Come the end of December 2011, my membership is up with the Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA). I’ve thought long and hard about the worth of me renewing, and I see no reason to do so.
I took up the challenge of becoming a Walking Group Leader, way back in 2007. Then, I saw it as a means to enhance my knowledge of walking and navigating in remote wilderness areas, whilst doing something with structure and a clear objective. It made sense to learn from those qualified in the field, like Will Legon of Will4Adventure, rather than stumble along the self taught route. I am also a bit of a “list” freak, and the logging of walks appealed immensely! There was always the chance that if I eventually passed, I might be able to earn a little cash whilst doing something I loved.
However, when I passed, back in October 2009, the latter didn’t happen; a mixture of personal apathy and restrictions within my real job meant I could not realistically put myself out in the market. With so many Mountain Leaders out there, there is little need for a lowly WGL. I did investigate a change in hours, to free up my weekends, in order to pursue an idea of running navigation courses on Dartmoor, but my employers soon killed that spark of initiative quickly.
Back to the MLTA; If I renewed, a minimal yearly fee (but still a fee), it would then mean having to renew my first aid qualification at the end of January. Beside the course not being cheap, I find it particularly harrowing because of the need to role play, which, to me, is an alien concept and an excruciatingly embarrassing process.
That said, let’s assume I continued as a member, and retrained in first aid. Well, I don’t see the work opportunities being lucrative enough to recoup the outlay for travelling to and from London, not to mention any liability insurance I would have to take out, so there really is little point.
With all the current arguments definitely in the “against” corner, up next for consideration; my attitude to walking. I don’t see myself as having that “group” mentality, I’m not sure I ever possessed it in the first place! I’m an introvert. I really like either walking on my own, or in the companionship of maybe one or two others. I am comfortable with long silences between conversations, and enjoy periods of solo walking, that can entail. To be alone with your thoughts, to actually stop and lift your head to embrace the environment and drink in the surroundings, is quite special, whereas, in large groups, that precious silence is a gaping void that needs to be filled full with largely forgettable and frequently inane, chatter. Oh dear, I guess I am definitely not a people person
Looks like the scale is irretrievably tipped, but is there anything I will miss about the MLTA? Well yes; probably the only thing will be the 20% discount on goods in Cotswolds Outdoor shops! But I can live with that.