Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A bit of a catch up...

Last week I had a couple of superb days out with some of the first year ATM Degree students from West Highland College. Nathan, Cormac, Gregor and myself headed up to Stob Coire nan Lochan in Glencoe for our mountain day, putting in practice some of the skills covered last week. The students were also looking at the day with a view to examining decision making and dynamic risk assessment. A good effort from the lads saw us making it to the peak of SCNL and even glimpsing the tiniest bit of blue sky! 

Some deer living life on the edge!

On Friday I was back out in Glencoe, this time with Richie and Alex. We headed up Buachaille Etive Beag and in whiteout conditions with a bit of wind, it felt like a very decent hill day. Well done to everyone for a really enjoyable couple of days with some good skills on show!

On Sunday I met up with Dan and his family. Dan previously climbed Ben Nevis with me last year on his third go (after the two windiest attempts I've had!)! He was keen to share the Scottish mountain experience with his family so we went to Glencoe, up the Devil's Staircase and along to Beinn Beag. Some pretty strong gusts gave everyone a proper mountain day but we all made it to the top still smiling and even had time for some fun in the snow on descent!

 Yesterday I was out with Juniper and Craig from the Cotswold Outdoor Fort William store. It's was Juniper's first time out in Scottish Winter so we had a couple of days planned before our attempt on Ben Nevis tomorrow. We walked into the CIC hut and found some great snow for some skills practice. We managed to cover ice axe arrest, self belay as well as step kicking and plenty cramponing.  Thanks to Craig for coming along and showing some support as well as bringing the Cliff bars for us to 'test'!!!
 With a bit of a wet forecast today, I decided to take the drive East in the hope of avoiding most of the rain. The plan worked and we stayed pretty dry for the day. Juniper has done lots of hiking in her native Singapore and around South East Asia but wanted to try and improve her navigation. Carn an Fhreiceadain was our hill of choice, a nice Corbett near Kingussie. Whilst in Summer it has a superb landrover track pretty much over the entire route, there was still plenty snow around today to test the skills. Lots of good opportunity for contour interpretation, timing and pacing.
Juniper and Juniper!

Tomorrow it's back up the Ben and with things turning colder again, it's looking nice and Wintry for the Fort William Mountain Festival. I'll be at the Carpe Diem stand in the exhibition hall some feel free to come along for a chat about this exciting project!