The Jack Bloor fund supported me to complete my Mountain Leader Summer Assessment. I spent much of my childhood walking in the Yorkshire Dales with my family. Then I found myself working in the outdoor guiding industry and it became clear that to progress my guiding opportunities I needed the relevant qualifications. Hiking guiding was my main area of interest so Mountain Leader was the perfect starting point, however it is a large financial and time commitment. I completed my training course in April 2018 and then I used the summer of 2018 to consolidate the skills I had learnt and to practice for the 5 day assessment. This involved getting Quality Mountain Days, practising wild camping, learning about flora, fauna and weather systems, and most of all practising navigation.
After a lot of hard work the week of the assessment came along in early September in the Lake District. After of a lovely hot summer in the UK, our assessment week had a mixture of fair weather and strong winds and rain, which tested us and our equipment.
Day 1 – We spent the first day starting with a day navigating, it was the day to get our heads in the game for the rest of the week. We also went through a home paper assessment we had done.
Day 2 – We spent the day out in a rocky area near Kirkstone Pass, here we were practising our rope work; belays, confidence roping and abseiling, as well as our movement in steep and rocky terrain. It was a really enjoyable day out on the hill. The evening was spent preparing for our expedition.
Day 3-5 – We spent on a 2 night expedition, where we navigated in the Langdale Valley for 3 days and wild camped in the mountains. We also spent one evening being assessed on night navigation until about 1am, this is tricky, but luckily we had a dry evening for it! We also broke up the hiking a little by doing presentations on topics to do with the mountains, I choose to talk about mountain birds and ecology of dry stone walls.
Finally we returned, a little damp and rather tired but after a warming cup of tea in a pub, I received the happy news that I had passed and was now a qualified summer mountain leader!
I am extremely grateful to the Jack Bloor Fund for supporting me to get this qualification, so I can pursue the career that interests me so much.