Mountain Skills
1 & 2 Courses

We offer a range of mountain proficiency, navigation, and mountain skills courses in the magnificent mountains and valleys of Kerry. To learn the skills to confidently navigate through the mountains, hills and wilds is to enter a world that will truly enliven your senses, and remain with you for the rest of your life. Navigation skills and self-sufficiency form the foundation for all journeys in the mountains and taking the time to learn how to use a map and compass and having the confidence to navigate in poor visibility will open up a world of opportunity for hillwalkers, rock climbers and mountaineers alike.

Registration and Mountaineering Ireland Accreditation

Registration with Mountaineering Ireland is  a pre-requisite to book onto a Mountain Skills course. The registration is simple, quick and good value.

This is a separate fee to Mountaineering Ireland Membership ( not required for booking on to Mountain Skills Courses but a cheaper rate is available if you do both ) 

Also a separate fee to the Mountain Skills Course fee paid directly to your course provider.

Although the MS scheme is set out in a naturally progressive learning structure, candidates may choose to undertake only one block, or complete the two training blocks but not undertake the third assessment block. Registration with Mountaineering Ireland is free for under 18s and €22 for adults. This fee contributes towards the administration and quality assurance of the Mountain Skills Scheme, gives you access to an excellent on-line DLOG feature (digital logbook for recording your walks, activities & mountain adventures) and material to help you develop further as as a confident & competent self sufficient hill walker.

NOTE: The course fee for each 2 day course is €180 and is paid to us here at KerryClimbing and this is a totally separate payment to the registration fee mentioned above.

If you are already a member of Mountaineering Ireland and register for the scheme, details of your training and assessment will be automatically updated on your DLOG.

There is no requirement to join Mountaineering Ireland, but there is a cheaper membership offer at the point of registration, should you wish to join. Successful completion of the Mountain Skills Assessment is a register requirement for the Mountain Leader Award. Completion of Mountain Skills training part 1 or 2 is one way to access registration for the Lowland Leader Award.

Mountain Skills 1 & 2

The Mountain Skills (MS) training course provides a general introduction to hill-walking in Ireland and the U.K and provides the basics of mountain navigation. Offering a solid foundation for gaining personal mountaineering proficiency, Mountain Skills training teaches the necessary vital skills in mountain safety, navigation techniques, knowledge of hazards, and personal equipment, so that a person finishing the course may be in a position to safely, and competently, take to the hills. Mountain Skills training and assessment also provide foundation training for those who wish to progress to further leadership qualifications, such as the Mountain Leader award (ML)

MS training is divided into three blocks, Mountain Skills 1, Mountain Skills 2 and Mountain Skills Assessment
MS1 and MS2 are the basic training blocks covering all aspects of hill-walking that a participant will require to become a self sufficient hill user. Mountain Skills will give you the techniques and experience to navigate safely in the mountains and deal with most eventualities, such as thick mist, night navigation, emergencies or exposed ground. MS1 and MS2 are generally run over two-day periods and comprise a mixture of indoor informal lectures/discussions and outdoor practical sessions.

Kerry Climbing mountain proficiency courses

Who is the course suitable for?
This course is ideal for anyone looking to apply countryside walking skills to a more remote mountain environment. Whether you are a keen hill walker who wants to be able to head out in all weathers, considering enrolling on the Mountain Leader scheme or a climber who wants to be able to navigate from the top of the route back down to the pub in the dark the skills are the same. If you have existing navigation skills we will be able to build on these, if you have none we will give you some! The course is available for ages 10+ and all levels of competence and we regularly get a mixture of ages and experience and are well versed in tailoring the course to meet the needs of a varied group of people.

