Fabian Seymour - Winter Mountain Leader & Rock Climbing Instructor


Fabian Seymour has been an MTA member since 2014 and is a qualified Winter Mountain Leader working in the outdoors. Read more about his outdoor journey...

MTA 200

Have you always been interested in the outdoors? What inspired you to do a qualification with Mountain Training?

I think that the love of the outdoors (and especially snow and ice) was stirred in me back in 2001-2002 when I had the amazing opportunity to work in Antarctica as a research scientist. When I returned to the UK I very quickly joined a mountaineering club to be able to get my annual snow fix. It wasn't until 2014 that I decided to go for a Mountain Training qualification. Originally, I signed up to do it because I wanted to ensure that I was as safe as possible on a hill with friends and learn some tricks of the trade!

What awards do you hold? What awards are you working towards?

I hold the Mountain Leader, Winter Mountain Leader qualifications and the Rock Climbing Instructor Award. At some point it'd be nice to give the MIA and MIC a go, but I think I want to spend some time using my qualifications to gain a bit more experience working with real clients.

What do you do for work?

I’m starting to use my awards as a freelancer and also teach navigation through the National Navigation Award Scheme. I run my own small outdoor enterprise but when I’m not in the mountains I run a course for Universities around medical technology and healthcare innovation development! I love it and I try and bring contextual and ‘real world’ outdoor teaching and approaches into the lecture theatre. I have two seemingly mutually exclusive jobs which are not as distant as they seem!

How do you use (or plan to use) your qualifications?

I’d like to be able to use my awards to enthuse, inspire and enable folk to get out on the hills more. I’m keen to be able to work on ML courses.

What did you find most challenging and most enjoyable about working through your qualifications?

Trying to fathom out DLOG and what to log, where and how is still a bit of a challenge for me. The other most challenging aspect has been self-induced – assessment nerves! But the most enjoyable aspect has been the realisation that I can do it – and even during assessments I learn as much as in the formal training to add to my skill set. Going forth with a new award is exciting and can be scary at first but as a saying goes – you only learn to drive after you’ve passed your test.

What advice would you give to anyone going through their qualifications?

If you’re worrying about Quality Mountain Days (QMDs), copy and paste the bullet point list of what Mountain Training specify is a QMD into each entry you want to include and tweak it to address that particular entry. Not every point will be relevant but if most apply you can be sure you have a QMD. This may apply more to me than others, but really try and enjoy it. Don’t rush it. Experience really counts and if you can demonstrate that with your logbook it’ll make you feel more confident. You will learn as much on assessment as you did in the training.

At what stage in your outdoor journey did you join the MTA? What was your main reason for joining?

I saw the option to join when I first registered for the summer ML. I decided there and then to join because of the support offered to those going through the qualifications.

What do you find most valuable about being a member?

What always stands out is that there is a great network of people all at different stages of their journey to meet up with, go and practice skills with and make new friends. It can be a bit lonely starting up as a Mountain Leader by yourself so it’s great to have a support network around you for advice. And to feel part of a professional association. There are a number of highly respected instructors who also run workshops for MTA members. The association listens to ideas for new workshops and events from the membership and where possible – runs them!

Have you been on a regional event or CPD workshop?

I’ve been on a number of such events now and loved each one. There is such a diverse range to choose from – technical climbing aspects through to moorland ecology and geology. The opportunity to get instruction from respected instructors and experts in different fields is invaluable. And meeting fellow MTA members has launched new friendships, opportunities and peer-led skills practice sessions with others at the same stage as me – usually in the build up to an assessment!

Would you recommend the Association to others?

Absolutely – It’s a brilliant association and I’m proud to be part of it. It is a proactive association, and you need to get involved, go on events and meet people to get the most out of it. The more you put in you’ll get way more out of it than just gear discounts!

The support available has definitely helped me with my awards.

What are your leadership plans for the future?

I’d like to get more involved with teaching on training courses as well as gain more experience working as a summer and Winter Mountain Leader and Rock Climbing Instructor before thinking about the higher awards.

If you had a day to go for a walk or climb anywhere, where would it be and why?

Gosh that’s a tough question. If I can cheekily include a bivy I’m hoping to do a Cuillin traverse at some point soon. But I’d be just as happy anywhere in the Cairngorms on a clear winter’s day. The vastness and sheer size of the plateau has a particular magic about it.