The Mountain Skills course is an ideal choice for people interested in exploring mountainous terrain and wanting to develop their confidence in the mountains.
It’s a great way to learn the essential skills you will need to enjoy the mountains in the UK safely. Whether you’d like to feel more confident using a map or you have ambitions to climb Everest, the Mountain Skills course is a great first step.
Delivered by our qualified and experienced mountain professionals, the course is nationally accredited and developed with Mountain Training, the awarding body for qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering.
The courses takes place entirely outdoors and cover a range of topics including what clothes you should wear, what equipment you should carry with you, how to plan your day out, what routes you can take, understanding the weather, how to navigate using paper and digital mapping and dealing with emergencies in the outdoors. You can view the full syllabus in the FAQs below. Our experienced instructors will share their knowledge with you and answer any questions you have about exploring the hills and mountains of the UK.
Each day begins with a short ‘classroom’ session over breakfast at the famous Moel Siabod cafe in Capel Curig in the heart of Snowdonia. The group will discuss the plan for the day, look at the weather forecast and talk about clothing and equipment before heading out to continue the learning in the local mountains. The end of the day finishes with cake back at the cafe whilst the group recaps the day.
Public courses take place throughout the year or if there’s three or more of you in your party you can pick your own date. Book online using the live availability checker or contact us to find out more.
You might also be interested in our Hill Skills courses in the Peak District.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Great question! There’s actually not a huge difference between the syllabus for the Hill Skills and the Mountain Skills courses. The main difference is the terrain in which they take place and what they’re designed to prepare you for.
If you plan on walking mainly in lowland or hill and moorland areas then the Hill Skills course in the Peak District is for you. If you’d like to explore the mountains of the UK then the Mountain Skills course in Snowdonia will be more suited.
Mountain Training sets a limit of eight people however we often have fewer on our courses so you’re always guaranteed the attention of our instructors. All sorts of people come on our Mountain Skills Courses from all sorts of backgrounds and all ages but what they all have in common is a desire to learn more about the outdoors.
Absolutely! Children aged ten and over are welcome on our Mountain Training Hill and Mountain Skills courses when accompanied by a parent, guardian or carer. Discounted prices are available for children aged 10-15 and for family groups.
Both the Hill Skills and Mountain Skills courses take place over two consecutive days and typically run from around 9am to 5pm each day (with a little bit of homework in between!) The aim is to enjoy the weekend and the pace reflects this. Each day starts with a short ‘classroom’ session before heading out into the mountains for the practical element.
Our Mountain Skills course takes place in the heart of the Snowdonia. At around two hour’s drive from Manchester or Liverpool and easily accessible from the South, Snowdonia is perfectly situated.
Many people choose to make a weekend of it and there are lots of accommodation choices around the area. You won’t find any big five star hotels so we recommend sites like booking.com and airbnb.co.uk to seek out a local gem. In the summer there are numerous camping options in and around the area too.
Our Mountain Skills course takes place in the heart of Snowdonia in the village of Capel Curig. There are a few accommodation options nearby that we’d recommend.
- Dolgam Campsite and Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast is a 20 minute walk away and offers a variety of accommodation options from camping for tents, campervans and motor homes to private ‘bunk houses’ and B&B.
- The Rocks at Plas Curig is an amazing five-star hostel right next door to the Moel Siabod Cafe making it a great option for clients. Rooms available for 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 people in double, twin, family and group configurations.
- Dol Peris provides self-catering accommodation in nearby Llanberis (about a 20 minute drive away). With mountain views from every window and run by outdoor professionals we highly recommend it for your visit.
You’ll need outdoor kit for a whole weekend in the hills whatever the weather! You’ll also need an Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 Explorer map for Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa (OL17). If you happen to have an OS 1:50 000 Landranger (115) or Harvey Snowdonia North map then bring them along but don’t go out and buy them specially. The only one you definitely need is the OS OL17 map. You’ll also need a compass. We recommend the Silva Expedition 4 but any long-edged compass will do the job.
