Last year after a rather hairy experience on the Glyders, I decided it was wise to seek the guidance of a mountain guide, someone who knew their stuff to help me sharpen my mountain skills.
I stumbled upon Jamie Rooke @exploring_snowdonia_eryri on Instagram and saw he was offering a weekend course where he lives in Snowdonia. I signed up and agreed to organised to meet him on a designated weekend.
what to expect from your mountain guide
Whether you are setting out on a mission to get outdoors more, or a seasoned walker wanting to sharpen up on your own skills, I would highly recommend investing in a course of this type. It may seem odd for experienced walkers to invest but I feel quite the opposite. We’re always looking for a new challenge, to explore unknown terrain and complacency can set in. Not only will Jamie teach you the skills to keep yourself safe but you will definitely learn something about the hills you walk in and the landscape you are seeing.
Jamie was an engaging character from the off and we agreed that we would start with a day navigating our way to the summit of Cnicht; a peak I’d long since wanted to try. The day was spent learning how to use all the ins and outs of navigation from compass and map reading to pace counting and using landscape and lichens for natural navigation.
I’d spent so many years in the mountains but this knowledge I was gaining felt like I was unlocking a secret language that I hadn’t known existed. One concern about going out hiking with strangers is the pace. Will they set a ferocious pace as if they’re trying to break a world record to get to the top? There were no such issues on Jamie’s course. The walking was done at a leisurely pace that enabled us not only to learn but enjoy where we were.
At the end of the day, Jamie offered to take us wild camping on Crimpiau above Capel Curig but I had make my excuses and return to dad duties.
I returned the next day to discover that I’d missed a magical sunrise over Llyn Crafnant but I’d already been given a two day pass to attend the course so I couldn’t be too greedy. Day two consolidated our knowledge from the previous day and we ended the course with some foraging which was something I wasn’t expecting.
What I took from the course was a whole new range of skills but also a deeper understanding of the language needed to fully understand the mountains. Jamie was a great mountain guide who not only had a deep passion for the mountains but a respect for the culture and people of the area. Since moving here he had made great effort to learn and pronounce the names Welsh names of places and also the language itself which is no mean feat.
If you’re an individual or a group who want to learn hill skills from a mountain guide or even want to tackle a route but are lacking the confidence, then I’d highly recommend Jamie Rooke to guide you. His website also offers excellent advice on planning walks around the weather and the kit you should take on a hike.
Read our guide to other inspirational people helping you get outside here.