Getting out in the Hills.
Blog written by Laura Jack, Digital Marketing and Communications officer.
It has to be said, I’m not the most outdoorsy person. So, when an opportunity came along to get a glimpse of what Scouts get to do with their groups I jumped at it.
Hillwalking is something I’ve felt intimidated by in the past. I never quite knew what kit I needed, what “planning a route” meant, how to navigate when out and about. Basically, unless there was a tarmac or gravel track to follow, I had no idea where to begin. Thankfully all those questions and more were answered in the Mountain Training: Hill Skills Course I attended earlier this month.
The course had a great set up of two full days of learning on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t live close to Lochgoilhead so I was able to arrive Friday night and be ready to get started first thing on Saturday after a hearty breakfast. Arriving in the darkness was misleading as I had to wait until the next morning to see the glorious views that Lochgoilhead is so famous for. Meeting our course leader Ella put my mind at ease, as she set out from the start that this was a beginner’s course: no expectations of prior knowledge, skills or (most important to me) fitness levels.
We spent the next two days both learning in a classroom and out on the hills. Ella was fantastic at breaking down any myths or assumptions about being on the hills and teaching us the skills that are not only going to keep us safe, but make sure we have a great time outdoors. We covered everything from what to carry in your rucksack to how to navigate properly. By the end of Sunday I had gone from “no prior knowledge or skills” to acting as group leader as we navigated across the hills, only using a compass and the skills I’d learned throughout the weekend.
My biggest takeaway from the course was my new confidence. I never pictured myself being able to comfortably navigate my way across hills and areas of land, and being able to do it after just two days of learning was a huge confidence boost.
So, if you’re reading this and thinking, I’d love to be out in the hills and know what I’m doing, then I cannot recommend the Hill Skills course more. This course is a brilliant introduction to hillwalking and really gave me the bug to do more of it! I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning a new skill and having a great time outdoors.
And there are other courses available as well. For those who want to start exploring Mountainous grounds, we also have Mountain Skills courses starting in 2024. Check out our events section for all our currently available courses.