Ian Parker - Mountain Leader


Ian Parker has been an MTA member since mid- 2017 and joined after he completed his training course. He is now a qualified Mountain Leader. 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?

Yes, I have always loved the outdoors. I had childhood holidays in Wales and the Lake District, was a member of the cub's, the local canoeing club and the Army cadets. After college I joined the Royal Marines Commando's!

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

I currently hold the Mountain Leader and I'm now working towards the Rock Climbing Instructor. Not sure after that, I would like to complete the Winter Mountain Leader and possible even MIA further down the line.

What do you do for work?

I'm pretty much desk based during the week as a Mobile Telecoms project manager! But I've been doing it long enough now that it's pretty easy and gives me enough time to plan my weekend adventures.

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

I use my Mountain Leader to do some part time work. As I'm chained to the desk for most of the week the qualification gives me the opportunity to get out at the weekend and do something completely different from my day job. As I'm only working on a part time basis I mainly pick up jobs leading large groups on charity events - my next job is Snowdon at night! I know this type of work might not be popular with some Mountain Leadersand rewarding as well a good way to gain experience and develop your network. At the moment I'm happy to see where this takes me.

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

When I was in the Marines I did a lot of navigation and was fairly confident in my skills however I really under-estimated the level of precision required on the navigation exercises, we never really did much micro navigation. I also found the 'softer' skills challenging, such as group management and coaching - apparently I'm not very patient or empathetic and definitely needed to work on this area. I really enjoyed the whole experience especially spending time with other like minded people and building up my QMD's (Qality Mountain Days) with plenty of people from both my training and assessment - I'm actually climbing fairly regular with a guy from my assessment and we are now both doing our Rock Climbing Insrtuctor qualification together.

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

Don't stress the QMD's, there is a lot of threads on social media about what constitutes a QMD. Just get out on the hills and you will soon know yourself if its a QMD or not. Also, just enjoy the whole experience - it's all about getting out in the hills with like minded people and learning new skills

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

I joined after completing my Mountain Leader. I wasn't really aware of the MTA until that point. I joined for CPD and networking....oh, and the discounts on kit :)

What do you find most valuable about being a member?

There is a good resource library, the CPD training and if like myself you are only doing this part time and don't get out in the mountains as much as you would like it keeps you in touch and up to speed with new idea's, developments and training. There's also the belonging to a professional organization that gives the qualifications some added weight/value and are they are given the respect and Kudos they deserve.

Have you been on a regional event or CPD workshop?

I've done a few CPD workshops with my local group (SE region), run by Steve Pease of Vertical Relief - the steep ground and rope work refresher Steve ran the week before my assessment really gave me lots of confidence and I had no problems when it came to assessment.

Would you recommend the Association to others?

I would definitely recommend to others, even just for the discounts - kit can be expensive! But it does offer so much more, like I've said above its the CPD's and belonging to a professional organisation that do it for me.

What are your leadership plans for the future?

I'm going to continue to build my experience by doing more leading of the charity groups, these jobs are rewarding and can be an ML's bread and butter. They provide a great way to build experience and can be great fun. I want to do some coaching workshops - I know I need some work in this area and the learning never stops. After that it would be nice to do some more bespoke work with smaller groups on other mountains away from Snowdon and Scafell with a little more adventure and commitment (not that a walk up Scafell or Snowdon isn't adventurous or committing!)

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

I've just come back from a weekend in the Lake District with my partner Caroline, she wanted to climb Scafell Pike. I spent a lot of time in the Lakes as teenager and still love the place, it still has so much to offer. It can be beautiful and picturesque and also wild and rugged. It's also accessible and compact enough for a great weekend adventure.