More congratulations are due to Robert, Sunil and Sandeep who successfully completed their Mountain Training Hill Skills course with us this weekend in the beautiful (and sometimes sunny!) Peak District.

The Hill Skills course is the ideal opportunity for those new to the outdoors to build up confidence and develop essential new skills. Whether you’ve never hiked further than the bus stop or you have some hill walking experience and want to learn more, this is the perfect course for you.

Our weekend began at the fabulous Penny Pot Cafe, Edale in the heart of the Peak District. We choose this venue not only for its amazing location but also its tasty breakfast snacks and warming loose leaf tea! Following introductions we got straight down to work examine the Ordnance Survey map for the area. The group’s knowledge ranged from never having seen a map before to having use one once or twice so this was a great opportunity to learn. We quickly got to grips with understanding what we were looking at, we learnt about grid references, talked about contour lines (how maps display height) and discussed where we might walk to today.

We then moved on to the other important things we’d need to know before heading out. We discussed the weather and where we’d need to look to get an accurate hill weather forecast and talked about what outdoor clothes we should wear and what other equipment we’d need to bring with us. Then after a final toilet break we started walking.

On our first leg of the walk we talked about the ‘navigator’s journey’. These are the things every navigator needs to know before setting off on a navigation leg:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to get to?
  • What’s the journey going to look like?
  • How will we know when we’ve got there?
  • How will we know if we’ve gone too far?

This was something we were going to practise a lot over the weekend! The rest of day one continued with us developing our navigation skills and it was great to see the confidence building in the group so quickly.

On on second day in the hills the group were keen to explore further so we took the opportunity to head up high on to the Kinder Plateau. Using our new navigation skills from the day before, each member of the group took it turns to ‘lead’ a navigation leg from our start point and out into the countryside … which they all did brilliantly!

The real challenge followed as we scrambled our way up a fabulous valley and out on to the plateau. For some it was their first experience of scrambling (where hiking starts to move in to rock climbing) but all managed the task with ease.

Find out more about our Hill Skills in the Peak District or Mountain Skills in Snowdonia courses.