Lucy: Wally and I were working together for a couple of days this week, on a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's training expedition in the Glen Trool hills. The first day of the exped had reasonably pleasant weather, but even in the sunshine, the air was cool and the autumn colours and lack of midges signalled the turning of the season. After a dry camp, day two saw everyone soaked through and trudging back to the coach in distinctly unpleasant conditions.
Following this, I headed up to Lochaber, for a couple of days working with first year students from UHI. This was a two day introduction to the essential skills required to enjoy the hills safely, looking at planning a fun, safe day out, weather, kit, navigation and movement skills in the hills. On the first day the weather was really quite benign, good for some introductory map games and a boggy map walk around Torcastle. On day two the wind (and a few red stags) roared and the rain poured, but we still had a fun and adventurous day out on the North ridge of Stob Ban in the Mamores range on the soth side of Glen Nevis. We looked at movement skills and navigation in the mountain context. It was a great opportunity for the students to experience some real conditions, demonstrating the importance of good gear and route planning when heading out, especially at this time of year. It was ace to be working alongside local professionals, Mike Pesocd (Abacus) Dave Anderson (Lochaber Guides) and Dennis Harvey, as well as a great gang of students who brought plenty of their own experience. The most interesting work for me is always when I'm learning as well as teaching and I enjoyed the change of venue and working with different colleagues.
This weekend as we hit the equinox, I'm on a course in the Central Belt, learning about the processes involved in delivering quality Mountain Training Awards. It's a new avenue for me to explore, a different direction, and I'm not sure at this moment where it will lead!
One thing I do know though, the nights are fair drawing in. Time to add the headtorch in to the bag if it isn't there already, and winterise the clothing system...