Cath Sinclair's outdoor journeyCath Sinclair has been an MTA member for the past 3 years and holds the Mountain Leader award. Read more about her story:
Have you always been interested in the outdoors? And what inspired you to do a qualification with Mountain Training?
Brought up in a walking and nature loving family, I walked up Snowdon aged 5 and never looked back!
The inspiration to do mountain training came from wanting to increase my skills as I was already leading walks and my friends encouraged me to follow my dream.
What awards do you hold? What awards are you working towards?
I have just achieved my summer ML and am planning to freelance before I decide on further qualifications.
What do you do for work?
Before having children I worked for an engineering company. More recently I gave up work as a sculptor’s assistant in order to focus on my home/family and ML training.
How do you use (or plan to use) your qualifications?
Having just qualified, I’m now looking for freelance work helping folks to have fun and learn in the outdoors.
What did you find most challenging and most enjoyable about working through your qualifications?
Finding the time and travelling to distant mountains areas for QMDs was probably the most challenging aspect for me. Being alone, off path, in thick mist was out of my comfort zone at first but now I’m confident in my abilities.
I enjoyed all aspects of working towards summer ML and also meeting some great people along the way. It was very rewarding to see my skill and confidence levels increase as I progressed and I enjoyed being able to help others who were ‘navigationally challenged!’ A magic moment which stands out was in a remote part of Scotland when a solo slog through thick mist in order to tick a QMD unexpectedly became a spectacular ridge walk above a cloud inversion!
What advice would you give to anyone going through their qualifications?
Allow plenty of time. I took 2 years between training and assessment. Do a lot of practice for navigation and ropework so you don’t fumble. Take advantage of the opportunities and networking provided by the MTA local area groups.
At what stage in your outdoor journey did you join the MTA? What was your main reason for joining?
I joined as soon as I knew I was going to work towards summer ML although I didn’t go for training straight away. Joining the MTA helped me to focus on my goal and network with like-minded people.
What do you find most valuable about being a member?
There are many aspects: The Professional Mountaineer magazine, networking online and at local area events, the members area of the MTA website has some useful articles, access to insurance and gear shop discounts…
Have you been on a regional event or CPD workshop?
I have been on several regional CPD events which were invaluable, thanks to the great volunteer coordinator for my area. The weekend with a mountain rescue team was fantastic with night nav, ropework, first aid etc covered and great insight in to the working of the team.
Would you recommend the Association to others and why?
Definitely! I have found it so useful and friendly.
What are your leadership plans for the future?
Having only just qualified, I’m happy to consolidate my award and am looking forward to using it for work.
If you had a day to go for a walk or climb anywhere, where would it be and why?
I would climb Tödi, a 3614m peak in the Glarner Alps (south of Zürich) because I have very happy memories of leading a hiking club in the foothills near there.