Course Comments

2013

Winter Week 2013

There was good communication between everybody before the start of the course so I felt comfortable seeking additional advice about what to bring etc. (especially important for novices). There were two formal tuition evenings covering first winter skills and second avalanche risks. These were nicely put into practise when we were on the hill. All the leaders were approachable and were happy to discuss other aspects of winter mountaineering on a less formal basis. I was always informed of what we were going to do the following day and what to expect. I have not only learnt valuable skills during my week but also good tips and advice about buying equipment and clothing. All the leaders I was with were fantastic. All very patient and knowledgable. David is an excellent teacher. Paul is possibly the calmest man I’ve ever met. Loved the day out with Owen & Steve, navigating in a whiteout & still keeping the enthusiasm high. Two days later they helped rescue an injured ice climber. Good value for money and I would be hard pressed to find suggestions for improvements from a novice point of view.

Sharon


Winter Week 2013

This was the third winter week I have been on and as per usual, I had a great time. Owen and the team ensured that everyone’s needs were met (or exceeded) and that ultimately, everyone enjoyed themselves. Feedback has always been asked for on all courses, and unlike some places, it is actually listened to, thank you! I’d highly recommend this to anyone up for an exciting adventure (after making sure I’ve got a space on next year’s course!!)

Ed Jellard


Winter Week 2013

Menus for the meals may need revisiting ie sausages for breakfast AND dinner is indulgence. Suggest fried breakfast alternating with say porridge or scrambled eggs. Burns night dinner could have a soup starter (Cock-a-leekie)and a Scottish sweet. When you are with people for 24/7 you need to get on with each other, I believe this was achieved. There was a high level of leader/participant for the winter skills course which enabled smaller groups and varied activities. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity of summitting several Munros in full winter conditions.

John Leeks

Reply from HSMT: Thanks for your comments and for helping our week be the success it was. The menu will be adjusted both with your comments and those from others if any. We introduced a few new leadership styles which as you note were effective. Thanks again and hope to see you next year if not before.


Winter Week 2013

Slightly disappointed not to have had a night out in the hills – especially as I had invested in a four season bag for the trip. Not sure if it might be worth identifying whose keen to do this and ensuring it happens.
I’d have like to have done a few more peaks – eg on first day we were very close to one but didn’t go up it. There seemed some (possibly undue) concern about the quantities of food over the first couple of days. If the budget is very tight I would happily pay a bit more to ensure this is not an issue. Got a week in the hills pushing the boundaries of my experience and learning new stuff with a very pleasant bunch of people – and all for a bargain price. Best things were the two big walks we did and the day doing micro-navigation (yes really!). Very impressed by the helpfulness and dedication of the leaders, especially given they are doing it for nothing!

Lawrence Way

Reply from HSMT: Thanks for your feedback. The budget was not the issue with food it was simply an initial calculation error. The overnight experience was planned however with the bad weather forecast for Friday we cancelled. Safety is paramount for all of our courses as you will have noted throughout the week. On day one we were unable to gain the first peak as the skills training required to ensure safe travel in the winter conditions is our priority especially early in the week hence the bigger days out later in the week. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the navigation day, another fundamental skill that is essential in winter.


Winter Week 2013

I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, meeting other delegates and learning the skills I came to learn.
I enjoyed the course very much and would love to come again, and to other courses too.

Name withheld at senders request


Winter Week 2013

Wasn’t sure how to pitch my skills and experience with the group, where I was missing skills etc. Getting the balance with just enjoying the time in the hills mixed with picking up skills and relevant logbook experience is bit tricky! Camaraderie was excellent, food was hearty, the walking was huge fun and the sharing of the advice, skills and knowhow was top-notch.

Name withheld at senders request


Winter Week 2013

Perhaps a short debrief at the end of the course would be useful to identify where those wishing to do more winter stuff should go next. I enjoyed learning new skills, including applying my summer knowledge to the winter environment with experienced and knowledgable instructors. It was also damn good fun.

James Bussey

Reply from HSMT: Great to hear that you enjoyed yourself with our team. As for feedback/debrief at the end of the course for those interested in knowing what to do next, we have not considered this to date however, will do in the future. Thank you for this feedback. I will contact you over the next few days and we can discuss this very subject specifically for you.


ML Course 2013

I enjoyed the welcome, friendliness and above all the knowledge.

Sue Hibbert


ML Course 2013

I felt the courses in April and May were very well run. It was also nice to have a little free time at the end of the day for a social pint.
I enjoyed the whole thing, camping in the hills, some good and varying river crossings and also reinforcing rope work.

