Mountain Leader training courses in the Lake District

two candidates on a mountain leader training course walking in the mountains in the lake district - 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 training course?

  • You must be at least 18 years old

  • You should have at least 12 months mountain walking experience

  • You should have an interest in leading groups in the mountains

  • You must be a member of a mountaineering council: British Mountaineering Council, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland (you can join one when you register if you're not already a member) - find out why

  • You must register for the Mountain Leader scheme

  • You must have recorded a minimum of 20 Quality Mountain Days which can have taken place at any point (pre- or post-registration)

What does the course cover?

All Mountain Leader training courses cover the following areas over the six-day programme:

  • 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 seminar: mountain weather
Day 2: Intro to rope techniques. Route choices on steep ground; appropriate rope work. Evening seminar: access & conservation
Day 3: River crossing and emergency procedures. Evening: expo prep.
Day 4: Pack up and leave the valley accommodation. Expedition day one: route planning; navigation; equipment management; poor visibility navigation. Overnight camp.
Day 5: Expedition day two: mountaincraft; emergency procedures; personal competence; poor visibility navigation. Overnight camp.
Day 6: Expedition day three: return; expedition debrief; course debrief and action planning for assessment. Finish mid-afternoon.

In the colder months the training course programme is usually changed from a three-day/two-night expo to a two-day/one night expo, and also this occasionally happens during the warmer months due to adverse weather conditions.

candidates on a mountain leader training course navigating in the dark - chris ensoll mountain guide

What Do Our Clients Say About Us?

All of the instructors have been exceptional. It was a really enjoyable relaxed atmosphere. Just enough info was given along the way without info overload. 
Sammi House, February 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

Course was fab. Exceeded my expectations. Experience of instructors was invaluable. Thank you. 
Paul Gubbins, October 2012

Chris is awesome!
Tom Reader, June 2015

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

Thanks again for a fantastic 6 days in the fells on MLA training, I had a great time. I was both mentally and physically exhausted by the time I got home, but learnt loads! Your attention to detail and commitment to training us was much appreciated. I’ve hopefully taken on board all the advice and guidance you gave and plan to put into practise these new skills shortly. I very much look forward to the assessment in 2017.
Andy Hope, August 2016

Chris took us beyond the syllabus where he felt that we would become better leaders if we did so - this is very much appreciated and led to a much more engaging experience. It was great not to have a box ticking exercise, and to have something that reflected the nature of the group. Chris is clearly a highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and experienced instructor. His ability to engage with people is truly excellent - I am so glad that I chose to take this course with him. Esther was a superb additional trainer and complemented Chris well with her approach and knowledge.
Alex Massie, August 2016

Each day whilst on the course we received regular de-briefs and had the opportunity to ask questions and take notes about areas we had covered. Chris was very patient with each candidate and also took time to pass on his wide knowledge of the mountains, terrain, flora and fauna and other interesting and related information.  Chris has a mind of knowledge and wisdom, overspilling with enthusiasm for his love of the mountains and everything around them, which actually rubbed off on all of us. Very professional indeed. Research was enough to convince me that Chris would be a brilliant guide, hence me wanting to do my assessment with him if this proves possible. Just had a great week and although I consider myself to be relatively experienced in the mountains, learnt so much from Chris and Esther. 
Chris Godridge, August 2016

Thank you for an awesome few days training!
Tilly Cottrell, January 2018

Booking procedure was efficient and straightforward. Enquiries were responded to promptly. The additional information provided was really useful e.g. the kit list. The programme was well thought out to match the group and weather conditions. Our instructors Chris and John had different but complimentary styles, both were really clear, supportive and helpful. I was looking for a provider in the Lakes but I chose Chris because I was impressed with the website containing lots of supporting information and with the positive testimonials. I love learning new things and I found a lot to learn! Chris was a supportive, knowledgeable and inspiring instructor. He didn't stick solely to the curriculum, adding in lots of additional skills along the way. I found his emphasis on 'movement' particularly fascinating and rewarding. I now feel really motivated to consolidate my learning and tackle the ML assessment.
Mick Loftus, January 2018

Really challenging but good programme covering a lot of different areas. Learnt many new skills in areas I wasn't familiar with. Programme allows you to be involved from the very beginning and it very much 'hands on'. Great mix of practical and theory based learning. The guides we had over the week were excellent, very knowledgable in all areas. Willing to spend extra time with any areas you needed extra help with. All had different teaching styles which worked well. Changed the course programme when needed (due to weather) and still covered all the relevant materials. Made sure you were consistently learning but done in a friendly atmosphere.
Craig Mordue, March 2018

Easy booking and great communication before the course. Prompt response to emails. Both Chris and Simon were great instructors. They were knowledgeable, enthusiastic, great teachers and very approachable. They have got years of valuable experience and exude their passion for the mountains. A really enjoyable week. I learnt new skills, learnt my strengths and weaknesses and had fun. I have come away with an action plan to turn my weaknesses into strengths and am looking forward to consolidating my skills before assessment.
Lucy Foster, August 2018

Thanks for a great week! Your website has loads of useful and interesting information that was helpful for my preparation. And I appreciated the prompt confirmation email when you received my payment. The river crossing was a highlight for me because it was really fun. The search and rescue scenario was good because it was quite hard and made me consider what I would do in a real situation. I appreciated all the nav and ropes practice and feel I have a solid theoretical base and am raring to get out and practice more. Chris and Simon were both excellent, knowledgeable and personable guides. We benefited from having both of you as you have different styles that complement one another. I felt encouraged and supported by both when things were hard, and left feeling enthusiastic to get out and practice the skills I learnt. I found it quite hard and it was a steep learning curve, but I am really keen to get out, practice, and get good enough. So thanks for the patience, encouragement and expertise from both Chris and Simon.
Clare Bernstein, August 2018

Originally I was planning to book with Glenmore Lodge, but decided it was out of my price range. As a second choice, I chose to go to the Lakes to be near where my partner works. I chose to go with Chris above other providers in the Lakes because of the central location, and because of lots of very persuasive testimonials on the website! I thought Chris had a good reputation and the people's feedback suggested he would be supportive and really trying to get the best out of people, rather than treating the training as a box-ticking exercise of working through the syllabus. Happy to say they seemed to be right! I want to thank Chris for teaching me about moving on steep ground - I am really aware of the way I move now and I think improving my movement will be fundamental to building my confidence when leading groups. I think the training has really highlighted for me the areas I need to work on and made me keen to get out and practice! I've already recommended the movement masterclass to some of my friends.
Tasmin Fletcher, November 2018

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