What is covered on Mountain Skills 1 & 2

Your highly qualified and experienced instructors will take you through:

  •  Practical navigation in the mountains of Kerry.
  • Planning a route using maps and guidebooks.
  • Clothing and equipment overview and selection
  • Introduction to different map scales
  • How to set the map
  •  How to interpret contours
  • How to interpret key symbols ie how to find a footpath, fence, stream etc
  • How to plan and follow a route using paths and other key features
  • How to plan and follow a route off the path
  • How to estimate distance using pacing and timing
  •  How to navigate in poor or limited visibility
  • How to use the compass
  • How to re-orientate yourself if you do get lost
  • Movement over steep ground (note: this is not a scrambling course but will give a gentle introduction)
  •  Mountain weather – how the weather affects our route planning and choice during the day
  •  Emergency procedures in case of an incident
  • Understanding the Mountain Skills Training scheme
  • Choice and use of equipment including a simple demonstration/introduction of use of GPS units, their advantages and limitations. (You do not require a GPS unit for this course)
  • Environmental knowledge and considerations and the principles of Leave No Trace>>
Mountain Skills 1 is a two day course involving 20 hours of instruction & tuition. We will cover Map reading, Contour features & Recognition of natural features , Navigation techniques, Mountain hazards, Personal equipment including correct clothing and Emergency equipment. Distance measurement, Timing and Pacing.
At the end of this course you will have a solid and comprehensive introduction to the skills needed to be self sufficient in the hills & mountains.
Course Price: €180 per person
Ratio: 1:6
Length: 2 days/20hrs
What’s included: Pre/post course information literature, tips, & web-links,  Free personal handy timing/distance ready reckoner table card including measurement aid for 1:25k & 1:50k maps
Mountain Skills 2 builds on those skills introduced in MS1 and is a two day course involving 20 hours of instruction & tuition. We will cover emergency procedures, grid references, navigation techniques, compass bearings, night navigation and introduction to mountain scrambling & negotiating steep ground.  At the end of this course you will be well on your journey to being self sufficient in the mountains, in most weather and visibility conditions. You will also have a thorough understanding of the preparation  and level of competence required to move onto Mountain Skills Assessment.
Course  price: €180 per person
Ratio: 1:6
Length: 2 days
What’s included: Pre/post course information literature, tips, & web-links,  Free personal handy timing/distance ready reckoner table card including measurement aid for 1:25k & 1:50k maps

Mountain Skills Courses are recognised by Mountaineering Ireland and delivered by qualified KerryClimbing instructors. Our Mountain Skills Courses run in Kerry but we can also run private training courses for minimum numbers in various areas nationwide.

Why choose a course with us?
Our courses stem from the knowledge gained from many many years of practical experience in the mountains as a walker, mountaineer, climber and member of the Kerry Mountain Rescue team. Having enjoyed the path of mountain learning ourselves we truly revel in and appreciate the immense freedom of being able to navigate in the mountains and it gives us a great deal of pleasure to pass that freedom on to others. Our courses are sociable & relaxed but still highly informative and progressive and will equip you with the skills that you need to be self sufficient in the mountains, whatever the visibility.


Meeting place and time
Once you book we will send you a comprehensive set of course notes and confirmation email, this will include a detailed kit list and details of where and when we meet. Each course provides two full days out in the mountains which may be supplemented by some limited theory learning indoors if the weather turns inappropriate.

When are the courses run?
You can view the dates of all of our courses throughout the year above and on our upcoming events page here>>

Please do contact us to enquire regards a specific date. If these dates don’t work for you then just let us know and we will do our very best to arrange a specific date to suit

What equipment/gear do I need?
A detailed recommended equipment list is contained in the joining instructions upon booking. Essentially, you will need to be self sufficient for a day in the mountains. We will provide all the group safety equipment. Limited maps and compasses available on request.

How fit do I need to be?
Don’t worry… you don’t need to be super fit or have much prior experience but you will need to be able to walk in the rough and rugged hills for four to eight kilometres for up to six hours each day. Rest assured we will tailor the course to the needs of those attending.


Great day out with Piaras, very interesting learning safe route planning, taking bearing and finally finding out how to use my compass correctly. Much more confident with a OS map and planning a hike highly recommend even for the casual hiker.


Excellent knowledge by our guide Piaras. Learned a lot that we put into practice that day. Would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in hiking.


Great introductory class from Piaras on how to navigate on the mountain. Well worth taking for all age groups, really well put together course and would highly recommend to anyone interested in becoming more proficient in the mountains.