I received my logbook from MLTE for my Walking guide leader last week and as usual for me I had loads of questions to ask. So I fired off an email.
I received my Logbook today for the Walking group leader award and have a couple of questions about filling in the personal walking logbook pages.
I currently have over 15 years hillwalking experience and have kept my own journals, the details of which I will transfer over to the supplied logbook pages. My question is how far back would it be acceptable to backdate my experience? I obviously want to demonstrate as many hill walks as possible.
Secondly I have a large amount of experience in a variety of terrain and areas, many of which would be termed as mountainous and outside of the scope of the WGL award. Could I still include hills walks I have done say in the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Scottish highlands? Many of these have been multi day trips that cover a wide range of terrain and utilise wild camping and bothies. Again I would like to be able to demonstrate as wide a range of experience as possible. If so should I log these on the yellow personal mountain walking pages or on the green non-mountainous remote country pages. Is it worthwhile logging hiking / mountain climbing that I have done abroad?
Finally I would like some advice on leading groups out in the countryside. I work with homeless adults and have in the past taken them for walks in the Peak district (easy non remote areas) which has been great for boosting confidence and for team building. This has been done with the permission of my employer and is something I have permission to do again. However I have not been sure if this is something that I should be doing without qualifications (hence the reason for enrolling on the WGL, afterwards I am planning on doing the ML). Could you give me some advice on what the regulations are regarding this? It would be great to continue taking groups out and add the experience gained to the leading groups page.
I got this very promt reply:
James, No need to copy your existing records into your new logbook. Just include it. All of your experience prior to registration counts towards the required minimum experience. Yes, you can include walks done in mountainous terrain. As you say, you should aim to demonstrate a breadth of experience to your trainers and assessors via the logbook. It would be good to separate out the different types of experience, so the mountainous walks can go on the yellow pages, etc. This in case you ever decide to do the ML scheme, and then your logbook for this scheme would be prepared in advance. There is a page for overseas experience, so yes, put in walks you have done abroad. If you need more pages, there are some in the Downloads section of our website and any that are not there I can email to you.
I think your last question is largely an insurance question. There is no legal requirement for you to hold a qualification to take groups walking, so legally you can continue to work in this capacity. You need to ensure that you are adequately insured, preferably via your employer. You need to ask if you have civil liability insurance. If your employer has no such insurance you should consult with your county’s outdoor education advisor and perhaps consider covering yourself until the matter is sorted out. Mountain Leader Training Association offers the kind of insurance you need. http://www.mlta.co.uk
From the state of my personal logbook I think that it will be best to copy the details over. I have been meaning to get it typed up for years now and this will give me the perfect opportunity to finally get it done. What may be tricky is distinguishing between what it ‘non mountainous remote county’ and ‘mountain walking’. I find that there is often a bit of cross over, especially on a multiday backpack when you cross lots of different types of terrain. I think that I will use the defining factor of ‘steep rocky ground’ to decide what page to put my walks on. Phew I feel some more questions going MLTE’s way!