Mountain Leader Award

The Mountain Leader Award scheme is designed for people who want to lead groups in the mountains, hills and moorlands of the UK and Ireland. If you love being out in the mountains and want to share your enthusiasm with others, become a Mountain Leader Award holder and you’ll never look back (unless you’re checking your group’s still there!).

Mountain Leaders operate the length and breadth of the country with all sorts of groups of people; from scouts and schoolchildren to outdoor instructors and OAPs. The award is what you make it and there are countless opportunities for passionate Mountain Leaders.

Is it for me?

The prerequisites for registration are as follows:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You should have at least a year’s worth of experience of mountain walking
  • You should have an interest in leading groups in the mountains
  • You must be a member of a mountaineering council: BMC, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland

You must also:

  • Have an account with the Mountain Training Candidate Management System
  • Be registered on the Mountain Leader scheme (this costs £44)


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

  • You must be registered on the scheme
  • You must have recorded a minimum of 20 Quality Mountain Days (ideally on DLOG) which can have taken place at any point (pre- or post-registration)

Mountain Leader training lasts for 6 days.

The Syllabus

Mountain Leaders should be competent in the following key areas, all of which will be covered, to a greater or lesser extent, during your six day training course.

  • Group management
  • Navigation
  • Access and the environment
  • Hazards (including steep ground and rivers) and emergency procedures
  • Equipment
  • Expedition skills
  • Weather
  • Background knowledge

Detailed information on each of the above topics can be found in the Mountain Leader Handbook and the onus is on you to be competent in all of them by the time you come to assessment.


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. You can use the excuse ‘I’m preparing for assessment’ to have as many mountain adventures as you like, so get out there and explore this beautiful country of ours!


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

The Mountain Leader assessment is 5 days long and includes a two night expedition.