Herts & Bucks Wing

  Adventure Training Group


Looking Outside

It's natural for a mountain leader or canoeing instructor to get very focused on their own group, and easy to lose touch with what’s happening in the wider world of adventure training. Meanwhile, the outdoor magazines are full of articles and letters about issues like leader qualifications, “right to roam” legislation, the re-organisation of the BMC, the public liability of group leaders, and conflicts between groups and individual climbers or walkers

These pages will be covering issues that have a wider implication than simply what’s going on in the Air Cadet Organisation

To start the ball rolling, here are a few short items concerning mountaineering and mountain leadership. I'm a mountaineer rather than a paddler, so I haven't included any canoeing news - but I would welcome contributions from any paddlers among you...

Finally, I should point out that any opinions or interpretations are mine unless I explicitly quote a different source...

BMC Changes

Anyone looking at qualifications for mountain activities will be confused first by the acronyms, and then by the number of organisations offering courses and qualifications. For example, you need to register with the MLTB for a Summer ML, WGL or SPA, with the SMLTB for a winter ML, and with the UKMTB for a European ML, MIA or MIC. For insurance, a free magazine  and a discounted subscription to High magazine you'll probably want to join the BMC too...

The good news is that these and other boards have all got together to form the “Mountain Services Limited Liability Partnership” (MSLLP) so that registration and other services can be centralised. From January 2002, BMC membership applications and MLTB registrations were handled on one database, with the other boards following suit more recently. Services and products like insurance and publications have also been brought under the new organisation

New Qualification (WGL)

For leading walking groups in the mountains, the Mountain Leader (Summer) award has become established as the baseline qualification. There is a view that the "security on steep ground" aspects of the ML are too stringent for leaders who are only interested in leading groups in areas where there is no steep or rocky terrain, and where the group can always reach a refuge or road within three hours. For these leaders, the Walking Group Leader scheme has been introduced under the auspices of the MLTB.  As with the ML, the qualification requires candidates to register, attend a training course, build experience, and attend an assessment course - clutching their current first aid certificate. Bear in mind that the navigation requirements for WGL - by day and night - are at least as stringent as for the ML

It is possible for people who have done the ML training and have the requisite experience to go straight to the WGL assessment, then do the ML assessment later if they want to


      Web site by: Flt Lt Geoff Bowles RAFVR(T), ML(S), SPA                                                            This page last updated on 01 June 2004