Remember to bring enough food and drink with you to last the whole weekend and some money for breakfasts and cakes!
There’s a full kit list below. Please have a look at the weather before setting off and dress accordingly. Better to have an extra fleece and woolly hat in your bag just in case. Remember we’ll be outdoors all weekend in all weathers so be sure to have the right gear. If it’s looking wet then keeping spares clothes to change into in your car is also a good idea.
- Comfortable hill walking clothing – personal base layers and trousers (not jeans)
- Waterproof jacket with hood
- Waterproof trousers (separate to your walking trousers)
- Spare warm/fleece jacket
- Walking boots or walking trainers
- Comfortable walking socks
- Warm hat and gloves or sun hat and sun screen (weather dependent)
- Vacuum flask for hot drink and/or re-usable water bottle
- Personal first aid kit and personal medication
- Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 Explorer map for Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa (OL17)
- Compass (long-edge type such as the Silva Expedition 4)
- Day walk rucksack – approx. 20-25 litres
- Packed lunch and snacks for each day
You can get hold of OS maps direct from Ordnance Survey or from any book store including Amazon but we recommend Dash4It – the map superstore. They guarantee the latest maps at the cheapest prices all with free delivery. They also stock a wide range of compasses.
You can buy outdoor gear from a wide variety of independent and national retailers but MountainXperience recommends Cotswold Outdoor where you’re assured of the best advice and service from real outdoor people. Customers of MountainXperience receive 12.5% off purchases at Cotswold Outdoor stores and online.
The Mountain Skills course requires a moderate level of fitness. It is a practical course where you will be walking for a good part of each day, and learning along the way. Any health issues should be talked through with your tutor prior to the start of the course.
This course is a clear progression from the Hill Skills course. The main difference being that it’s run in the high mountain areas of the UK. As such there is a requirement that you have some experience of hill walking prior to attending the course and also have a reasonable level of fitness. An example of reasonable fitness might be someone who actively participates in sporting activities on a regular basis such as jogging or cycling. If you are unsure about your fitness or experience then speak to one of our course Providers, and if in doubt over which course to attend, the Hill Skills course may be a more appropriate choice.
Of course. The requirements for the Hill and Mountain Skills courses are set out by Mountain Training, the awarding body for qualifications in walking, climbing and mountaineering and can be found below. Don’t be too worried if you don’t understand all the terminology as that’s what our instructors are there for but it might help you decide which level to start at.
- Overview of the mountain walking areas of the UK and Ireland
- Use of walking guidebooks and online resources
- Route planning
- Health and fitness considerations for mountain walking
- Walking techniques and additional equipment
- Managing pace for a day walk
- Nutritional considerations for mountain walking
- Movement skills over steep or loose terrain
- Mountain clothing overview
- Footwear selection for mountain terrain
- Equipment selection and functions
- Seasonal differences in clothing and equipment selection
- Additional emergency equipment
- Effect of weather in the mountains
- Obtaining a mountain area weather forecast
- Effect of weather on mountain route planning
- Use of different maps and scales
- Map features and symbols
- Measurement of distance on maps
- Calculating walking time in mountainous terrain
- Use of Grid References
- Pacing and timing in mountainous terrain
- Introduction of basic use of GPS devices in mountain areas
- Methods of relocating in mountainous terrain
- Compass selection and features
- Poor visibility navigation strategies
- Understand the impact of humans in mountain areas
- Gain an understanding of the mountain environment
- Environmental considerations when mountain walking
- Good practice associated with mountain walking
- Understanding the role of different organisations related to mountain walking
- Identifying potential hazards in mountainous areas
- Managing risk while mountain walking
- Gaining an understanding of common mountain walking incidents
- How to call for help while in mountain areas
- Introduction to the role of Mountain Rescue teams