01690 720214

Mountain Leader Summer Refresher

Course Overview

Open Trainees and Holders of the Mountain Leader Award, this intensive two day course serves both as an update for anyone whose training or assessment course was completed some time ago, and as an opportunity for constructive criticism on areas of personal performance for those considering assessment. It is intended as a forum to look at current ideas, techniques and practices. It also provides an opportunity to raise questions and hopefully dismiss fears concerning assessment. Topics covered include micro-navigation, weather, emergency use of the rope and leadership. However the precise structure remains flexible to best suit the needs of the course members.

Experience Required

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

This course is designed to be relevant to three groups of people associated with the Summer Mountain Leader award:

  • Anyone planning to attend for assessment, who did their training some time ago and wish to reassure themselves that they are current and up to date.
  • Those who are considering their assessment and want to give an extra boost to their personal skills.
  • Anyone who already holds the award, but would like to ensure their skills are up to date, particularly if they have not been very active recently.


What we cover

The course will start with a discussion to determine the needs of you, the student.  With a high staff to student ratio this is usually possible.  The weekend will be weather dependant, although we intend to look at the areas which candidates tend to need most practice and revision on:

  • Micro-navigation
  • Poor visibility navigation if appropriate
  • Emergency ropework techniques  
  • Leadership on steep ground

It is recommended a reasonable period of time elapses between attending this course and returning for assessment.  This allows a realistic period of consolidation.

Useful Books

  • Hillwalking by Steve Long (MLTUK official pub.)
  • Mountain Navigation by Peter Cliff

Also recommended reading
  • Looking at Weather by Ingrid Holfard
  • Mountain Weather by Pedgley
  • Weather for Hillwalkers & Climbers by M Thomas

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Personal mountain clothing

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sunhat

  • Walking boots

  • Day rucksack

  • Rucksack liner (e.g. rubble bag or dry bag)

  • Drink bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Headtorch

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

  • MT logbook and registration for award

  • Compass (Silva Expedition 4 recommended)

  • Fine permanent pen (for writing on laminated maps)

  • OS Explorer 17 1:25,000 Snowdon & Conwy Valley (ideally laminated if not bring a map case) (Can be purchased from our shop)

  • OS Landranger 115 1:50,000 Snowdon (ideally laminated if not bring a map case) (Can be purchased from our shop)

For MIA Refresher you will also need:

  • Rock shoes

  • Harness

  • Helmet

  • Climbing rack

  • 2-3m of 5-6mm cord for prussic loops

Plas y Brenin will provide all ropes for use during the course. If you plan to climbing in your free time you will need your own ropes.

Customer Reviews For This Course

ML “Refreshing Refresher

Joynul Ahmed

This was a very informative and helpful course all designed around the needs of the group.

We had to deal with challenging weather conditions 50-80 mph winds and rain, Just what we needed to remind us of the beauty of nature.

Our Instructor gave us good trip, pointers and suggestions that were real and useful for improving mountaineering skills, the best of which was to “book an assessment ASAP, as one will never feel completely ready for it.

Definitely recommend it to anyone who need to brush up on existing skills.

Apprehensions removed

Colin Gimblett

As we drove into Capel Curig, I was feeling quite apprehensive about the weekend. As an award holder, would I show myself up or come away with new skills?
Saturday morning we meet our instructor "Mo" who was very friendly and asked a few questions to understand our backgrounds and what we wanted to get out of the weekend. then it was off for a full day on the Hill. At times this pushed me to my limits, but at no time did I feel unsafe or made to feel uneasy. The walk off the mountain took a lessor known track that I really enjoyed especially going through the waterfall!
After cake (a PYB ritual) we had some rope work practice just across the road and then it was off to the good evening meal and then after a drink in the bar my colleagues and I attended the friendly easy going Saturday night lecture. Ours was in kayaking in Kenya, which isn't usually my thing, but in the end really enjoyed it. Sunday morning was spent on practising our rope work skills, where I was introduced to the South African Abseil (not part of syllabus in my day), which was interesting and a lot more comfortable than previous ones! The afternoon was micro navigation around "The Horns" on the slopes of Snowdon, which I enjoyed nearly as much as Saturdays decent. In the end I think that did show myself up, but this is my own evaluation of how I coped with the rope work. Mo was very professional and very supportive throughout the whole weekend and helped me identify my own development needs. The facilities at PYB are excellent, the rooms, the bar and the food all good. I would happily come back again and definitely recommend it for anybody considering that they need a refresh either before or after taking their ML.

