01690 720214

Hill Skills - 5 Days

Course Overview

If you have an interest in hillwalking but lack the skills or confidence to venture out on your own, this five day course will help to develop and improve your navigation, route planning, and knowledge of both emergency procedures and the mountain environment. Throughout this practical course you will have the opportunity to explore the dramatic higher peaks of Snowdonia, and travel over some of its wilder terrain.

Experience Required

an interest in hillwalking rather than experience is important.

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who's it for?

This week is ideal if you have an interest in hill walking but lack the skills or confidence to venture out on your own. As we could be out on the hill all day, every day, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Course Content

This is a very practical week involving walking, navigating on and off the beaten path. There will be an opportunity to experience some basic scrambling. Most days we will be out all day, exploring poplar and less visited corners of The National Park. Over the week we'll look at:

  • An introduction to mountain navigation - including basic features and symbols, using a compass, basic relocation techniques and an introduction to GPS

  • Walking Skills - what things you should consider while out walking and what can make life easier (pace, nutrition, movement skills)

  • Mountain clothing and equipment - what to wear and carry, pros and cons of walking poles, try out a variety of walking boots and look at different types of rucksacks

  • Mountain weather - how it affects the mountains, your day out and hoe to cope with it

  • Route finding through difficult ground

  • Planning a mountain day - how to successfully plan a walk in the hills and mountains of the UK or Ireland

  • Environment - learn about the upland environment and how human impact has affected it, how to minimise your impact on the hill and good practice

  • Hazards and Emergency Procedures - how to deal with any hazards you encounter and what to do in an emergency

There will be a couple of evening sessions during the week expanding on some of the areas above.

The week will adapt according to the prevailing conditions to make the best of any weather.

This course exceeds all the requirements of Hill Skills an accredited scheme by Mountain Training if you wish to receive a Mountain Training certificate of attendance then you will need to speak to your instructor and register with Mountain Training. You can do this on the Mountain Training website here

Useful Books

  • Hillwalking by Steve Long (MTUK Official Publication)
  • Best Walks in North Wales by Richard Sale
  • Nature of Snowdonia by Mike Raine
  • Navigation in the Mountains by Carlo Forte (MTUK Official Publication)

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?

  • Warm outdoor wear - at all times of year e.g. walking trousers (shorts in summer), thermal layers/base layers, fleeces, good quality walking socks

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

  • Walking boots

  • Day rucksack (min 30 litres)

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

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch Bag/Box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Head torch (winter months)

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant (summer months)

  • Notebook and pen

  • Compass (Silva Expedition 4 recommended)

  • Maps - OS 17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley 1:25,000 (and OS 115 Snowdon 1:50,000 for navigation courses).Laminated maps are great as you don't need a map case and you can make notes, mark point etc. (Can be purchased from our shop)

  • Fine permanent pen (for writing on laminated maps)

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores so you don't need to rush out to buy them.

  • Walking boots

  • Day rucksack

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Compass

Customer Reviews For This Course

Wow! Far exceeded my expectations.

Roger Bull

I attended the Hill Skills course from 22nd-26th May and I would like to take this opportunity to say is a huge 'thank you to everyone involved. This is in no particular order but, firstly to the members of staff who were always friendly and helpful and incredibly knowledgable . Secondly to the catering staff as the food was consistently excellent and crucially, plentiful! Thirdly, to my fellow attendees for their warmth, friendship, patience and tolerance. I found the course itself quite physically challenging but incredibly rewarding. A quick observation is that 'Hill Skills' doesn't do it complete justice as we appeared to be walking up mountains rather than hills! At least that's how it felt to an old bloke from a pretty flat part of the country. I lost count of the number of times I muttered 'Trades Descriptions Act' under my breath. Rather than drone on longer than necessary here are my 'pros & cons': "Pros" Pretty much everything really. First class instruction; challenging but achievable routes; fantastic scenery; great value for money. "Cons" Only one. The accommodation was very basic. I shared a room which was about the same size as the adjoining bathroom. There was nowhere to adequately store clothing, suitcase and rucksack. It was also the hottest week of the year to that point. However, if anyone is still reading this don't let that put you off. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to do some walking or, improve their skills. I started this review with a series of 'thank you's" and would like to end it with another. This one is to the instructor Rich Cooper. Mate, you are an absolute star. You gave me the confidence to scramble up Y Gribin, something I would never have thought possible as I'm terrified of heights. The sense of achievement I felt will always stay with me and I have you to thank for that. Now if I can just afford all that lovely ME gear.....

