Hill and Moorland Leader FAQs

1/ Should I choose Hill and Moorland Leader or 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 camping can be added by doing the Camping Leader qualification).

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.

This page might help: Which scheme is right for me

2/ What terrain does the Hill and Moorland Leader qualification cover?

The Hill and Moorland Leader qualification offers the opportunity to gain and demonstrate technical competence in leading groups on hill walks in areas of the UK and Ireland 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 scheme.
  • 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. Leaders must be certain that any feature that bounds the 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).

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

The quality of a hill walking 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.

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

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

5/ What's the first aid requirement for Hill and Moorland Leader assessment?

Full details here: First aid FAQs.

6/ Does the Walking Group Leader qualification still exist?

No, as of 31st March 2014 the Walking Group Leader was renamed Hill and Moorland Leader.

We removed the overnight experience element of the syllabus and there is now a separate, optional Camping leader qualification.

Back to Hill and Moorland Leader page.

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