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The Hill and Moorland Leader Qualification


I’ve long been fond of the Hill and Moorland Leader qualification. Even in its previous guise as the Walking Group Leader it was a worthy qualification for many leaders. But now with the explicit nature of its title if you are leading walks on the moors or hills of the UK then it really is worthy of further investigation. Companies asking for mountain leaders are not always aware that things have moved on and there is now a perfect qualification for those leading day walks across most of England and Wales and big chunks of Scotland too. Strangely the Irish haven’t adopted it.


In terms of leadership, navigating, emergency procedures and environment the qualification is the same as the mountain leader, just that it all takes place in slightly less steep and less rocky places. Places where you can walk around the hazardous bits of hill. There is no requirement to be able to use a rope and there is no camping included.


If you are going into the hills and the use of a rope will not be required in any circumstances, if you are not overnight camping in the wild and you can see and walk around any steep slopes or cliffs then the Hill and Moorland Leader course is well worth considering.



Both the assessment and training courses are three day affairs and both have night navigation. In some ways navigating across featureless moorlands or areas with wide contours is actually harder than navigating in the mountains where there is an abundance of tight contours to read. The Hill and Moorland leader will need to be adept at avoiding bogs and be able to cope with some heather bashing too. Again, however, once qualified, as with the mountain leader, paths will mostly be followed.


Imagine a hill like Ingleborough or Pen y Fan. There are hazardous areas, but they are obvious and can easily be avoided even in poor visibility. The Cheviot, the North Yorkshire Moors, the Pennines, Dartmoor, the Pentland Hills, the Southern Uplands, Harris, Balmacaan Forest or the Campsie fells, just off the top of my, are all places where the Hill and Moorland Leader is a sound qualification to hold. Furthermore, it’s a brilliant step in the gaining of confidence if you want to work towards your mountain leader qualification.




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