Nicola Foyle's skills story

Nicola Foyle

Have you always been a hill walker?

I have always been in the outdoors, mainly due to my parents taking us on holiday camping and walking. I did my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award but I have done less walking on my own as an adult.


What do you do for work?

I am currently a teacher working in a school for students with high functioning autism. I have been there over five years and teach geography, history and citizenship, I’m the ASDAN coordinator and Duke of Edinburgh Award manager. I mainly teach students who are in Key Stage 4 and 5.


Why did you decide to do a Mountain Skills course?

I decided to do a Mountain Skills course as I had recently got a promotion at my school to become the Duke of Edinburgh Award manager and an expedition supervisor. I needed to work towards a qualification of some sort but first wanted to start refreshing my skills so I decided to do a Mountain Skills course.


What did you find most useful about the course?

It gave me confidence to start working towards a leadership qualification and also to get back on the hills under my own steam.


What would you say to someone thinking about doing a Mountain Skills course?

I would say that if you have some experience of walking in the outdoors and want to increase your skills to take on more mountainous areas with more confidence then a Mountain Skills course would be a good fit. Our instructor was brilliant and took us through the course but also pushed us.


Why did you want to be a Lowland Leader?

I was originally going to do the Hill and Moorland Leader qualification but after the training course realised I would not get the walks in time in order to have a qualification before I started the first expedition season for my DofE students. I dropped down to do the Lowland Leader assessment instead. I am still working on getting the experience needed for Hill and Moorland Leader assessment if I want to go for that in the future.


What do you do with your qualification?

I take students aged 14 to 19 years old out on their DofE expeditions including Bronze and Silver levels. This is part of my teaching role at my current school.

What’s next?

I don’t know. I have done my NAAS Silver navigation course recently to continue developing my skills but I am still deciding if I want to do the assessment to become a Hill and Moorland Leader.