What's a QMD?

 QMD – Quality Mountain Day – is a standard unit of experience used in measuring the preparedness of candidates for training and assessment for the Mountain Leader awards, summer and winter. A QMD is at least five hours’ duration, safely practising skills relevant to mountain walking, including route-planning and navigation in an unfamiliar locality in the British Isles, technical skills such as crampon use (in season) and reaching a ‘substantial’ mountain summit. They are not days under instruction – the candidate has to do the leading.  
Candidates are expected to show that they have had at least 20 QMDs before training and 40, in at least 3 different areas, before Assessment. For the Winter assessment, the requirement is the same, but the QMDs need to be in winter conditions when winter considerations such as terrain underfoot, short day length and severe chill factor are important. Ski expeditions are not counted.
This is a significant commitment for anyone, especially if for various reasons it is difficult to find suitable companions at a convenient time. QMDs on your own are perfectly valid, but do not allow the same degree of discussion and feedback, and do have the added risk which attends any solo mountaineering.
When I moved on from working as Head Ranger in the Cairngorms, where every day could have been a quality mountain day one way or another, I remembered how many people had come into the Ranger Base wanting to do a quality mountain day. I decided I liked the concept and the name, and called my guiding business Quality Mountain Days. Apart from regular guiding I would offer to help people meet their requirements for QMDs by being the stooge they could lead up into the mountain in pursuit of their quota. Being based near Kyle of Lochalsh meant I could go to three different areas (Skye, Torridon and Kintail) in three different days.
Have a look at the Blog for a real example of a supported QMD.
If you like the idea of  a QMD with me (summer or winter), just get in touch on the Contact page. As these days require you to do a lot of the thinking, they are half the cost of a guided day, and you can bring others along, too.