Hill and Moorland Leader FAQs




1/ I heard that the Walking Group Leader is changing its name?

Yes, as of 31st March 2014 the Walking Group Leader will be renamed the Hill and Moorland Leader.

2/ What does the name change mean?

We’ve removed the Overnight Experience and created a separate Expedition Skills Module, which will be shared by the new Lowland Leader award. For anyone already involved in the Walking Group Leader, read the appropriate section below to find out what the changes mean to you.

For existing WGL award holders:

After a lot of thought Mountain Training has decided that the best action we can take for the benefit of existing holders of the WGL is that we continue to clearly recognise the validity of your award. On the Candidate Management System you will still be shown as having gained the WGL. We will also undertake administrative work to show that you have also ‘gained’ the new Hill and Moorland Leader award.

This will mean that: a. You will still be able to operate exactly as before as a holder of the WGL b. You will have confirmation that Mountain Training recognises that you have demonstrated the competencies required to gain the new Hill and Moorland Leader award and c. Should you so wish you will be able to undertake the new Expedition Skills Module (two day course) which will explicitly extend the recognised scope of your award to include wild camping in appropriate terrain.

For candidates who have completed WGL training:

The major change from the WGL will be that the ‘overnight experience’ section of the syllabus has been removed and a separate Expedition Skills Module has been designed to act as an optional ‘extra’ for those gaining the leadership award. As someone who has completed WGL training you have obviously undertaken some training to prepare you for this module.

Mountain Training will automatically convert your current registration for WGL to a registration for the Hill and Moorland Leader award. Your training course will also automatically be recognised as completion of training for Hill and Moorland Leader. Any assessment course that you undertake after 31/3/14 will be run using the new syllabus and guidance notes and will mean that a successful assessment will result in you becoming a Hill and Moorland Leader.

The new award will enable candidates and staff to concentrate on the core skills of leading groups on walks in the uplands of the UK and Ireland. You will also automatically be registered by us for the newly designed Expedition Skills Module which you can elect to take after completion of your Hill and Moorland Leader assessment. This will mean that if you wish you will be able to undertake the new Expedition Skills Module (two day course) which will explicitly extend the recognised scope of your new award to include wild camping in appropriate terrain.

For candidates who have registered for WGL but not yet attended training:

Mountain Training will automatically convert your current registration for WGL to a registration for the Hill and Moorland Leader award. Any training course or assessment course that you undertake after 31/3/14 will be run using the new syllabus and guidance notes.

The new award will still require completion of a training course and also an assessment course but will enable candidates and staff to concentrate on the core skills of leading groups on walks in the uplands of the UK and Ireland. You will also automatically be registered by us for the newly designed Expedition Skills Module which you can elect to take after completion of your Hill and Moorland Leader Award.

3/ I don't know whether I should choose the Hill and Moorland Leader or the Mountain Leader!

The Mountain Leader scheme involves wild camping, movement on steep ground and some rope work, whereas the Hill and Moorland Leader does not involve steep or rocky terrain or camping (although this can be added by doing the Expedition Skills Module).

Hill and Moorland Leader assessment candidates have to navigate with the same level of accuracy as a Mountain Leader, but over ‘moorland’ type terrain. Hill and Moorland Leader terrain is well defined by obvious boundaries, such as roads and coastlines and any hazards within it are identifiable and avoidable.

4/ What is the terrain definition referred to above?

The Hill and Moorland Leader award offers the opportunity to gain and demonstrate technical competence in leading groups on hill walks in areas of the UK that fall within the technical definition outlined below. Such areas may often be subject to hostile weather conditions and require an element of self-sufficiency and this is reflected in the syllabus of the scheme.

Suitable terrain for the Hill and Moorland Leader meets the following criteria:
  • 'Open, uncultivated, non-mountainous high or remote country known variously as upland, moor, bog, fell, hill or down’. Leaders should be aware of variations in terminology and not allow names to prevent a more objective assessment of whether a particular piece of terrain falls within the scope of the award.
  • Areas enclosed by well-defined geographical or man-made boundaries such as classified roads (areas that border mountain regions and do not have well defined boundaries are excluded). Some boundaries such as walls, fences, forest plantations and water features may change over the years. Walking group leaders must be certain that any feature that bounds their area in which they are walking is reliable.
  • Areas of remoteness that are exited by the group in a few hours, returning to a refuge or an accessible road. You and your group should normally be able to exit from your chosen route within three hours. An accessible road could be considered as one that can be used by a standard ambulance and a refuge is a place which can provide shelter and from where help can be summoned, such as a building with a telephone.
  • Areas where movement on steep or rocky terrain is not required (in either a planned or unplanned situation).

5/ What is a Quality Hillwalking Day as applied to the Hill and Moorland Leader scheme?

The quality of a hillwalking day is the cornerstone of a prospective leader’s experience. Many factors such as the weather, the nature of the ground, the terrain and the physical and mental challenges will affect such days. However, it is the combination of these factors which make a positive contribution towards your development and maturity as an all round leader of walking groups.

For a walk to make a positive contribution to the experience of the prospective Hill and Moorland Leader, some or all of the following criteria should be fulfilled:
  • you take part in the planning and leadership
  • navigation skills are required
  • experience must be in terrain appropriate to the scheme
  • knowledge is increased and skills practised
  • attention is paid to safety
  • four hours or more journey time
  • adverse weather conditions may be encountered
Known walks in similar conditions are unlikely to make the same contribution to a person’s hill walking experience as those involving an element of exploration as defined above. Likewise, walks as a group member being led are unlikely to fulfil the above criteria. Wide experience as a hill walker in several different regions, in varying weather conditions, is a key element to becoming an effective walking group leader.

6/ Is camping included in the Hill and Moorland Leader?

Camping is not included in the Hill and Moorland Leader syllabus. There is an optional Expedition Skills Module which can extend the scope of your award if you plan to work with groups on multi-day expeditions.

7/ What's the first aid requirement for the Hill and Moorland Leader award?

For the mountain leader, first aid is an essential skill and the Mountain Leader assessment requires the presentation of a current first aid qualification.

The minimum requirement is that such a course must involve at least sixteen hours or two full days of instruction and include an element of assessment.

Candidates are further expected to undertake such additional elements of first aid training as are consistent with their work in wild and remote country, including emergency assistance and evacuation techniques. It is the responsibility of award holders and/or their employers to evaluate their likely work and the type of situations that they can reasonably expect to encounter and to maintain current appropriate first aid training and qualifications. First aid FAQs.

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