WMT has a proud history stretching back to 1991 when we ran our first course in Bangor, North Wales. Here’s how our business and contribution to expedition medical education for laypeople and medics has evolved:
In 1988, WMT’s original directors met on Mount Kenya when working with Operation Raleigh.
Using the then bible of wilderness medicine, the American Medicine for Mountaineering textbook as a template, WMT’s first course was the 5-day Advanced Medicine for Remote Foreign Travel course, dubbed AMRFT. This rather long winded name (now 4 days and called simply Advanced Medicine) reflected the very focused nature of this course. The course was ground breaking in teaching invasive skills and about prescription drugs to laypeople.
Later, Advanced Medicine was pared down into a 3-day syllabus, called Far From Help and piloted with World Challenge in 1995. The invasive training was eliminated but we retained the teaching about prescription drugs.
In 1998 Mrs Shane Winser invited WMT to run Far From Help at the Royal Geographical Society. Although she may have been initially skeptical about the reach of our syllabus, Mrs Winser became a great friend of WMT. In 2008 we pared FFH down to two days duration.
Encouraged by demand from doctors, WMT partnered with the RGS to run a well attended one-day seminar on expedition medicine in 1999. In addition to medical lectures, we invited many organisations that recruit doctors (Raleigh, MSF etc.) to pitch to the audience. This was the beginning of our Medic series of courses aimed at doctors and other medics. We followed this up with a more extensive course simply called Expedition Medicine for medics held in Chamonix in January 2000. We’ve run this sell out course annually ever since. In June 2004 we introduced a summer version of the winter course and called this Expedition Medicine & Field Skills for Diverse Environments (we’ve recently dropped the Diverse Environments tag – long course titles are not SEO friendly!). In 2006 we went further afield and launched the annual Morocco Mountain Medicine Expedition. We responded to demand for shorter UK based courses held over weekends by introducing Jungle Medicine in 2008 and then Mountain Medicine in 2009.
In spring 2009 we partnered with the prestigious Glenmore Lodge, the Scottish national outdoor training centre, to run Explorer courses, now held twice annually.
WMT’s private course bespoke work forms an important part of our portfolio. Our most distant assignments have been to Beijing, Singapore and Kenya. We’ve worked with media star Bruce Parry and his Tribe film team, other BBC teams, Skip Novak’s Antarctic sailing crew and many other worthy organisations, businesses and inspiring people (see the Bespoke tab).
We took the concept of hybrid training (combining medicine with other relevant expedition skills) to an new level in 2006 with the introduction of a 7-day Expedition Skills course with partners Land Rover Experience and Woodsmoke, which combines Far From Help (or for doctors on the course, the parallel Expedition Medic 2-day module) with clever bushcraft training, off-road driving and bush mechanic training.
The name and phrase wilderness medical training was legally trademarked by WMT in 2008. We rebranded in late 2009 and graphic artist Lucy Gallagher, incorporating the initials WMT, maintained the heritage of our original green coloured leaf-styled logo with an updated fiery orange version which represents the natural world and also alludes to blood vessels. Our footer image (the human WMT letters) was adapted from a photo associate Dr Nick Mason took of our 2009 summer Chamonix course students against the setting sun. Riley of Fired Up Design led our new website development team which went live in December 2010 and was later updated in 2016.
Notably absent from this brief history is any mention of our important associate instructors, all of whom have developed their expertise and CVs in impressive ways over the time we have known them – some for more than a dozen years. All of them deserve credit for building the WMT brand and the expert reputation we have.