Mountain Skills

Mountain Skills

Our popular mountain skills training courses are designed to help you enjoy the full pleasures of the mountains. To build your confidence in your ability to navigate and look after yourself safe while exploring the countryside.

Navigation forms the core of mountaineering, and it is an art to have the capability to guide yourself safely in the mountains in poor weather conditions or failing light and to avoid natural hazards.

We offer full tuition on all aspect of mountain skills while at the same time teach you a little about flora and fauna.

Our courses are broken down into module to cover; map reading; feature recognition; pacing and timing; taking and following a compass bearing; a short night navigation exercise; mountain weather and its effects; how to organise and plan a safe walk; equipment and environmental issues.

90% of the course is practical and done on the mountain; with only two short indoor sessions.

All our courses are run by approved instructors and under the syllabus of BOS or Bord Oiliuint; which is the Irish Mountain Training Board. BOS develops and administers training schemes.

Mountain Skills 1

Day 1

Starts at 9.30 am approximately with a short briefing session on MS 1 and the structure of the following two days.

The first half of the first day is spent on the mountain with the map only; orientating the map, ie. Holding the map in relation to the features on the mountain.
After lunch we will introduce you to measuring distances and timing, i.e. working out how long it will take you to get from one location to the another.

We will leave the mountain around 3.30 pm to do some indoor tuition on the appropriate walking equipment to carry and wear on the mountain.
The final hour we will look at the weather, and it’s effects on your day’s planning and hypothermia.
Your day ends at approximately 5.30pm/6.00 pm

Day 2

The day starts at 9.30 with a short briefing on the day and then on to the mountain.

We will cover all of the first day’s session and at the same time introduce you to pacing and timing (Naismith’s Formula) It is a practice used to measure distances on the map using the compass and converting it to the ground.

Over the two days we will also be looking at long-distance features; trying to identify them on the map from the mountain. Also teaching you to locate your own location on the map as you travel.

We leave the mountain at 3.30 pm approx. for another short session indoors introducing you to a route card and planning a safe walking route from the map for your day out on the mountain.

Finishing the day with a briefing on the weekend, any questions and a short talk on what is involved in MS 2. Also, a handout of the two days activities

Mountain Skills 2

Mountain Skills 2 is an advanced course on Mountain Skills 1.

Day 1 starts depending on the time of year; Nov to Feb at 9.30. March to Oct depends on the length of the daylight we have at the time of year, the reason for this is that we do a short night navigation at the end of the day working into the dark.

We will be covering all that we have done on MS1 today, plus adding in the taking and following of a compass bearing.

The final part of the day is in the dark using your compass to stay on a bearing; pacing; timing and all the skills you have picked up over the previous 3 days.

This is not a dangerous exercise and will not be carried out where there is any danger to you or any other member of the party and will be no longer than two hours in duration.

Day 2

Meet at 9.30am, briefing on the day and then on to the mountain.

Today we do an exercise on somewhat steeper terrain (Nothing Dangerous). This exercise shows you how to look after yourself on steeper ground—also working on any weakness that you may feel that you need more practice on, i.e. compass, pacing or whatever.

Our course raps up at 4.30pm with a short briefing; any further questions; notes on the weekend and a short talk on Mountain Skills Assessment.

Notes on both weekends

Our mountain skills courses do not include:

Food or Accommodation

Equipment:  Full mountain equipment is required i.e. rucksack, lined with plastic bag liner,  spare clothing, fleece, hat and gloves and a full set of waterproofs.

Good strong walking boots; lunch and water. Waterproof map and Sylva 4 Compass.

For the night navigation, you will need a good head torch (Petzl Recommended) 

If you do not have any of the above; please contact us in advance and we may be able to provide it for you.

 The courses can be broken down into two weekends at the cost of €120 per weekend, and you are under no obligation to take the complete both courses.

The cost of the full course is €240 per person to include full tuition by a registered BOS instructor; ratio of a maximum of 6 to 1.

All courses are run by Christopher Stacey (Mobile 087 2698659)