CLA: Details of the Award

Download a CLA Summary Flyer

Download the CLA Course Notes

Before attending a Training Course you must register with us, and confirm that you meet the Prerequisites (below)

The CLA scheme is based on a combination of training, assessment and relevant experience.

CLA Process

Before attending a training course you must register with us.

The minimum age for registration is 18.

To attend a training course you must either:

  • Be a Qualified Teacher or
  • Hold a Level Three Diploma (or higher) in Youth Work or
  • Have at least 10 daysí and 5 nightsí experience of leading, or assisting with the leadership of, walking and camping groups

You must also have prior personal experience of:

  • Camping (5 nights) and
  • Walking in the countryside, navigating on clear paths (5 days). Map-reading to NNAS bronze level is a good benchmark, see

A current First Aid certificate is required for your CLA certificate to be valid. You must bring the certificate to your assessment and you are responsible for renewing it when it expires.

The First Aid course must be:

  • Assessed and certificated
  • Minimum of 16 hours of instruction
  • Specifically relevant to outdoor leadership

There are many providers of these courses, just search for: 'Activity', 'Outdoor' or 'Mountain' First Aid.

Leading walks and camping expeditions in normal rural, open countryside or forest. This reflects the recommended Bronze and Silver DofE expedition terrain and conditions (as defined in the DofE Handbook).

Broader Context

The overarching framework of the CLA scope is one of nonhazardous activities in non-hazardous terrain. Individual points listed here must always be taken within this broader context.


CLA scope includes:

  • Training and Supervision roles:

    - Direct supervision (guided walking and camping)

    - Remote supervision (leading unaccompanied groups)

    - Training of groups to walk and camp unaccompanied

  • Open countryside and farmland where outside help (e.g. a hamlet or well-travelled road) is easily accessible within 30 minutes
  • Journeys planned to finish two hours before sunset
  • Camping (including wild-camping)in sheltered, accessible locations
  • Night-walks that:

    - Are guided (directly supervised) by the CLA holder

    - Are a planned and separate activity

    - Leave from and return to the campsite or base

    - Follow simple routes on well-marked paths

    - Are less than 2 hoursí duration


CLA scope excludes:

  • High or remote country (mountains, upland, moor, bog or fell)
  • Areas where hazardous terrain is unavoidable, i.e. a trip or slip could result in serious injury or fatality
  • Planned night-walking as an extension of the days' walk
  • Winter conditions (i.e. where snow is falling, is on the ground or is forecast; ice, extreme cold or other inhospitable weather conditions)
  • Camping in remote locations

Scope and the CLA Holder

The onus is on the Expedition Leader to decide whether an activity is suitable. They must be aware of and follow good practice, which will include considering:

a) Whether the terrain and conditions fall within the scope of this award

b) Whether they have sufficient competence, confidence and experience to be leading a given group in any given area/conditions

Your logbook gives tutors, assessors and employers an indication of your experience.

The CLA is awarded on the basis of:

a) The skill, judgement and expertise that you show during your assessment

b) The depth and breadth of your experience

For this reason the Logbook should be viewed as an important part of demonstrating your professionalism and competence.

Completing your Logbook

The logbook should give an accurate reflection of your relevant experience. If you canít remember exact dates then note at least the year and season. Significant events or difficult conditions show your breadth of experience so itís worth writing a comment. You should continue to log experience even after you have passed your assessment.

There are two types of page in your logbook:

1) Personal Walking/Camping

Use this page to log personal walks and camping. Before attending a training course your logbook must show at least:

  • 5 days walking
  • 5 nights camping

Personal walks should include use of a map to find your way. Walks could include anything from a day walk with friends in the South Downs to an expedition along the West Highland Way. Similarly, camping may be anything from family camping with a car to a self-sufficient expedition.

2) Leading Walking and Camping Groups

Note here any time you have spent leading, or assisting with leadership of groups. Only include days where you were actively involved as a leader or assistant (you had some significant responsibility for training, group safety, decisionmaking, planning etc.).

Considerable experience of leadership is required before attending a training course. If you are a qualified youthworker or teacher then you do not also need logged experience here. If you are not a qualified youth-worker or teacher then you must log at least 10 daysí and 5 nightsí of leadership experience in these pages.

The training course runs over 3 days, and includes a camping expedition. It assumes basic competence in country walking and camping.

Bringing together candidates with this knowledge will promote discussion and practice sharing. Candidates without basic competence are unlikely to absorb the information delivered on the course or to contribute to discussion, and so will be asked to leave the course.

A common format for the training course is:

  • Introduction Day (partly classroom-based and partly outdoors)
  • Camping weekend (this is a lightweight, self-sufficient expedition)

The priority is to cover skills specific to expedition leadership that might be difficult to learn outside a training course. Please bear in mind that the course cannot cover every aspect of every part of the syllabus. Candidates should ensure that they develop sufficient skill and knowledge before attending an assessment (and in general before leading expeditions).

At the end of your training course your tutor will give you a consolidation plan, which will outline areas on which to focus and the minimum experience you need to gain before attending an assessment.

The usual requirement is for candidates to lead or assist with three walking and camping expeditions, where assisting means active involvement in planning, delivery and leadership.

If the Training Course Director feels a candidate is exceptionally strong they may reduce this. For candidates with only the minimum prerequisites further experience may be required, along with other specific recommendations.