Yes but no.

Norman Cho

The course was excellent and the instructor, Chris, could not be faulted. It wasn't easy but probably harder than that I expected. However, this is an outdoors course so no complaints there!
1. Instruction and instructor were excellent. This is, I believe, my 4th course here, and have had no complaints about any of the courses.
2. Flexible and responsive. The course I was on was a very basic one but once Chris determined that our level was a little higher, he was happy and able to adjust the course to a higher level.
1. Food was bland with occasional highlights. While I wasn't expecting Michelin starred cuisine, I was pretty disappointed. Being a keen if occasional cook, I would say that the issue is not the ingredients but attention to detail with regard to timing and seasoning. Did no one taste the food before putting it out?
2. Either put soap in the dispensers or remove them altogether. On my last day, I was told by one of the reception staff that towels and soap were provided in the showers. Got there after a wet and muddy day. Stripped off, stepped into a shower, and no soap came out of the soap dispenser. Towelled off, got back into my wet and muddy clothes, went downstairs to complain. Was informed by another member of staff that they do not put soap in the dispensers because everyone brings their own. No one at reception actually seemed to grasp that this is a real problem. This single detail took the edge of a good day for me and was one of the first things that popped into my head when thinking about the week.
3. No safety briefing. Was informed by reception that the first day briefing was to be held in the lecture room next to the bar. Myself and a few others went there and waited. And waited. And waited. Before we eventually found out that the briefing had been moved because Conwy Council had booked the room. Having been on a number of outdoor courses and only recently completed an outdoor first aid course, I wasn't massively bothered. But this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
4. Intermittent wifi only available in the bar. In 2016.

I would have to say that the pros outweigh the cons. The staff were informative, friendly, and professional. The instructors and equipment are first class. I would come back for them again.
The admin and catering waver from good to Basil Fawlty.
I was told by more than one person working at the centre that the installation of a sauna is being contemplated. I would not be unhappy if a steam room was installed but I would say that these are not priorities.
Would I come again? Sure. But I admit that I view it as a place to pick up necessary skills from good teachers.
Would I choose to come here for a holiday? No.

Good 5 days instruction & practice


Very good 5 day course starting with the basics of navigation while out walking everyday. Hardly any time inside, mostly all day on the hills learning and using basic navigation. Also spent a day scrambling up Tryvan which was a great last day. Beautiful location and walks. Be prepared for full days on the hills.

Learning and Fun - Winning Combination

John Preston

I wanted to improve my navigation skills in the hills, did that! I also thoroughly enjoyed learning from brilliant instructors and interacting with team members and meeting people on other courses over meals and in the evening in the bar. The facilities were great, the food was tremendous and the experience totally immersive. A tremendous break from day to day life. The location is beautiful and inspirational! Definitely recommend it.

Anna Sutherland

I had done quite a lot of walking in the hills but not for many years and I had not done much navigation. The course felt like exploring in the hills with some summits. The instructors were kind and extremely competent. We were often directed or led, we also made our own way and sometimes one of the instructees led. The instructor checked we knew where we were and where we were going and showed us how to orientate ourselves. Under direction we made and followed our own bearings. We practised pacing and learnt to read our maps more effectively and did some route finding. We found features on the land identified on the map. There was quite a bit of scrambling and coming down steep slopes. The instructor spotted us if we needed it. Reading the Hillwalking book on the list before coming might mean that new techniques are not a surprise. Everything was explained very carefully so it was easy to learn. For novices or people brushing up it will probably be important to practise more but after your course you will know what to do. There were fascinating evening talks from climbers and a kayaker about their adventures. The weather was good. Plas Y Brenin was overall very friendly and welcoming. The food was good and the rooms were fine. A course well worth doing

The Course does what it says on the tin!

