quite a few in the UK. Lots of camping in wilderness, navigation and hiking in groups. Lots of this has been abroad though. I'm hoping a fair amount of the skills will be transferable and useful and admisable for this training scheme.

    I think I've probably clocked up enough UK trips by now anyway, I'll have to start logging them properly.




  8. #8
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    Did my training with carolclimb (Carol & Richard) at Wasdale YHA (nice place). Good solid value and experienced, if perhaps old skool in some ways (had its strengths and weaknesses). We had snow for our summer ML which was amazing! Yep get registered with MTA and get that dlog up to date and you'll be fine. Agree on reading some reviews and phoning to get a feel of who you'll do training with. You won't go wrong with PYB or Glenmore either.

  9. #9
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    I did a week's scrambling course at PYB recently. The accommodation and food were both excellent and the drying room superb. Well worth the money, in my opinion. Some good beers in the bar, too. We had three main instructors during the week and they were all excellent, as well. There's a great atmosphere there. But it depends on what sort of experience you want and I prefer the 'all in' of somewhere like PYB.

    I can see the point re. the Quasar (Kate's comment, above) - they wanted assurance that the bloke could put up a 'proper' geodesic correctly and without faff, which I can understand. Years ago I asked to bivvy on my ML training overnight trip (at Glenmore lodge) and was rightly told to go pick up a Quasar from stores, and that was the reason given to me.

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    The loan kit was also in really good nick.

  11. #11
    ‹bermensch Rocky's Avatar
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    PYB does seem expensive, but as others have said, by the time you add in full board (including cooked brekkie, lunch, afternoon cakes and dinner), free kit hire, evening talks and use of all the facilities; the cost works out quite good.

    It's gonna cost you £60ish to stay on a campsite and that's before adding in showers, food and petrol to and from the training location. Worth it in my opinion, especially over six days.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    And the flapjack. PyB flapjack is amazing!

  13. #13
    Widdler
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    Plas y brenin would work out a hundred quid more at the least. Even if I exaggerate the accommodation and self catering costs. So the question is, do I want the dry room, climbing wall, swimming, talks in the evening and general handiness of being on site enough to pay at least 100 quid more.

    The answer I think is yes.. but does my wallet say yes? We'll find out soon

    One thing I will look in to when I call them... but maybe someone here can answer too. What is the food like? Do they accomodate well for Vegetarians? How about Vegans? This is something that influences my decision a lot. No point in paying for a full board thing if they don't serve food that you'd want to be eating. At least with the other self catering options I can make sure I'm getting what I need/want

  14. #14
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    Quick PYB food review:

    Breakfast was excellent: full cooked, porridge, cereals, fruit, toast and jam etc. But the coffee from the machine is a bit crap (ironically, the coffee from the bar machine is excellent, but available at the wrong time of day for coffee, which I've pointed out to them...). So if you're a coffee enthusiast bring your own coffee paraphernalia and use the hot water, which is what I should have done.

    Kate is right, the flapjack is excellent, as are their other cakes. For lunch, you grab it at breakfast time: choose a filled roll, fruit, biscuits, cake. The roll fillings were fine but the rolls themselves a little dry. Wasn't an issue for me. Nick mayo sachets from the bar. The stores sells bags of sweeties, chocolate bars etc. I'd buy a couple of packs of jelly babies each day to give to the teenager on my course, who hoovered up sugar like a hummingbird.

    Nice cake when you get back.

    Dinner was the best bit: several options, including a nice veggie one each day (according to the vegetarians on my course). Really felt like home cooking, and plenty of vegetables to go with your choice. Nice puddings, though inexplicably no custard, but you can grab a scoop of vanilla ice cream for with them. Portions were big enough for hungry outdoor folk. Served 7 - 7.45 and if you turned up late you got bigger portions to use it up!

    Having written all that I've no idea about vegans so give them a call. I suspect they'd be used to vegan catering though.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    They also provided food for the overnight expedition. I'd taken my own freeze dried meals and porridge mix, but everything you needed was there.

    I think I probably got lucky on my course - I was the only woman on it, so got a single en-suite room

    I was very pleased I did my training course with PyB, and more pleased that I did my assessment with Snowdonia First Aid. For that course, I got a room at Glyn Peris B&B, which was within my budget, and they do outdoory stuff there as well, so could dry kit, and were sympathetic to someone on ML assessment!

  16. #16
    Widdler
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    It sounds like I'll be well taken care of at PyB

    I've found that Kent mountain centre seems to have dates that match up with mine. Also, the residential price is 375 - which is 200 quid less than PyB. I havent heard back from them about what this includes.. but for their school groups is includes food and accomodation.

    Anyone here heard anything about their setup??

  17. #17
    Widdler
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    A friends recent experience with PyB may be of interest. I agree with all of the above positive comments about the place regarding food, beer, atmosphere etc. However, bear in mind that each day is very much a 9 to 4, except on expedition. You may get training sessions in the evening, so check, my friend got one in his training week. To my mind the learning experience that I got on my training at a local authority outdoor centre (in the 1990's) when such places still existed was enhanced by the discussions, orienteering, and lectures that we got in the evening. He also commented that, if he had gone for training without considerable experience he would have struggled with the course. Day one of the expedition involved backpacking over Crib Goch and not everyone in the party was happy! On that day his navigation training consisted of one 'leg'. Don't even begin to get him started on his assessment. However, to balance all of this out, two other acquaintances have completed their training and assessment with PyB and were very happy with the courses. I do think that it depends very much on the instructors/assessors. I would recommend Andy Newton (https://mt.tahdah.me/course/detail/22176).

  18. #18
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    A kind of balance to RDs points - PyB often have discussions/lectures etc on in the evening which are free to attend if you are residential there - regardless of the course you are on. The climbing wall is often open as well...great to practice those rope skills.

    Much of the learning on the training is not just doing, but watching and absorbing how other people tackle issues - along with discussing them in the group. There is no one size fits all solution to navigation issues and the collective mind is much greater than the single. As for experience - the Training Board have a required minimum number of hill days. Its very very much a minimum in my view and experience with more is better. I went with 10 years of couple times a month plus a BEL Award behind me.

    Same goes for the assessment. In the 12 months between training and assessment I went out twice a month at least regardless of the conditions.

    Hill fitness is another thing. The fitter you are physically the better and the easier it is to focus on what you are there for - in my training a good half of the course dropped out as they simply weren't up to it physically - they couldnt cope with the terrain, the pace and the need to multitask.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Well said, GoF

  20. #20
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Though on my training course I was the only woman, and apart from one or two others, everyone else was a student. On the expedition, one of the other non-students and myself struggled with the pace set by one of the youngsters going up a hill on the second day and dropped behind. The instructor asked us if anything was up, and I just pointed out that we had 25 years on most of the others. This led to an interesting discussion about group management and a salutary lesson to the youngsters!

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