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International Mountain Leader Summer Training

Qualification Level - 5 days | Prices from £545.00

Course Rating: 4.5 Rated 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews

Please note that you will not be allowed to attend the course and will not receive a refund without being confirmed as registered by Mountain Training UK prior to the start of the course.

This is a professional award required by EU member states and allows holders to lead paying clients on walking journeys to all areas except on glaciers and where the techniques and equipment of alpinism are required.

The International Mountain Leader summer & winter assessment and winter training courses take place in the Alps.


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Dates & Prices

Cost (with accommodation): £670.00
Cost (no accommodation): £545.00
Cost (with accommodation): £670.00
Cost (no accommodation): £545.00
Cost (with accommodation): £670.00
Cost (no accommodation): £545.00
Cost (with accommodation): £670.00
Cost (no accommodation): £545.00

Is It For Me?

Please note that you will not be allowed to attend the course and will not receive a refund without being confirmed as registered by Mountain Training UK prior to the start of the course.

The IML is the professional qualification for individuals who wish to lead trekking parties to all mountain areas except on glaciers, and where the techniques or equipment of alpinism are required.

The International Mountain Leader can also operate on easy snow-covered terrain, providing it is of a gentle, rolling (“Nordic”) type in the “middle” mountains.


Before attending the IML Summer Training Course you must have the following in place.

  • Completed the Summer Mountain Leader Award
  • Have a minimum of 20 international quality mountain days
  • Have a minimum of 20 winter quality mountain days
  • Have registered with the MTUK on the IML scheme

Please note that you will not be allowed to attend the course without being confirmed as registered prior to the start of the course.

Course Content

Glenmore Lodge runs the course on behalf of the Home Nation Mountain Leader Training Boards.

The syllabus is contained in the booklets provided by the MTUK .  You can download the syllabus and prospectus from the MTUK .

The course is 5 days long from Monday to Friday with a variety of topics covered throughout.

Other topics covered throughout the course are Professionalism, Remit and working as an IML, Mountain and Leadership Skills, Environmental knowledge, Ropework, Legal liabilities, Physiology, Anatomy and Altitude, Drugs and Water issues, Huts, Maps and GPS, Alpine Weather, Marketing and Business planning, International Issues, Language skills and information on BAIML.

Below are details that should help you prepare for the Navigation Speed Test on the Tuesday of the course. You should all be quite capable of passing this but if you have not been practicing your navigation then you should think about it. If you have any questions then please email us. or ask to speak with Nigel Williams the Head of Training.



What is the test?

The test is a European Standard and we have to do it although it doesn’t really fit the ethos of the UK mountain  awards.

This test is a simple mountain navigation assessment which probably at the point you passed your ML you would have managed easily. But many IML candidates don’t really navigate under pressure after completing the ML and there are a couple of navigation techniques and situations that can help with this kind of task but are not really covered at ML summer. Supervising  this test for nearly 20 years at Glenmore Lodge and PYB it is clear that the vast majority of people pass without a problem. However those that fail don’t just miss the time by a couple of minutes due to a lack of fitness or difficult off path terrain. In 90% of cases it is down to poor navigation, a lack of current practice and the use of inappropriate strategies such as straight line bearings as opposed to navigating with the terrain features and strategies such as attack points and catching features. With good navigation there is time to walk around the course, there is even time for at least one error but make more than that over the 6 legs and you will be under pressure. So it makes sense to practice the skills.

The test takes place over rough hill side terrain using a 1:25,000 OS map. Each person has an individual route of 6 check points (although there are a number of shared checkpoints to visit) and a time allowance specific to their course.

The courses are generally 7km long with 500m of ascent. Calculations are based on a straight line between check points. Speed is calculated at 4kph plus 1 minute for every contour crossed going up hill, plus a further 10% of the overall time added on. The time for all the routes is about 2hrs 30 – 3hrs. Good route choice often avoids climbing as much as the straight line route indicates. This is achievable at a steady walking pace.

7km = 105 minutes

50 contour lines (500m.o.a.) = 50 minutes

105 + 50 = 155 minutes (2hrs 25mins)  +  10% (rounded up =16 minutes) Total time 2hrs 41minutes.