Alistair Ward

I used to alot of hillwalking, mainly on Dartmoor, about 35 years ago. My recent hillwalking had been in the compnay of friends who do all the planning. I wanted to come on this course so that i could relearn map reading, navigation and basic hillwalking skills in order to giove me the confidence to go out on my own and take my enthusiastic 12 year old with me. I arrived on the course and had my own room which was more comfortable than i had expected for an outward bound centre. The food throughout was far better than expected both for the evening and breakfast meals and everythung for packed lunches is provided. There were only four of us on the course and we had excellent instruction from Murdo and then Steve for the last two days. The course covered everything that it said it would and we covered Map Reading in detail, route planning, taking bearings, pacing etc etc.......I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to get back into Hillwalking, going off the beaten track and felling confident to do it on your own. The whole atmosphere of PYB was very friendly, welcoming, good accomodation, great food and i look forward to coming back again. Thanks very much.

Just what we wanted!

Naomi Chowcat

This course did exactly as advertised, giving us the confidence and skills to venture off classic routes and find our own way around in the hills. We were surprised to find that there were only 3 of us on the course - so we got individual attention and plenty of say in what we covered. This was great for us but it seems to be an underuse of the excellent facilities. If you feel it is time to leave the obvious paths or guide yourself instead of being taken on walks, then this course covers what you need to know to stay safe and still be adventurous. It also took us a bit beyond our own expectations so that we felt confident that we were within our capabilities when we put our new skills into practice the following week - we didn't get everything right on our own but we recognised where we had gone wrong and were able to correct our mistakes without getting into any difficulties. For walkers who don't live in the hills but want to enjoy them when they can, this course is a must!

Exciting and Adventurous week

Sue Watkinson

I attended the Hillwalking Skills course from 27th April to 1st May. We had loads of practice navigating using compass and map; it became second nature. I loved the rugged scenery and could not stop looking round at it, the Peak district will be very tame in comparison. We climbed Snowdon, Y garn, Dafydd and Llewellyn amongst others. We had a real mix weather wise from sunshine to low cloud and mist not to mention torrential rain and strong winds. It was especially good to experience navigating in the mist, the day on Carnedd dafydd was very good for this. I managed to get some great photos of dramatic scenery, these will be printed to put on my office wall at work to remind me. The centre itself is very welcoming and the staff are cheerful and helpful. The instructors Paul and Stuart were very patient with their explanations. The food is great and very welcome after a day on the hills. Thank you.

Brilliant course.

venkata kopparapu

I have not been into hills before and was looking for some good course. I booked a five day Hill walking skills course with PYB after many people suggested and gave me the good feedback. Obviously I came with high expectations and I was not let down in any way . Enjoyed the whole week.

Very knowledgable Instructors. Good accomodation and food. Very helpful staff.

I would suggest this course for sure for any one who has no experience or little experience. I gained a lots of confidence and knowledge after this course.


Brilliant Course

Peter Holme

The 5 days Hill Walking skills was a brilliant course. The Instructors were extremely knowledgeable and informative. Food fantastic, room comfortable and adequately equipped. Equipment for use was really good quality.

Snowdonia National Park is extremely beautiful and a joy to walk.

Talks/lectures were very informative and entertaining.

Expectations Exceeded

Iain Saunders

I attended a taster session at the centre some years ago with my youngest son and made a point to return at a later date. The Hillwalking course was the opportunity.
I wanted to pick up some skills so I would have the confidence to venture out in a small party or on my own. From day 1 the course exceeded all of my expectations. I was provided with 1st rate gear for the week by helpful stores staff. Matt the instructor demonstrated all the attributes of a skilled leader. He introduced concepts in real situations and allowed each of us to practice them. He was able to assess the strenghts and weaknesses of us all and use them to the best advantage of the group. I learned a great deal in this week.
The accomodation was good. The shower could benefit from being bit bigger and the bar needs better heating by the windows. The food was good and the staff without exception are a credit to the centre. The girs who clean the bar in the morning are a real hoot. The evening lectures were a treat and delivered by people with first hand experience of adventure. Solid role models for all the students. I have made new friends during my visit and enjoyed every minuite of the experience. I expect to return in 2009. Best wishes
Iain Saunders

Wendy Power

Excellent accomodation and organised week. Very approachable and communicative leading and staff , who were clearly very experienced. Only criticism was that the groups could have been changed/mixed up a little during the week.

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

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Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

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