Simon Dow


Hillwalking Experience 2013

It was great for someone who had only done simple low level navigation as at the end of 2 days I felt that I now had the feeling that I had the basic of hill navigation to build upon. The course leaders were great as was the food, only thing which let it down a bit was the accommadation, specifically the washing facilities. Water Crossing may have gone on slightly longer than needed. Finishing at 21:00 on Saturday was good (for the people not doing night nav) as it gave time to relax a bit.

Ewan Blair

Reply from HSMT: The accomodation did struggle a bit with the larger numbers on this occasion. We will have to review this going forward.


Hillwalking Experience 2013

Hillwalking Experience 2013 Friendly atmosphere and fantastic leaders. I achieved that which I set out to. Thank you! Look forward to returning soon..

Marina Odey


Climbing 2013

Climbing Experience 2013 Unlike other courses it was good that the instructors were able to set the agenda to the needs of those attending. I’ve come away happy knowing how I can start to improve my own climbing skills and had a chance to experience climbing on rock. Also, the HSMT team and other students were very welcoming. A great bunch to spend time with!

Michael Stopford

2012

Winter Week 2012

Course was well run adapting each day to cope with the lack of snow and the weather conditions to make the best of it. The instruction is always good on these courses. Accomodation and catering was very good. With the inconsistent snow conditions over the past couple of years what about running the course at Kandersteg?

Reply from HSMT: Kandersteg is a good idea and may well be for the year after next as it is our tenth birthday so going abroad is a must. We tend to stick with the UK as we are qualified for leading in Winter conditions in the UK and when we do go abroad then different rules apply for courses that charge for leading services etc.

David Shepherd


Winter Week 2012

I thought that the 3 leaders complimented each other and brought something different to the week.
Owen is great at getting everyone enthusiastic about the activities and keeps people happy. He has a great ability with people. Steve has a calming influence on the group, if something went wrong Steve would be there to sort it out. David has a vast knowledge of the outdoors and I was 100% confident that what he was telling us was spot on. I thought the venue was sweet as well, and the food rocked. Communication was great too, lots of emails and phone calls. If anything the days were quite long with things happening in the day and evening. I learn best out on the hill but I know some others like the class room. I was finding that after dinner I wanted to put my feet up! Build in some chill out time were people can socialise with others on the course. Also when planning walks try and involve participants, i.e whats the thought process with this walk. Snow, weather, length, guide book write up, priror experience. Perhaps invite participants to plan a day for the group in pairs?

Ruth Asbery

Reply from HSMT: We agree, there was little time left for socialising after those big days out, which we will ensure is prioritised next year as a few others had made similar comments. Your comments regarding involving the team with the decision making, totally agree. The restriction this year was fitting it into the programme which again next year we will endeavour to make a point of team discussion. As you will appreciate, with the snow line being so high, there was more time spent getting to the snow which further reduced time spent in the accomodation.


Winter Week 2012

In a nutshell, last year was a great holiday, this year was a great educational course. I really enjoyed day 1 of Anoch Mor (belays), and the rope work on the previous day (with the tree). Being picky, I reckon day 2 of Anoch Mor could have been squashed into day 1 (albeit with a little less practise time – but none of us are going for winter ML so it shouldn’t matter!). That would have freed up another day where maybe we could have done some walking on Anoch Mor and put some of the belays into practise. But that’s 20/20 hindsight and not really important. There are a couple of things I missed from last year… Last year we managed to do some big, awesome, scary days, pushing boundaries and having some real adventures! The way the groups were split last year seemed to work incredibly well from a newcomers point of view, although I do see that I and the other newbies would have been holding you up (I hope I wasn’t too much of a burden on the pinnacles day). This year I found a little harder to get into the zone – being in the “taught” group sometimes felt like school and often moved at a slow rate (which was fine for the people without experience). The evenings I also found very different – last year we seemed to be far more sociable – drinking, playing poker, cooking, relaxing etc. – I had just as good a time in the evenings as I did up the mountains, it was a proper holiday. This year, partially due to the longer days, meant that by the time we had eaten it was after 9pm, then there was a maximum of 30mins free, and then the taught group had a lecture starting at about 10pm! I know the lectures were theoretically optional, but given the brilliant presentations that David put together, I wouldn’t have dreamt of not going even though, in all honesty, they were the last thing I wanted to do after a couple of glasses of wine, a brilliant meal, and a great day on the hills! Please don’t get me wrong – David does a great job of preparing and presenting them, and they were interesting – but some bits were too detailed, some bits were repeated on the hill (so, in my view, they didn’t need to be in the lecture at all). I would much rather have had one lecture, or that DVD, on day 1 and then that’d be it for educational evenings. This would hopefully let us bond better as a group and possibly go to the pub one evening – I don’t think we really bonded as a group this time. If the course isn’t full up already for next year (!), I would actually have a slight concern before signing up – I think I would be in a similar position to Dave was this year – hopefully more confident and able than the inexperienced ones, but nowhere near as able/fast as the really experienced ones. I wouldn’t really want to do the skills stuff again, but I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with the likes of Ian, Mark, you and Steve if you were doing your own thing. I guess what I’m saying is the week is brilliant for people who have never done winter stuff before, and brilliant for those who have lots of experience – but possibly not so brilliant for those in the middle. I will be interested to see the format of next year’s trip to see where people with some experience will fit in as that’s my main concern – the rest is just “nice-to-have”. So huge thanks to you, David and Steve for what was a really good week.

