Walking to the top of a mountain isn't everything when it comes to leadership qualifications.
Leadership isn’t a skill reserved for mountain walkers alone.
The UK and Ireland have some stunning lowland walking areas which are often utilised by groups such as the Scouts, Girl Guides, Cadets and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, not to mention the Ramblers’ Association and a whole host of other diverse groups.
Leading on this terrain has often felt like a walk in the park for some, whereas for others, it requires all sorts of skills they’re not too comfortable with, such as reading a map and knowing how to deal with an emergency.
For many years the only qualificaiton on offer from Mountain Training for such group leaders was to become a Mountain Leader. A brilliant and highly regarded award designed for use in the mountains, but not particularly suited for people leading occasional walks in the lowlands, for example.
As Lowland Leader Award provider Paul Smith from Rock and Water Adventures explains, “I’m certain that the Lowland Leader will be of particular interest to those adults who may feel that the requirements of the Walking Group Leader and the Mountain Leader are beyond their needs, experience levels or time commitments.”
Is the Lowland Leader Mountain Training’s most accessible award ever?
We think so, and here’s why…
You don’t need to travel far
Building up a logbook of walks will be straightforward for many people as they regularly go hill walking in non-mountainous terrain because it’s close to home and easy to organise. Life can get in the way of coordinating a weekend trip to the Lake District or Snowdonia but gaining experience by meeting up with your friends for a day out or a summer evening leading the local Scout troop is part of a weekely routine for many people.
The award it suitable for a really wide range of user groups
Lowland Leader Award provider Kit Preston, from Standon Bowers Outdoor Education Centre, sees the award is suitable for both Duke of Edinburgh Awad leaders and “school teachers taking children out for field studies, who see this as good accreditation of competence, outdoor instructors, youth leaders and in fact young people who have done Duke of Edinburgh awards and want a next step.”
It fits into your life
The training and assessment courses are two days each, which means they can take place over a weekend so there’s no need to take time off work.
Many people will already have the prerequisites
Before attending a training course you should have a minimum of 10 varied walks in lowland terrain, where the use of a map is required, or, have attended a walking and navigation personal skills training course recognised by Mountain Training (such as Hill Skills).
Recording your experience is easier than ever
Mountain Training’s new Digital Logbook (DLOG) is a great place to record your walking days. Walks you did many years ago are just as valid as those that happened last weekend.
You’ll feel confident leading in some incredible places
The leadership opportunities for Lowland Leaders are varied and far reaching, from the South West Coast Path to the Great Glen Way; walking in lowland areas can be no less spectacular than walking high up in the mountains. And with campaigns such as Britain on Foot and Walking for Health proving really popular, there’s never been a better time to be a walking leader.
There are Providers (and therefore courses) the length and breadth of the UK who have been approved to deliver the Lowland Leader award so most people should be able to do a training and assessment course close to home.
Find out more about the Lowland Leader Award which will be launched on 1st April.
This article is part of a series of articles celebrating Mountain Training’s 50th anniversary year in 2014.