Lucy writes: Its been a busy three days for us! It began on Friday, with me working in the East on the first day of a winter skills workshop for Nineonesix Guiding in partnership with the SYHA. This great wee course was supposed to have been delivered in torridon, where the stunning scenery and remote location ensure an special and unique experience. Sadly our reluctant winter has put paid to that, and the course was relocated to the Cairngorms, where more reliable coonditions ensured a quality outdoor classroom was available. We had a great day, covering some navigation (despite the good vis) and avalanche avoidance, as well as movement skills with and without crampons.
Meanwhile....Wally was having some fun with a personal solo day out on the East Ridge of Beinn A Chaorainn, a grade I winter climb and a fine easy mountaineering route.
Saturday saw Wally doing a CPD Avalanche Avoidance refresher on Aonach Mor with the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, and generously supported by the Chris Walker Memorial Trust. Like first aid training, keeping these skills up to date and fresh is an important part of staying current as a winter leader, and so we grab every opportunity we can to learn from experts in this field. Worth remembering though that whilst its easy to get geeky about snow, the basics are simple- knowledge of weather, snowpack, terrain and human factors form the basis of good planning and decision making, supported by forecasts from the SAIS avalanche if available. Meanwhile, on the mountain next door, I was working for West Coast Mountain Guides, helping to guide a team of seven intrepid lads to the summit of Ben Nevis as part of a winter Three Peaks Challenge.
Finally, yesterday Wally and I were working together, this time for Reach The Peak, on an introductory winter skills day on Ben Vorlich, near Loch Earn. Our team of ten intrepid hillwalkers certainly experienced the "Full Scottish", with spindrift, high winds, and deep snow. We managed to get lots of learning in depsite the weather!