Ed Jellard

Reply from HSMT: Next year we will aim to cater for at least three areas; new winter walkers, intermediate, self leading. This way it will allow those who need further CPD by joining groups with a leader. There may be a fourth group as we will offer T1/2 winter assessments but all of this will depend on who is going etc. Your points regarding day two on Aonach Mor are well made. At the time we had people of different skill levels involved in security on steep ground and as such each system had to be checked before they used it and this took longer than anticipated. The big days out were simply reduced due to high winds and poor weather conditions. We would have loved to have taken alot more of the big ridges etc but couldn’t due again to safety. Your points regarding the training programme and its effect on the social aspect of the week will be reviewed and taken into consideration for the overall programme for next year.


Adventurous Activities Permit Training 2012

Good quality training covering a lot of areas. Very flexible in terms of meeting specific training needs. I now know exactly what I need to work on to pass T2 assessment. In addition I had a very enjoyable weekend in North Wales at a bargain price.
Please state the time we are supposed to arrive (or can expect centre to be open). Arriving at 10pm I was a bit disconcerted to find no-one there.

Lawrence Way

Reply from HSMT: We will be changing the joining instructions so that they offer a clearer understanding of arrival times at the venues for our courses.

2011

ML Course 2011

Correct directions to correct venue would have been good on first weekend, and also greater flexibility in arrival times for those of us who arrived early (i.e. suggested meeting / waiting places, pubs, etc)

Quality of instruction was very good and food was outstanding. Considering that none of the team were paid, I was really impressed by the professionalism and the hours put in by tutors (particularly Pete, tutor/cook, whose individual efforts ensured everyone was fully fed and happy most of the time).

Alex Goodey

Reply from HSMT: Comments regarding arrival times have been taken on board by HSMT


ML Course 2011

Every member of the training team have their own area of expertise on top of their general skills. It would be good if the trainees got a greater mix of instructors so that they can pick as many different brains as possible.

Good bunch of people.

Barry Moses


ML Course 2011

Earlier provision of course details. Provide a prior explanation how ML is not only for Scouting and how it fits into T1/T2 permits. This may save some time during the course. I know you have links to this on your website but a situation where a Scouting provider trains (mainly) Scouting leaders does lead to some wrong assumptions

The overnight expedition desipte the challenging weather and security on steep ground. I intially wanted to do a WGL course which could not run due to insufficient numbers. Rather than do nothing I chose to do ML training and I’m pleased that it worked out that way.

John Hayes


ML Course 2011

I feel like I have been thoroughly assessed for my ML qualification. The assessors were very professional and I appreciated the feedback sessions at the end of each day. I have learnt a lot on my 6 days of training and 6 days of assessment with HSMT. The HSMT team are very friendly and I can recommend them to anyone thinking of doing their WGL, ML or scout hillwalking qualifications.

Richard Hurrell


2010

Winter Week 2010

The instructors,david,owen and steve, very helpful and informative good course content expanded my limited winter skills, come home with good memories and a greater confidence to go out further into the hills in winter. The group of people who were there all very helpful and friendly. All in all I would recommend this winter course to anyone who is a keen hillwalker, also a special thanks to david for his avalanche talk and excellently executed retreat off the hills on friday afternoon.

Peter Burke


Winter Week 2010

The first four days were brilliant – clear, still and cloudless such that the activities utilised the time fully. Consequently, the discussion about the course content and the introductory CD were held later in the week. Strongly recommend that these are held on the first evening or the following morning. Friendly and knowledgeable trainers and participants. Completing another four Munros in Winter Conditions.

John Leeks


Winter Week 2010

Would have liked to try ice climbing if conditions had allowed. Good set of people with very good instructors. Very good base. The weather for the first 3 days!! Opportunity to be part of discussion on where we were going.

David Shepherd


ML Course 2010

On the Saturday night of your programme it said pub at 9pm and we did not go. I was very disapointed with that and this was one of the very first times I can remember, that I went away walking and not enjoyed a pint afterwards. Although the night nav was not that bad and Ted makes me chuckle. Only joking guys I had a great weekend no complaints.