Equipment carried is minimal and the footwear must not be training shoes (very poor grip) but fell running shoes/hillwalking boots are appropriate.

How can I prepare for this test?

It goes without saying that you need to be hill fit. Being able to walk up a steep hillside continuously ascending about 300m in about 30 minutes. That requires a steady even pace with only brief stops. This kind of pace is reflected in the summer assessment and ignores the distance covered.

Nowhere in our walking awards is there clear bench marking to help candidates estimate their navigation competence outside of the assessment process. Knowing where you are to within 100m all the time is rather simplifying the navigation skills required for what is effectively an orienteering type event. At summer ML we don’t quite give people the skills to do this kind of test effectively, operating completely alone and any decision made will have a personal consequence. Even at ML assessment that is not usually allowed to run over a series of legs without any intervention or feedback, however subtle. So it requires good navigation skills and confidence which comes from practice.




Route planning is key and that should start at the objective end, identifying a good attack point and any catching feature. Then work back to where you are to sort out the route to the attack point which in reasonable visibility should not require a compass bearing.

Contours and thumbing your route on the map as you go. Being aware of what the ground should be doing under your feet and the angle you should be crossing the contour lines at.

Relocation skills being slick with these from just checking progress with map setting through to really lost slope aspects etc.

Being able to read the map on the move and even take a rough bearing is helpful in saving time and in planning the next leg rather than standing for 5 minutes at the check point. (A rough bearing is where you place the compass edge on the map and turn the whole map with the compass on until the red end of the needle points to the top of the map – no need to turn the dial just look down the base plate and it is pointing where you aim to go. Very useful for quickly checking the alignment of a stream or slope aspect and can also be used whilst you have an accurate bearing set on your compass.

If walking alone it can be difficult for candidates to select appropriate legs to develop and practice the required range of navigation strategies. They need something more to make the navigation tasks realistic and have to deal with what is thrown at them.

Walking around a Green standard orienteering course is the nearest benchmarking and training / practice tool for MLs.  Green is the level at which the ML can be challenged around decision making, route choice, contour interpretation, relocation skills, all can be practiced and you get about 15 goes in an hour and a half. You have to do this completely alone without any outside help just like the IML test.  If you want something a bit more testing then go for a Blue course but not until you have a good feel for what Green is about.

On it’s own it doesn’t make up for hill time but it complements it and helps provide useful feedback and practice of navigation skills.


Firstly you don’t have to run, or wear Lycra or be a member of a club. On the British or Scottish Orienteering website you will have to look up your nearest club and check where and when they have any events on. You will have to pay about £6 for your map and entry fee. This may need to be done online before the event or may be on the day at the venue. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Don’t be put off by some of the hieroglyphics of control descriptions they are quite intuitive but look at the map and you can guess what the feature is. Lastly the map colours and symbols are also intuitive except that white on a map is open woodland and shades of yellow is open land. As an IML you will need to get used to working with different symbols on different national maps.

There are also Permanent Orienteering Courses (POCs) which you can find on the orienteering websites, maps often available from local tourist or park ranger offices. You can then choose your route as you please.

You cannot be confident of something you do not practice. Good luck

What Will I Need?

Glenmore Lodge has a large, and very comprehensive store of up to date clothing and equipment. You are welcome to use your own equipment and pick and choose odd items from the store. Your instructor will want to check that personal equipment is appropriate for the activity.


  • Basic waterproof jackets and trousers
  • Leather Boots
  • Rock Shoes
  • Gaiters
  • Helmets
  • Day & Expedition Sacs
  • Climbing Harnesses
  • All technical climbing hardware & equipment, ropes.


Listed here are the essentials, this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Informal clothing for leisure wear
  • Warm outdoor wear
  • Insulating layers – at least one mid weight and one warm fleece layer
  • General trekking trousers are recommended, not jeans though.
  • Thick socks (several pairs)
  • Spare fleece/insulated jacket
  • Waterproof jacket (with a good hood)
  • Waterproof overtrousers or salopettes
  • Hat & gloves***
  • Whistle
  • Compass – Silva type 4 recommended ***
  • Maps and waterproof map case. For all walking courses you need a waterproof 1:50,000 map of the Cairngorms, for ML courses a 1:25,000 is also useful. *** If you have digital mapping at home then print an area of the Cairngorms within the following co-ordinates. It will be several sheets of A4 but covers all the main variety of options we might use in a week depending on the weather. Very occasionally we might go outside that area but we have some mapping for that eventuality.

