Martyn Broughton - Hill Skills to Mountain Leader

Martyn Broughton

What skills course did you attend?

I attended a Hill Skills course with Dorian at Trig Point Adventures and then built on this to progress onto Mountain Skills. After this I went on to complete the Mountain Leader qualification and passed my assessment last year [2022].

Why did you want to attend a Mountain Training Skills course?

I wanted to develop myself at work by gaining outdoor skills and then qualifications. My background is as a personal trainer but I’ve moved away from that and more into running outdoor activities as I’ve gotten older. There are things like council walks for health and walks in parks but I knew I wanted more.

Mountain Training courses seemed a bit more in depth than some other courses. I also found that Mountain Training courses are run more often than some others so I was able to book on easily.

What skills did you improve?

I live in a steep-sided valley which can be quite remote so moving on mountain terrain safely was helpful. I learnt a lot of map and compass work including how to use bearings.

Martyn navigating

What was the best part of the skills courses?

I just love getting out! I really enjoyed learning the map reading.

Some volunteers from my walking groups also attended and learning new skills has given them new confidence and enabled our groups to walk to new places they would not have seen previously. By the volunteers learning new skills it has also made the walking group become stronger and more self sustainable for when the time comes when my funding expires and the volunteers run the group themselves.

Do you feel more confident in your skills following the course?

Absolutely! Now me and the project volunteers all use maps and compasses on our local walks. We also track and record our walks on the OS maps app.

How did the course staff support you and the other attendees on the course?

Dorian was brilliant. It worked well as we were at roughly the same level but Dorian managed it for different abilities when needed.

Afterwards he supported me through my Mountain Leader training too off his own back. I now recommend the Mountain Training skills courses and Dorian to the colleagues and organisations I come into contact with through my work.

Navigating in poor weather

How did the skills courses help you progress onto a walking qualification?

I’d done some walk leader training previously but wanted a recap of some skills. I’m the sort of person who has to do things regularly or else I forget them!

I have led walking groups for the last 12 years on mountains in the Rhondda Valley through my work for Welcome To Our Woods and the Be Active RCT projects who funded my Mountain Leader training and assessment. The Mountain Leader qualification gave me confidence that I was qualified and covered to continue with my work and to progress to being able to support my walk leader volunteers.

I’m now Health and Wellbeing lead at Welcome to Our Woods and we have three regular walks a week for people of all abilities. I’ve started running some workshops called “So you Want to Start a Walking Group?” where I pass on my experience of how to run local health walks. They were well attended and have helped people to gain the first steps on their walk leader journeys.

What’s the next adventure you’re planning?

I just got back from staying at Plas y Brenin where I’d wanted to do some winter mountains but the weather was treacherous. I think doing some winter things in Scotland is the next step. I’m also looking forward to heading to Norway with my wife in the campervan soon!

Martyn hill walking in the winter

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