All the trainers are very freindly and have great experience. I have passion for walking in the hills and mountains and it was nice to share that with like minded people such as yourselves. I will be back for my assesment hopefully this year.

Many thanks for both weekends and the knowledge you have shared with me.

Simon Hasler


ML Course 2010

The website needs updating.The information about the Brecon Beacon MLT course did not match the actual activities. An email to the course participants a month before the course reminding them what is needed, such as tents and other kit would be helpful.
I enjoyed the professionalism of the volunteer instructors. Learning new skills, navigation from nearby features, and the wild camp in Brecon, night navigation around Lynn Idwal, Scrambling up the north face of Tryfan and Carnedd Dafydd, rope work and practising river crossings on river Ogwen.
Also meeting a group of people that I had never met before and enjoying working together as a team.

Richard Hurrell

Reply from HSMT: The HSMT website has now been updated to reflect the comments received from Richard and others attending our courses regarding the course information on the website.


ML Course 2010

The course was a professionally delivered and the advice given throughout the course by the ML trainers was to a very high standard. This was supported by a relaxed atmosphere and sound knowledge base from their own experiences.

Brett Dale-Heaps


Adventurous Activities Permit Assessment 2010

Do not include overnight expeditions unless required by assesment, as i do not feel that i gained any relevant experience from the camping, and would have enjoyed my time better in the warm. Also other elements of group leadership need to be more thoroughly covered, as i feel the course was over fixated upon navigation. I enjoyed the course, Good food, good people, good atmosphere, good hillwalking and instruction.

Name withheld at senders request

Reply from HSMT: Thank you for your most welcome feedback and for taking the time to complete our form.
Regarding the overnight experience – the following extract is to be found under the technical requirements for both the T1 & T2 assessment checklist for hillwalking –
“Ability to run lightweight camping in remote areas”
As you will no doubt appreciate the opportunity to camp up to three hours from the road is available to those that hold the terrain 1 authorisation and as such we must ensure that their remote camping technical ability is to the standard required.
Regarding group leadership – our team of assessors have been operating at this level for a minimum of at least five years and in some cases fifteen and as such they have continued to develop their assessor skills through workshops, mentoring and training.
We adopt numerous methods of assessing candidates depending on current conditions and type of candidates to get the best out of them. You will have been assessed for leadership all the time you were out on the hill, during discussions and when travelling to and from the hills.
Our team will have spoken with you and questioned you with particular care in their delivery to allow you to provide us with all the information we needed to make the appropriate judgement of your abilities. If we felt we had not seen enough of your group leadership we would have used other techniques, such as “role play” for example, before making our decisions.
Regarding navigation – I agree that there is huge emphasis on navigation. The standard of the navigation required at T1 is the same as that at Walking Group Leader. To be able to navigate at this standard cannot be measured quickly and simply as there are many competencies to be checked. It takes years of practise to become a good navigator and the level at which you need to be for this authorisation is very high and needs to be shown consistently throughout the weekend.
I hope the above clarifies any concerns and thank you again for your time with our feedback form. I hope you will be able to join us again on a course in the future?


Adventurous Activities Permit Assessment 2010

The course was very focussed on micro-nav in bog, would maybe be good to have more variety on micro-nav. Joining details should have expectations of overnighting more clearly – most folks didn’t realise they were doing an exped till they got there.
I enjoyed pretty much everything except the bog :o) Everyone on the team was great. It was fun but at the same time rigourous. If I was a parent in Hampshire I would be very confident that anyone passing the assessment was safe to be out with young people, and that is the main thing.

Name withheld at senders request

Reply from HSMT: Your comments are most welcome and thank you again for taking the time to complete our feedback form.
Regarding the navigation in boggy areas – agreed, it was rather boggy however, it is important in the short time we spend with our candidates that they are offered the opportunity to show us that they can deliver the technical competencies required in both normal conditions and in more challenging ones.
As per your latter comments, you were assessed to a standard that has tested your skills and you have proven to the assessors that you are competent even when the conditions are difficult.
Regarding the camping out problem – we have changed the website to help everyone understand the requirements more clearly and we have also upgraded the documentation that is sent out prior to the course again outlining that the overnight experience is camping and what is required.
Once again, thank you for your time and we all enjoyed your company and hope you will join us again in the future?

Response from sender: Definitely would like to come again. Would like to get my WGL signed off sometime and it would be good to work towards ML …. but T2 with restrictions should be possible:o))
It’s all really good experience though and I really appreciate you guys sharing with us so we in turn can share with the youth. I’ll look out for your 2011 program. Re: bog Yeah, I realise why you did it that way :o))