David Matthews
Professional Mountain Leader

The fundamental role of the Mountain Leader is to provide a professional service to  escort clients safely on journeys in the mountains and wild, remote country.  The primary consideration is always the safety and well being of the individuals/group, with an important secondary consideration the quality of the experience in terms of enjoyment.

The following will provide some insights into the role and responsibilities of the Mountain Leader, and might provide some ideas of ways in which you might benefit from professional services.

Individuals - Family Groups - Groups of Friends - Clubs
Corporate Groups - Schools and Colleges
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Single Day Trips

If you lack the confidence to venture into the mountains on your own, using a Mountain Leader makes sense. Whether you are a lone individual, a couple, a family or a group of friends somebody has to take the responsibility for planning the trip and for ensuring that you get where you want to go, and return safely.

A Mountain Leader will happily discuss your plans and make suggestions based on the groups wishes and experience. There is simply no limit to the possibilities in the UK mountains, with superb days to suit every level of ability and experience.  A Mountain Leader will have a wealth of local knowledge, and can always make suggestions for worthwhile trips. 

                                                                                       Hall's Fell - Blencathra    

Introductory Family walks on easy terrain can still take you into beautiful, remote country away from the crowds, with peaceful picnic locations and exciting places for the children to explore in safety.

Multi-day Holidays

If you are on holiday for a few days or a whole week, why not have a pre-planned itinerary of walks and scrambles arranged by a Mountain Leader. This means you never have to worry about knowing where to go and what to do, just turn up each day with your boots and walking kit, and let the Mountain Leader look after everything else.


Trips can be planned to become gradually and progressively more challenging, leading towards climbs to  major summits as you get fitter during the holiday.

A varied week can be planned with walks and scrambles, perhaps a day of introduction to basic rock climbing and abseiling.

Trekking and backpacking

The idea of starting at one point and trekking for several days through the mountains to a destination is often very appealing, carrying whatever you need for the journey.  The use of B&B, Youth Hostel or tent makes the whole process very achievable.

An itinerary can be planned by your Mountain Leader for however many days you wish to trek, dropping down to the valley to sleep each night.  You can travel as light as you like by using  a B&B for each overnight stop, or go for the economy of Youth Hostel.  For the tough and hardy there is the option of carrying your tent, sleeping bag and everything else.  Whatever option is chosen you are guaranteed an excellent experience.
The Langdales

For camping trips you must provide your own tent, sleeping bag and all camping equipment.


Start with an easy trip, perhaps just two days with one overnight stop, picking a destination with a transport link back to the start.

The following books are easily obtained and provide dozens of suggestions for multi-day treks in the Lake District:

Lawton T, (1995) Lakeland Round, Ward Lock: London  (ISBN 0 7063 7421 5)
Thompson G, (1999) The Backpacker's Guide to the lake District. David & Charles: Newton Abbot (ISBN 0 7153 0809 2)

Mountain Courses

Mountain Navigation

Learn to use a map and compass in the mountains, these are essential skills if you intend to explore without a Mountain Leader. A short course of two or three days intensive tuition will provide you with the basic skills and the underpinning knowledge to venture out with some confidence.

If you take your family or a group of friends out into the mountains, you are responsible for their safety. How would you feel if they got lost whilst in your care?  A few days spent learning the techniques and skills involved is an excellent investment.

Y Garn - Snowdonia

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A family group can learn together, why not arrange a short course for everybody to get involved in?  Kids love to learn about maps and compasses, and get a chance to lead the family to prove they can do it.

Teenager courses can easily be organised for a group of friends who are thinking of a trek of their own in the future, or preparing for a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition perhaps.

All female groups enable ladies to learn together, without the intimidation of the men! It is an excellent way of having a three day break, you get to climb some mountains whilst learning important new skills.

Education - Schools and Colleges

Educational Field Study trips can be provided to suit the specific requirements of the syllabus.  The mountains and countryside of England and Wales provide excellent text book examples of virtually every geographical and geological feature, lakes, tarns, waterfalls, moraine, crags and boulders.  The ancient industries, mining and quarrying provide  opportunities to study social history and the impact of industry on the human being and the countryside.

The possibilities are endless, a short telephone conversation with a Mountain Leader with local knowledge could provide a wealth of ideas.

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Geology and geography field trips in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

The unique Limestone  of Yorkshire, clints, grykes, runnels, collapsed caverns, caves and pot holes.

Social History studies, mines and quarries.

Art in the natural environment, using natural resources.

A group enjoying a mystery walk!