Mountain Leader – The Build Up.

Five weeks to go and i’m freaking out.

Building up to my assessment, its like most big moments in your life – you feel waves of ‘i’ve definitely got this, i’m going to smash it’ to ‘oh dear god, I am SO not ready for this’. The last few months have found me trying to get in as many hill days (or QMDs to those who are really keen) as possible, whilst juggling two jobs, keeping fit (some would call me a runner or triathlete, I certainly wouldn’t), friendships and trying not to blush – a new relationship. I’ve been so focussed on hitting the all important ‘40 QMDs’ needed for assessment as a minimum, that I forgot about the other parts of the assessment. While the QMDs are required, they in themselves are not a skill needed for my assessment. When I don’t get my nav (navigation) right, or can’t safely guide a group over some steep ground, they won’t simple shrug it off and take my 40 QMDs as a consolation pass.

Enough of my panicking – it all started in 2014. I was lucky enough to head up to the Cairngorms for a work training/kit testing week. Being surrounded by those who loved the outdoors, loved hiking in the mountains, loved being free and open to the elements, I was hooked. October 2014, stood on Cairn Lochan, looking down the gully – I thought ‘yeah, I could do this mountain girl thing’. Oh, how naive I was.

Fast forward 2 years. After months of commuting from Reading to North Wales to get my hill days in i’d had enough. I made the move from small village in Berkshire, to tiny hamlet in Snowdonia, my mountains were now a stones throw away. You would have thought I would be able to rack up the days pretty quickly. However, somehow, working two jobs, signing up to one too many triathlons and in all honesty, liking my lie-ins too much, I didn’t get as many days in as I should have.

Now, 4 years after the idea was just an idea, my assessment is looming and its time to get real.

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