AT Quals and the Faff that is

I think the practise element is key.

For Leading it would be great to organise a day walk around the local area. When I say “day walk” I mean maybe several hours walking with a stop for lunch to practise cooking etc maybe on a Saturday.

Our DofE leader and other staff would happily be involved, and make relevant training materials etc.

But we can’t just turn up and do it. There are organisational hoops to jump through, meaning that we spend just as long planning, getting approvals etc than you do actually walking.

Absolute nonsense. If it takes you 6hrs to do the planning for a day walk, you are doing something seriously wrong.


Well I was clearly exaggerating :unamused:

But, and please do tell me if I’m wrong, we can’t just set up an SMS activity, it does need sending off for approvals etc from wing…

Yes, but that doesn’t take a huge amount of time, does it? Especially if it’s very similar to activities you’ve done in the past so can be cloned.

Precisely that kind of exaggeration winds me up - it’s just an excuse made by people who can’t be bothered to document what they want to do and use it as an excuse not to do anything at all. For 90% of the time, would be a 20 min job amending and re-purposing some previously existing documentation having had a little think about how it applies to their current activity.


@redowling I can assure you that I am a very diligent CFAV and have no problem documenting things at all, thank you.

But also, don’t you need all sorts of lowland leader quals to help on these activities, that gives us one qualified staff member for a walk around the local area.

*edit to say, I’m trying desperately to be able to run these sorts of events - and am trying to find solutions.

In which case, why complain about the time it takes to plan a day walk?

Yes, you need a qualification to take people out in that environment. Not ‘allsorts’ - just a lowland leader and a first aid qual.

How big are your leading classes, 10-20 cadets?

Sorry, lock down delirium. It is the lowland leader thing that stops us, we have 1 staff with the qual, for leading maybe 10 or so, yes.

We have lots of staff with first aid, just not lowland leader.

So you’ve got one lowland leader that can take out 10 cadets. If you have slightly more, run a sescond session, or split the one day into two sessions. That’s your leading cadets taken out for some practical map reading.

Not sure I see where the problem is?

For some reason I was told by the OC at some point that we needed more than one staff to be lowland leader on the walk?

If this is not the case, then I can crack on when we get back.

Only if you have more than 10 personnel to supervise. Otherwise, just do in groups of less than or equal to ten over a couple of sessions.

Maybe take an additional CFAV along if you have a spot (I’d suggest making a space), give them the same kind of training and encourage them to think about preparing for a Lowland Leader training course if you want to increase your delivery capacity in the medium term.


@redowling excellent news, and a good idea. I’ll get on that.

This is the real problem, made up nonsense because of some crazy concept you need 2 staff to do anything.

@GoodEgg my advice, unless your OC is an SME when it comes to AT is ignore them completely and defer to the ACATIs and your WATTO

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Wilco! Already messaged my DofE chap to start arranging!

Now I really must do some real work!

although i accept that @GoodEgg has exaggerated there can be some frustration when you decide/happen upon a opportunity (in your personal dairy) to go for a walk

i accept none of what is required is difficult, or overly time consuming, and agree in the most part with the tick boxes required. but it is all work that needs doing for a walk and upon return to F2F activities I can’t simply suggest we’ll go for a walk on our second week back as there is a paper trail which needs completing (not hard) and then approving (can be time consuming).

i accept that if pushed it could all be turned around in a week, but this is going on a walk - my wife and I have managed ~4 walks a week the last three months, many of which well within the radius of a evening’s walk from the Sqn (I live a mile from the unit)
yet to do the same with half a dozen Cadets requires permissions and approvals based on qualifications held and paperwork…

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We don’t have a lowland leader, nor do many of the squadrons in my wing.

Personally, I think that this is where our system falls over.

I have several country parks near our squadron. Some have permanent orienteering courses set up. They are not close enough to count as the extended squadron footprint, but would be ideal to teach navigation in.

They are frequented on a daily basis by families with small children, and yet the ATC system doesn’t allow me to organise a day doing nav training, because I don’t have any walking qualifications.

I would love to spend an evening doing classroom nav work, check the weather forecast, and then decide to run some practical training on the next parade night. But that just is not possible. That is why our cadets struggle to navigate out in the field.

And yet, under our rules, I can run fieldcraft exercises in places like Sennybridge, where the terrain is 1000 X more challenging.


Why do you think that people don’t want to go and get a qualification?

Families taking their children is different to an organisation supervising someone else’s children. We are required to ensure our leaders are competent to do what they intend to do under the organisations’ banner, and holding a standardised qualification is one aspect of that - regardless of environment.

It’s perfectly possible. You just need to get the qualification.

I agree this is a bizarre disparity and has worried me on more than one occasion. Fieldcraft governance (training and assessment of leader’s competence in challenging DTE environments) is definitely something that could be improved.

Because it is time consuming, and for a few occasions a year not worth jumping through the hoops for - I would gladly help on a walk a few times a year and run local events, but mountain leader is way too OTT for basic nav brush up/following some local footpaths. So haven’t done it.

Reads, something else we can slam the breaks on… If you are trusted to do that, surely you should be trusted to run a walk?

I appreciate if it is over a day with an overnight stop, or you want to venture further afield where staff don’t know the local area the qual is justified. Just not for a local nav ex.


You don’t need mountain leader. You need a weekend of training, and a weekend assessment - with a logbook of personal experience of walking in the appropriate environment.

Why is the barrier an overnight stop - just becuase that’s not what you want to do, therefore it’s a sesnible place to put a barrier, so that you won’t have to jump it? Just because you know your local area - does that mean you know industry best practice for what leader equipment to carry and how to use it, how to manage an incident, understand access legislation and environmental aspects?

It’s not about trust. It’s about the fact that when it goes wrong, you are judged against the standards of the outdoor industry - not some ‘volunteer’ standard.

For heavens sake - whatever you do don’t let me supervise someone else’s kids! I’m a danger!

I think you might want to read / re-read this one.