Spent the last 2 weeks in the Zinal Valley in Switzerland first practising for then undertaking my International Mountain Leader Assessment. I was doing the award more for my own continuing professional development than any other reason but I had a great couple of weeks studying the human and natural history of a lovely part of Switzerland. Along with other candidates I was roaming the hill tracks, staying in huts, learning about the flora and fauna and sampling the food and wine of the Valais. I also took a little time to have some fun with friends on some of the great sport via feratta that have been fixed in the area. The assessment (I passed) consisted of a day with an extremely knowledgeable local IML (or Accompagnateur as they say on the continent) educating us on the Swiss system and local environment, a days further training and prep with one of the PYB assessors then 2 and a half days mountain walking staying at huts dealing with snow hazards, fixed gear and whatever else the staff chose to explore whilst demonstrating our ability to provide a safe, interesting and enetertaining day in the mountains outside of the UK. As well as a little more snow than usual we were treated with a riot of wild flowers, Ibex, Chamois, Marmots and bird life all in great weather. A good break before my return to the UK summer!