The consolidation plan gives minimum requirements. We strongly advise that you exceed them and continue to gain experience until you feel prepared for assessment.

Assessment takes the form of a two-night lightweight and self-sufficient camping expedition. Your assessor may send you a home exam paper in advance. Your assessor may send you a home exam paper in advance.

You should bring your logbook with you, containing:

  • Endorsement page with Training Course sticker
  • Personal Walking and Camping Logbook Pages
  • Leading Walking/Camping Groups Logbook Pages
  • Training Course Report
  • Consolidation Plan
  • Completed Personal Reference
  • Valid First Aid Certificate


The candidate has shown the required level of skills and knowledge throughout the syllabus; and has shown the necessary experience and attributes, such as responsibility and good judgement.


The candidate has shown the required skills and knowledge in some areas of the syllabus, but there are either some knowledge/skill gaps, or they have not shown the necessary experience or attributes.

In this case the Assessor will discuss what additional experience they should gain before attending a reassessment.


The candidate has globally not shown appropriate levels of skill, knowledge, or other attributes. They will be required to gain further experience and then attend another training course.

Exemption from training will be given to those with:

  • ML training
  • HML training

There is no exemption from consolidation or assessment.

Register with Exemption

Candidates will be guided through exemption when they go to the CLA registration page. The cost is slightly higher because of extra administration and special delivery postage. Candidates who have already registered without exemption should contact us for guidance about how to proceed.

Consolidation for Exempt Candidates

Exempt candidates must, in addition to the prerequisites for normal registration, have experience of leading or assisting with at least three further walking and camping expeditions. The experience must show:

  • Active involvement in the planning, delivery and leadership of the trips
  • A variety of types of trip - different goals, group members, venues and colleagues

Effectively this means that:

  • Teachers and youth-workers must have a total of at least 3 walking and camping expeditions
  • Those registering on the basis of experience must have a total of at least 8 walking and camping expeditions

Apply for Exemption through Experience

On an individual basis, CLA will consider exemption from training on the basis of experience. This is a more involved process and requires a written application from the candidate, who should be able to demonstrate substantial breadth and depth of experience leading different types of expeditions.

To be considered for exemption on this basis a nonrefundable fee is charged, since each individual application requires consideration and discussion from the board. For more information please contact the CLA directly.

Reasonable adjustments are welcome by prior agreement with the course provider.

If, with the adjustment all aspects of the syllabus can be met and are demonstrated, a full CLA pass will be awarded.

For example someone with a visual impairment brings high-contrast or larger-scale maps and navigates to the required standard.

If, with the adjustment some aspects of the syllabus cannot be met, then a certificate of competence will be issued instead of the full CLA pass, confirming proficiency in all those areas of the syllabus that are successfully demonstrated.

For example if for a medical reason a candidate cannot carry a full pack, then they will be unable to pass the assessed lightweight expedition, but can gain a certificate of competence as above.

Please do contact usif you would like more information.

Appeals and complaints should be made in writing to the awarding body. Please contact us for more information.

After an investigation, the awarding body will inform the complainant and others involved, in writing, of the result.

1. Navigation

2. Route-planning

  • Able to plan a route appropriate for the terrain, conditions and attributes of the group, and within the recommended scope of this award

3. Campcraft and expedition skills

  • Complete a 2-night self-sufficient camping expedition
  • Be able to lead and train others in these skills
  • Choose and use equipment appropriately
  • Teach and demonstrate safe use of both methylated spirit and gas stoves

4. Leaders' equipment

  • Choose appropriate equipment to carry as an expedition leader

5. Judgement and risk management

  • Aware, with perspective and realism, of risks associated with camping expeditions
  • Effectively mitigate those risks with risk-benefit analysis appropriate to the situation and the group
  • Adopt leadership and training that is prioritised to mitigate risk (ensure participants' skills and equipment are appropriate: e.g. stove use, road safety, emergency procedures))
  • Display good judgement so that reasonably foreseeable incidents and emergencies are avoided
  • Train others to make good judgements so that reasonably foreseeable incidents and emergencies are avoided
  • Understand how these variables influence the degree of independence it is appropriate to give a group, especially where remote supervision is used

6. Incidents and Emergency procedures

  • Describe appropriate action in an emergency, including where outside help is required
  • Train participants to take appropriate action in an emergency, including where outside help is required

7. Legal responsibilities and good practice

  • Understand the relevant laws and legal responsibilities (e.g. enhanced duty of care)
  • Understand types, and importance, of insurance
  • Understand the relevant good practice guidelines and regulations (e.g. OEAP Guidance, MLTUK National Guidelines, leader record of training and competence where subjects are safety critical (e.g. stoves, road safety)

8. Environment and Access

  • Respect residents, farmers and other users of the countryside. Support local economies
  • Be fully subscribed to the overriding importance of using the countryside sustainably, and transmit that importance to participants. Understand the sensitivities and tensions around the overuse of 'honeypot' areas. Leave no trace.
  • Understand local and national legislation regarding access to the countryside (e.g. types of public rights of way, CRoW act)

10. Weather

  • Know the importance, and sources, of up-todate weather forecasts: their relevance, limitations and accuracy; and consequently make appropriate decisions (e.g. route, leader's equipment and participants' equipment)

A current two-day First Aid certificate is required for validity of the award

Page Contents:



First Aid



Training Course



Exemption from Training

Reasonable Adjustments

Appeals and Complaints