Mountain Skills 1
Official MS1 course
To participate in Mountain Skills course 1 you should have a reasonable level of fitness with previous hillwalking experience.
Our instructors are fully qualified Mountain Leaders with REC first aid certificates. We are accredited by Mountaineering Ireland to provide Mountain Skills courses.
…”Just back from an excellent and informative MS1 weekend course with Russell. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about everything on the hills from navigation to vegetation, and it was a lot of fun too! Definitely coming back for the MS2, thank you Russell.” – Alice C
…” Thanks for a great weekend Russ. Way beyond my expectations, despite the challenging conditions!” – Grainne B.
About Mountain Skills 1 course (MS1)
Our Mountain Skills 1 course runs over two consecutive days, usually at weekends. They are predominantly run in the Wicklow mountains.
We work on a maximum ratio of 1 instructor to 6 clients. Discounts may be available for group bookings of 3 persons or more – please Get in touch
This Mountain Skills Course covers the following topics:
Depiction of relief (contours)
Basic navigation techniques
Pacing and timing
Introduction to the compass
The mountain environment
“Hillwalking, climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.” Mountaineering Ireland Participation Statement
|LOCATION||Laragh, Wicklow mountains (but can be other locations in Ireland on request)|
|PRE-REQUISITES||Must have some previous hillwalking experience|
|WHAT TO BRING||Hiking boots and waterproof clothing are essential; hiking trousers are advised, (no jeans please); head-torch; spare warm layer; hat and gloves; lunch and/or snacks; water or juice drink, (1.5 litres); small rucksack to carry it all in.|
Mountain Skills 1 Full syllabus
Mountain Skills Scheme Introduction
- The roles of the following organisations: MI, BOS, trainer.
- Scope of the Mountain Skills course and how it relates to the Mountain Leader
- Introduce the weekend programme.
Maps: Suitability of Maps
To explore some concepts of maps and the history and current suitability of maps
- Properties of maps: aerial view, scale.
- Scales and their effect on map detail.
- Conventional symbols including contours on walking maps – what they represent.
- Suitability/reliability of OS and other production walking maps.
- A brief history of mapping in Ireland.
- Early 1:50000 – based on 1970s photography
- Rest of series – based on 1995 photography.
- Other production maps now available.
- Digital maps.
- National Grid.
- Four-figure grid references.
- Six-figure grid references.
To develop map reading skills, understanding of symbols and basic contour patterns.
- Conventional symbols and what they represent.
- Contour features: flat/steep ground, spur, valley, top, col/saddle, ridge, plateaus, re-entrants.
- Distance estimation – on map and ground.
- Simple navigation technique – following handrail features, easy line features, spurs/ridges etc.
- Direction estimation/map setting.
To explore and illustrate some of the hazards of walking in the Irish mountains.
- Weather: rain, cloud, cold, etc.
- Topographic: cliffs, vegetation, loose rock, etc.
- Human: health, fitness, attitude, etc.
To discuss and show possibilities for hillwalking gear.
- Demonstrate examples of essential gear. Show possibilities for various options.
Depiction of Relief
To illustrate different methods of showing relief in the mountains, with emphasis on
- Contour information – variation in basic patterns of shape, slope, and size of features.
- The role of spot heights and crag symbols.
To stimulate an appreciation of the mountain environment and impart a rounded
understanding of how we can enjoy the hills responsibly.
- Access and land ownership All land is owned; no legal right of access
- The relationship between hillwalkers and landowners
- MI access policy
- Introduction to the Mountain Environment
- Special and fragile habitats
- Knowledge of flora, fauna, geology, history, place names etc.
- Different uses of upland areas
- Changes in the mountain environment / pressures
- Introduction to Leave No Trace programme
- Guidelines for how we can enjoy the outdoors responsibly
- Based on framework of 7 principles
- Impact of our actions on other people, on soil, water and vegetation
Course & Hikes Calendar
Use the calendar below to find available dates for this course. The arrow buttons will take you to the next or previous month.