The Role of a National Mountain Centre

Here at the heart of the Snowdonia national park, we enjoy a whole world of adventure on the doorstep.

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Helping people get active in the outdoors

As the National Centre, Plas y Brenin develops the people that develop the outdoor sector – from instructors to centre managers to expedition leaders to NGB officers to policy makers. This includes developing inspiring coaches, instructors and leaders in adventure sport, be they volunteers or working professionally in the sector, to better support people, from all backgrounds, to get active in the outdoors.

By hosting conferences, symposiums and meetings, we bring together practitioners from across the UK (and beyond) to share learning, transfer good practice and raise standards. This inspirational venue, with a world class reputation, is also committed to helping individuals nurture their skills and confidence for independent adventures.

Owned by Sport England, the National Centre is managed on their behalf by the educational charity, the Mountain Training Trust.

Our Journey Begins

The origins of Plas y Brenin

Plas y Brenin was built in 1798 by Lord Penrhyn as the Capel Curig Inn. It provided accommodation for Queen Victoria, Kings Edward VII and VIII, and George V and was renamed the Royal Hotel in 1870.  In 1854, author George Borrow visited and wrote the following for Wild Wales his book about his journey through the country;

“Having walked now twenty miles on a broiling day I thought it high time to take some refreshments and inquired the way to the inn. The inn, or rather hotel, for it was it was a very magnificent edifice, stood at the entrance of a pass leading to Snowdon, on the southern side of the valley.”

Aside from a few years of use as a mountain warfare training centre during World War II, the building remained in continual use as a hotel for over 150 years. The Central Council for Physical Recreation acquired the site in 1955 for use as a national recreation centre, with funding from King George VI’s memorial fund. The centre was renamed Plas y Brenin, meaning ‘The King’s Place’, in his honour.

Ever since, Plas y Brenin has been at the forefront of outdoor instruction. While the exact courses on offer have varied over the years, with disciplines as diverse as horse riding and fly fishing on offer, the main focus has never shifted from the importance of getting active outdoors.

Since 1997, Plas y Brenin has been operated on behalf of Sport England by the Mountain Training Trust, a not-for-profit charity founded by the British Mountaineering Council, Mountain Training UK and Mountain Training England. The charity was founded specifically to run the centre, and in doing so ensure the continued delivery of world-class training while encouraging more people to get active in the outdoors, regardless of their abilities or experience.