Development Event at Glenmore Lodge

An insight into the Mountain Training Association

Joining the Mountain Training Association is something you can do at any stage of your Mountain Training journey. There are many benefits to being a member which you don’t get by simply registering for a qualification and working your way through training, consolidation and assessment.

The only prerequisite for becoming a member is that you have registered for a Mountain Training qualification and it only costs £36 a year – a steal considering the access to gear deals, cheaper insurance, quarterly magazine, development workshops, good communication with Mountain Training and a listing in the ‘Find a Leader’ search on the Mountain Training website (to name but a few). If these are things you need in your life, find out more or join the Mountain Training Association now.

If you’re still undecided, one of the biggest benefits of Mountain Training Association membership is the opportunity to share with and learn from other members. Here’s a little insight into what some of them are all about…

Hilary Binns

I first started climbing when my son discovered Reading Climbing Centre shortly after it opened. I just figured that if I learned the basics then I could belay him. One session and I was hooked! I did my beginners climbing courses at Adventure Dolphin in Pangbourne and soon became a regular at the Ladies Club at Reading.

When it was suggested that I train for Climbing Wall Award I didn't really realise what I was letting myself in for, but it has been a great journey. I now run regular climbing club sessions at Adventure Dolphin and coach on learn to climb courses as and when needed. I am really looking forward to adding more outdoor climbing to my experience as well as completing my Foundation Coach award.

Andrew Holborn

Despite living in Brighton I was introduced to the mountains via school and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. From about age 14 we joined the Gold training and assessment courses and teachers took us up the North Wales mountains where we younger ones walked as a seperate group led by one of the staff. Part of the excitement was an extended minibus trip from Brighton to Nantgwynant via London and Birmingham at a time when there were only a couple of motorways in the whole of the UK! I can still remember my first view of Snowdon from the road at Pen-Y-Gwryd. The MLC had only been going about three years, but at least two of our teachers held the award. Parents helped sow a love of the mountains through holiday camping trips to the West Country and South and North Wales.

44 Years later I am still going strong and enjoying the moors and mountains. After a career in teaching I had a late change of 'jobs' and now provide mountain training courses and have had plenty of adventures in UK mountains, Scottish Winter routes and Alpine ascents. I have a lot to be grateful for to those great teachers who helped start it all off. Get out there and have a go - you never know what you might find to inspire you!

Kate Worthington

After University and Further Education, I trained as a Primary teacher and worked for a short time in the South East...but inspiration led me back to the Lake District and I worked for a worldwide mountaineering expeditions company. How excited was I to be unpacking filthy tents from Everest expeditions and re-writing their glossy brochures?! I quickly registered for my Mountain Leader Award and had well over 100 days for my logbook, thanks to experience with family, friends, clubs and societies. By 2007, I had gained my first Mountain Training award, met my husband Ross (we met at Plas y Brenin on our Mountain Leader training course) and was working full time for Adventure Cafe, in Kent, heading up their UK event organisation which involved sales, admin, logistics and leading on the hill - such great experience.

From 2008, I was freelancing further afield, building good relationships with employers and travelling a lot from home, including overseas. In 2010, Ross and I decided that living in Kent was too far from the mountains we loved. So we moved, with our then 8 month daughter, to North Wales, where I had spotted a house for sale at the foot of Snowdon. The plan was to keep developing our own business, RAW Adventures, from a place where we could incorporate work, family and life a little more cohesively. I have since gained my Winter Mountain Leader Award and am loving living in Snowdonia, mixing business and family life - it's always a challenge and never dull!

Richard Townshend

1959 - tobogganed into a gorse bush in the New Forest, granny needed help to extract me.
1969 - tobogganed into a barbed wire fence with 6 mates on Winchester golf course.
1979 - climbed Point 5 with Jon Conville, mentored by Al Kimber.
1989 - directed my first ML course (possibly not the most important moment of the decade).
1999 - Lubiyanka (the climb not the prison) with Tim Jepson.
2009 - commented on ice climbing web blogs saying 'we did that years ago'.
2014 - cycling in New Forest, probably achieved 'old fart' status, loving it.

Karen Shaw

A fresh faced Summer ML I was inspired by my parents. My Dad passed his Summer ML in 1973, one of the youngest ever candidates at that time he was 21. His assessor was none other than the legendary Johnny Cunningham and his expedition from the Lodge took place at Ben Alder because the Cairngorms were in blizzard conditions! Mum passed hers in 1979 with the equally renowned Blythe Wright as her assessor. So while my story is just beginning it seems it was always in my blood.

Passing my Summer ML means the world to me and, while I know it is only the start of the learning that will continue through my mountaineering career, it allows me the opportunity to continue my voluntary work with young people encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors as much as I do and helping them to see how inspiring the Scottish mountains can be. It also provides a welcome contrast to my day job as a desk bound chartered accountant!

So whether you’re a parent, a freelancer, employed at a centre, new to the outdoors or a seasoned professional; the Mountain Training Association is all about supporting its members and has something to offer you.

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