Mountain Skills

The future success of the club depends on maintaining and increasing the leadership pool. The club actively encourages members to take part in Mountain Skills courses that it organises from time to time.

Mountain Skills 1 and 2 (MS1 and MS2)

Each year the COC organises different courses in mountain skills and leadership for members, depending on demand.

The basic course for anyone interested in becoming self-sufficient and confident on an Irish mountain in varying weather conditions is the Mountain Skills course that may be taken over two weekends or over four days. The course is divided between MS1 and MS2 and basic skills such as map reading, compass work, ascent and descent of steep ground, equipment, first aid, weather, etc. are taught with the objective of acquitting the student with the knowledge to lead himself or herself safely in Irish mountains. Having completed MS1 and MS2 and combined with a record (log) of walks and evidence of experience the candidate may apply to sit a Mountain Skills Assessment or MSA. Once this is passed, and provided he/she holds a current First Aid certificate, one may then register with BOS to become a Registered Mountain Leader.

Mountain Leader 1 & 2 (ML1 & ML2)

Basic First Aid and Rescue Emergency Care
As stated above it is a requirement of BOS to hold a current First Aid Certificate and to have passed the MSA before being accepted for registration for the ML course.

Any first aid course will suffice at this stage e.g. those conducted by St John’s Ambulance, the Knights of Malta or Civil Defence, or by a registered nurse or approved trainer employed in the workplace or as part of an Adult Education Course with the VEC or equivalent training authority.

Alternatively, and preferably, one may also take part in a 3-day intensive Standard (mountain) First Aid course, under Rescue Emergency Care (REC) Scheme guidelines, usually at an approved centre e.g. Tiglin, the National Outdoor Training Centre, in Ashford, Co Wicklow or at the Burren OEC in Turlough, under the auspices of a Registered REC First Aid Provider.

Mountain Leader 1 & 2 (ML1 & ML2) and Mountain Leader Assessment (MSA)

A candidate who wishes to obtain a Mountain Leadership Award will comply with the following (transcribed directly from BOS guidelines):


  • Meet the Board’s pre-entry requirements (defined above).
  • Be currently registered with the Board.
  • Satisfactorily complete an approved ML Training Course.
  • Maintain in the prescribed logbook a record of activities in the mountains over a period of at least one year, which should include courses attended.
  • Possess a Mountain First Aid Cert. Or equivalent as approved by the Board.
  • Be at least 20 years of age.
  • Gain broad hill walking and camping experience in a variety of Irish mountain regions. This must include at least 20 quality hill days.
  • Gain experience progressively in leading parties over varied routes in at least 2 mountain regions in Ireland. This must include at least 6 additional days leadership experience.
  • Be an active member of a recognized mountaineering club in Ireland.
  • Camp twice in winter conditions (October to March) in the mountains.
  • Assist/accompany a mountain leader on 6 occasions, two of these to be with outdoor centers or individuals approved by the Board.
  • Organise and lead a group on a 2-day expedition in the mountains. Plan to be monitored by the ML tutor.
  • Demonstrate an ability to navigate accurately and safely over the Irish mountains in any type of weather and at night.
  • Demonstrate an ability to safeguard others on steep ground.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of emergency procedures required of a group leader.
  • Demonstrate an ability to use weather knowledge and forecasts. Written Paper.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of river crossing methods.
  • Have an elementary knowledge of background subjects such as mountaineering abroad, mountain flora etc.

Written Paper.
The prescribed text is Mountaincraft and Leadership by Eric Langmuir.

For fuller, more recent information, contact BOS directly via the MCI, House of Sport, Longmile Rd., Dublin 12. Tel: 01 4507376 Fax: 01 4502805
E-mail or Orla Prendergast, Tel: 094 25700 ext 2609,