Mountain Leader assessment courses in the Lake District

a mountain leader assessment candidate cooking dinner on a wild camp - chris ensoll mountain guide

Please see the Mountain Leader Courses page for information on course fees, dates, preparation, accommodation & venues, equipment, transport, and useful blog posts.

What are the pre-requisites for the Mountain Leader assessment course?

The period between training and assessment varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. There is no time limit.

Before you book onto a Mountain Leader assessment, make sure you have done the following:

  • You must have attended a Mountain Leader training course (or have been granted exemption)

  • You must be familiar with the syllabus

  • You must have logged a minimum of 40 Quality Mountain Days in three different regions of the UK and Ireland

  • You must hold a current first aid certificate, minimum 16 hours and relevant to your work as a Mountain Leader

  • You must have logged at least 8 nights camping, including at least 4 nights wild camping

What does the course cover

The Mountain Leader assessment is 5 days long and includes a two night expedition. The following areas will be assessed:

  • group management and the responsibilities of the group leader

  • navigation

  • access and the environment

  • hazards and emergency procedures

  • equipment

  • expedition skills

  • weather

Detailed information on each of the above topics can be found in the Mountain Leader handbook (download it from the Mountain Leader page on the Mountain Training website).

A typical programme looks like this:

Day 1: Mountain DayMeet 9.30am at pre-arranged location in the Lake Districtfor course intro. General navigation; group leadership; route selection. Evening question paper
Day 2: Intro to rope techniquesRoute choice on steep ground; appropriate rope work. Evening question paper and expo prep.
Day 3: Pack up and leave the valley accommodation. Expedition day one: route planning; navigation; equipment management; poor visibility navigation. Overnight camp.
Day 4: Expedition day two: mountaincraft; emergency procedures; personal competence; poor visibility navigation. Overnight camp.
Day 5: Expedition day three: return; expedition debrief; course debrief and personal interviews. Finish mid-afternoon.

a mountain leader assessment course wild campsite - chris ensoll mountain guide

What Do Our Clients Say About Us?

Outstanding. Two vastly experienced but humble trainers. Great chat and banter. Lots of really helpful advice. Progression was spot on. 
Jonathan Chuter, May 2009

Has been a pleasure & a privilege to spend a week in the company of two people with such passion and who are so willing to share it with others so generously. Inspiring… 
Verran Townsend, May 2009

Thoroughly enjoyed the training last year and couldn’t think of anyone I would rather do the assessment with. 
Chris Lodwig, Februay 2010

The week was one of incredible highs and lows and with an intensity that kept the adrenaline high all week. I can honestly say that the training and the assessment weeks were without doubt the most powerful two weeks of training and personal development that I have experienced in over 30 years of working with many of the top worldwide organisations in the global automotive industry. The level of knowledge, understanding, support and challenge from the trainers made me want to achieve the ML award even more than I did originally. You have all helped me become a more proficient mountain leader and have facilitated me in learning new skills, and then using them in the hills in a safe, dynamic way. 
Malcolm Wade, training June 2011, assessment October 2011

When talking to others (who went to different providers) about assessment prior to course, the general consensus was that it was one of the worst/most stressful weeks of their lives. I could not have had a more different experience. I found I was pushed and assessed at a very high standard, however there was no unnecessary pressure put on me and I found the whole week very enjoyable and incredibly inspiring. I think pass or fail I couldn’t have come away without being more confident and enthused. Looking back on this course it didn’t feel like a pressure-fuelled assessment, it felt much more like an enjoyable, inspiring week in the mountains with friends. I couldn’t recommend Chris and his team highly enough. 
Graham Simpson, 2012

I had a fantastic week. I learnt loads and had a really enjoyable time. Chris and Jon were always happy to help and answer questions, I think it is brilliant how Chris takes you from whatever stage you are at and pushes you up a notch! Thanks for sorting all the office and admin side out so brilliantly Anne! Made the "scary" ML Assessment an absolute pleasure!
Chris Moore, June 2014

Just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for planting the seeds of how to walk and move better particularly on broken ground on ML training and assessment. This week I've been working a group of mainly older retired people (one was 84!) who wanted to go up Scafell via Lord's Rake, a trip very very much on the top end of most people's confidence. Being able to model good movement on previous days and then coach them on how to move around on scree and broken ground turned what could of been an ordeal of a day for some into a challenging but enjoyable and rewarding one. Made me realise how grateful I am for someone showing me that and how cool it is when it goes full circle and get can pass it on so thank you!
Beth Wallis, training 2011, assessment 2012, feedback received May 2016

