The Summer Mountain Leader award (ML) is administered by the Mountain Training and trains and assesses candidates in the skills required to lead a group of hill walkers anywhere in the UK under summer conditions. As such it is seen as an essential qualification for those wishing to work in the outdoors industry and with outdoor centres, school groups and the voluntary sector.

The ML is also a vital tool for hillwalkers and mountaineers wanting to review their personal skills, allowing them to expand their knowledge of current best practise.

To be awarded the ML a candidate must complete the training course and pass the separate assessment. All candidates should leave a minimum of 6 months between training and  assessment courses in order to consolidate the techniques learned and to develop their own personal and group skills.

Before you come on a training course you must be 18 or over, have registered for the award with the Mountain Training and have completed 20 quality mountain days.


During the six day training course you will learn skills such as

  • group management

  • poor visibility and night navigation

  • security on steep ground

  • emergency procedures and equipment

  • access and conservation

  • wild camping

At the end of the course all candidates will receive one to one feedback from the instructor giving them a detailed overview of any potential areas that need work and a realistic timescale to assessment. Download program here.


The five day assessment will cover all areas of the syllabus. You will be assessed at your micro navigation, steep ground ropework and group management. The program can be found here.

Further information

The cost of this course is £395.00 including self-catering accommodation and will take place in North Wales or the Lake District. As Mckinlay mountaineering works in partnership with The Youth hostel Association (YHA) accommodation will be at fantastic local YHA hostels including, LlanberisEskdale and Borrowdale. All the accommodation used will make the best of the stunning remote locations they are in. 

Please see course dates for specific course details, and booking form and programme. If you are a large group of 4 or more we will be able to offer you alternative dates. Please contact us for more details. We offer ML reassessments as well. Just contact us for more details