Keeping Up to Date

Richard Souter

Attended an ML Summer Refresher this weekend over 17 years after passing the assessment.
Although I've been continuously active in the intervening years, it was very reassuring to see that my skills were still of the required level and up to date.
Many thanks to our Instructor - Mo Barclay - for the tips and tricks she showed us, her unending enthusiasm despite the rain and for two very enjoyable days.
It wasn't my first course at PYB and it won't be my last :-)

Many thanks,


Just as relevant even when you hold the qualification.


The majority of attendees were prepping for assessment, but as an award holder I found the course just as useful. The excellent instruction and differentiated approach provided confirmation, reassurance and progression of skills. Excellent.

Great Course to update and progress

Daniel Claricoates

I took this course to help refresh my skills and to update myself in preparation for an ML assessment.
I would strongly recommend this course to anyone who is in the same position looking to either develop themselves ready for assessment or to update themselves if time has passed since last using the qualification after assessment.
The course itself was brilliant, a very experienced instructor gave good direction and information as well as making each day interesting with local information which all MLs would find useful.
The course allowed us to cover Micro navigation and rope work skills, it also allowed us time to work on other aspects of the ML syllabus we were unsure of. The course was very practical and took us to various locations in the Snowdonia National Park and was set at a good pace.
The staff taking the course and in the centre itself were all very friendly and professional.
The Centre has great facilities and accommodation, very clean and with very good food and has an informal, friendly and enjoyable environment.
In summary a great course, great value for money and worth the time. Great for feedback and to plan and discuss the next steps either towards assessment or to use your qualification in the future.


Simon McGreevy

Great accomodation, good food, excellent facilities, great staff and excellent bar!

Great course


Everyone got something out of the course, and helped to pick up my confidence that i am nearly ready for my ML assessment.

Thank you for another excellent course!

Nigel Higgins

Very Happy with my Mountain Leader Refesher course.

The course did exactly what it said on the tin & demonstrated where I'm at as far as my assessment goes & gave me direction on how to address the issues I have i.e. the only point I could reliably locate with any precision was the Lush summer ale pump in the "Small local pub of the Year" (CAMRA) :)

A Navigation Skills course will be completed before going for assessment.

Particular thanks must go to our course director Dave. His relaxed, friendly & common sense approach really showed us what leadership was about & he never missed an opportunity to make us stop & think about exactly what it was that we were trying to achieve (or completely cocking up!)

Look forward to to relocating the centre again soon.

ML Refresher Course With Dave Evans

Martin Brooke

I just wanted to saay a MASSIVE thank you for ALL the PYB Team. I was a the ML Refresher Course on the 10-11 August. I wanted to think about the experience I had on my long way back ome after this course, and give it the attention it required.

I came up on Friday night, later than I thought, ad was greated witht a Warm Welcome and Smile on reception. this made me feel welcomed and relaxed after a stressful journey. The accomodation was very good and the facilities were what i thought and expected from PYB. The Course was exactly what I expected from it would be, and I gained exactly the right amount from it. The standard of the instruction was spot on and helped me get from the course what i intended.

I understand that the Instruction is only part of the experince and that the other half is all the background staff that you don't see or get the recognition that they warrant. I am a coeliac so can not eat Wheat or Gluten, this sometimes can be an issue with some places i've stayed at. But at PYB this wasn't the case and my needs were met and the Kitchen staff were warm and friendly and nothing seemed to be too difficult.

Once again Thank you to all TEAM members and my experience was brilliant and just what i thought it would be from the National Mountain Centre.


Highly recommended

Jon Naylor

An excellent short course - both instructors were enthusiastic and flexed the weekend's activities to suit our varied needs. I feel confident now to go ahead with the ML Assessment.

Really excellent

Philip Brittain

The course was really excellent as the two instructors tailored the programme to meet the needs of the 8 participants. Given the wide range of experience within the group with some already assessed and others who had done their training quite a while previously. I found that being able to use my skills and practice in a mountain environment together with informed help and critique was exactly what I needed.
I would not wish you to shorten the days but on a personal level I found that my 5 hour drive home was really tiring! As a leader one does get used to working when tired.
As a teacher I did feel that the IT provision in the small seminar rooms needed upgrading and making more user friendly; as we sat in on an ML training session on the weather which had a disasterous start because of the computer system.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

Other Courses you should consider?

Mountain Leader Training (Summer)

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Mountain Leader Assessment (Summer)

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