Chris definitely put me at ease. I have wanted to do this assessment for so long that I had made myself really nervous. Chris was calm and knowledgeable and helped me feel like I could do it. All the way through he tested us whilst making the assessment enjoyable and memorable. He certainly has a gift for this and I was thrilled that I ended up doing MLA with him. Thank you so much for all of this "little things" that helped develop the big picture....and for putting up with us lot for a week!!
Rhiannon Pritchard, May 2016

Anne is super-organised and her response time is great. Chris's approach works well for me. His attitude of every day is a learning experience inspires confidence and willingness to learn more. From the moment I booked I knew I was in good hands. Organised, friendly and welcoming! Both my training and assessment exceeded my expectations. Chris's wealth of knowledge and experience shows in every situation. My assessment had a relaxed atmosphere that allowed me to perform to a good standard. Thanks again for all of your help and support through training and assessment. I'll be back for more!
Mark Fletcher, September 2017

Perhaps the best of the 14 Mountain Training courses I've now attended. Highly recommended.
Ed Brown, June 2017

I didn't expect to learn so much at assessment - it was so useful. I wish I'd done my training with you too and if I get members of staff wishing to start the process, I'll send them to you.
Ruth Betts, August 2017

In many walks of life we are taught team work, getting the best out of each other as well as supporting, this I think we did. We cant all be leaders all the time and have to recognise each others strengths and use them to bring on each other. Whilst our individual skills were definitely being rigorously assessed, I think Chris allows the other aspects to come through in a fair manner, recognising a team works best together rather than as individuals. This shows experience  and a skill that many do not have when doing assessment or appraisal of individuals working within a team. Others  I know who have gone through the ML assessment in other centres spoke of not being allow to confer, help  on anything and lived 5 days of almost fear. I work in the medical profession and know that this definitely does not bring out the best in teaching and is certainly an antiquated means of assessment particularly when team is so important. I think Chris definitely got the balance correct and would say as such even had I failed. We were rigorously and fairly assessed and I was kept on my toes but more importantly I came away having learnt a lot from both assessor and my now friends on all aspects of the curriculum. This has to be seen as a vital part of the outcome of the week, pass or fail. Many thanks for a really enjoyable week and the knowledge imparted. I can now go down in history as having taught a British Mountain Guide about Black Slugs, unless this was simply a ploy to let me have the upper hand on one occasion.
Alistair Gascoigne, October 2017

Chris was amazing, although this was an assessment course I still learnt so much! Chris has a great reputation in what he does and I had been recommended from a few different people. Take a pen and pad and soak up as much experience as you can! I will definitely be looking at booking onto more of his courses.
Ryan Bond, June 2018

Your website was very good. I got the impression from it that I wouldn’t just be taking the standard Mountain Leader Assessment but would be inspired in other ways too and I was! I learned a lot more even though it was an assessment.
Elizabeth Brown, August 2018

The booking process was easy enough and Anne was extremely efficient at keeping us up to date with information. The course was enjoyable and covered all aspects of the syllabus to be assessed. It was a good programme of events. The three assessors on the course were great to be around and made you feel relaxed, so that it was sometime not obvious you were being assessed! They were great at sharing their depth of knowledge of the mountains.
Sarah Pike, October 2018

I was a last minute addition, you quickly and professionally brought me on board. The programme was excellent - comprehensive, with plenty of space for early assessment flutters, and there was coaching and support of the highest standard throughout. Chris and Simon are highly experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. A real privilege to spend some time in the hills with. A great way to finish this part of my Mountain Leader journey, leaving me with a clear action plan as to how to progress. I’ve already recommended you to friends coming up to assessment.
Jan Knight, April 2019

Everything was laid out in a logical way which allowed you to concentrate on what was happening rather than worrying about what might be next. It is a tiring and pretty full on week as it is so the way Chris delivers the assessment is a big help. The instructors made this assessment for me. Their relaxed approach, positive attitudes and wealth of knowledge and experience changed the week from being something I had stressed about and generally dreaded into an enjoyable experience. I had already completed some Masterclasses with Chris and his approach was one I enjoyed. He convinced me to book my assessment sooner, rather than later and it gave me the focus and drive to fully prepare for it. I only wish I'd done my ML training with him too.
Michael Stones, April 2019

I was quite nervous from the beginning and during the course. Thanks Chris and Simon for your patience and making me feel at ease. This finally made me more relaxed so I was able to 'do my thing in the hills' as I normally do.
Jeroen Daams, April 2019

I support all the other reviews - relaxed atmosphere, continued learning, encouraged to think about concrete next steps etc. etc.
Sandra Schmidt, April 2019

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