South West Corner 95 98

South East Corner 05 98

North West Corner 95 14

North East corner 05 14

  • Rucksack liner (or sturdy bin liner) / dry bags
  • Vacuum Flask & Water Bottle ***
  • Box or bag for packed lunch.
  • Blister kit/ small first aid kit
  • Personal toiletries & medications (towels are provided)
  • Suncream – you just never know! ***
  •  Spare towel
  • An alarm clock
  • Glenmore Lodge also has a pool, gym & climbing wall – so don’t forget your swimming/gym/climbing kit!

Items marked *** are available in our shop subject to availability.

Remember the price is all inclusive

We want our customers to easily know what their course will cost, up front and in the open. Accommodation on the night before and the nights during your course, pick up from the train station (Friday and Sunday evenings only), breakfast, lunch, cake break and dinner are all included. All transportation on the course, centre facilities & any equipment you borrow are also part of the package.

Course Documentation

Course Pre-Requisites

Please note that you will not be allowed to attend the course and will not receive a refund without being confirmed as registered by Mountain Training UK prior to the start of the course.

MTUK Registration with the scheme, Summer ML Award, completed D-log with overseas trekking experience. The syllabus is available from the MTUK website;

Course Rating: 4.5 Rated 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews Read all reviews

Overall a great course with lots to take in. The breadth of experience amongst the others on the course made for a great learning atmosphere with everyone willing to contribute.
Ray Allwood Reviewed on 07/11/2016
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Mark Lawton Reviewed on 01/06/2016
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Excellent course, lots of very useful info and the wide experience of candidates was as much part of the learning. Thank you Nigel and all Lodge staff.
David Howie Reviewed on 11/11/2015
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Allan Hunn Reviewed on 08/11/2015
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Stuart Mapp Reviewed on 08/11/2015
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Instructors were all very knowledgeable and friendly.
Bruce Manning Reviewed on 06/07/2015
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What’s included on your course

  • Instruction
  • Use of kit
  • Shuttle bus to Glenmore Lodge (departs Aviemore station 5:20pm on Friday and Sundays)
  • Packed lunch and afternoon tea each day
  • In-course transport

What’s included if you choose the residential option – As above PLUS

  • Bed in shared en-suite room – available from 3pm on day before your course starts *

(Single rooms may be available for a supplementary charge, please ask at reception when you arrive)

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner for each course day (except one day and back-to-back courses)
  • Use of the facilities at Glenmore Lodge
  • Linen is provided along with a towel, you may wish to bring an extra towel if you would like to use the facilities or are on a paddlesport course

Arriving at Glenmore Lodge

  • For more information on travel to the Lodge click here
  • Your first inclusive meal is breakfast (7:45 -8:30am) An evening meal is not provided on your arrival night, but bar meals are available in our Lochain bar 5pm to 9pm (5-7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Packed lunches are collected at breakfast
  • On Mondays and Saturdays only there will be a 10 minute welcome talk at 8.15am, on other days you will meet your instructor at 9am. The daily programme of your course will be discussed with your instructor when you first meet, taking into account aspirations and prevailing weather conditions

On your last day

  • Check out time is 10am on the final day of your booking, we have changing areas, showers and left luggage facilities on site
  • All courses will finish by 5pm
  • On Fridays and Sundays we offer a drop off to Aviemore station, leaving Glenmore Lodge at 5pm, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance if you would like to book this service

*some exceptions – see detailed course notes

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check our FAQ’s here or contact us on [email protected] or 01479 861256

Can't find exactly what you are looking for?

Design your own course

We are happy to create it for you. You can hire one of our instructors or guides from as little as £280 a day, including any equipment. If you’re a group, all of our courses are available on a date that suits you or if you would prefer we can tailor a course to your requirements. Simply give us a call to discuss your requirements.

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