A five day, four night Winter Skills course in Scotland!
This course will be suitable for those who have enjoyed summer trekking and are keen to take these skills into the Scottish winter. The course will cover all the essentials regarding ice axe and crampon use, winter navigation, building winter emergency shelters, route planning and avalanche awareness.
We will have 2 fully qualified guides (holding the Winter Mountain Leader Award and First Aid trained) who will be with us all week, and James Cullen and I will be there to assist. Ratios will therefore be a group of 4 with 1 guide and either James or me. This will mean that we will have a good amount of flexibility in terms of the itinerary; the groups will not be fixed and we can swap around if needs be.
A rough itinerary would be as follows:
Days 1 and 2: Covering all the basic skills regarding the most efficient way of moving over the snow with ice axes and crampons. We will look at the snow slopes, avalanche avoidance, route finding and navigation in the winter.
Day 3: A full day journeying into the mountains practicing and consolidating the skills learnt on days 1 and 2.
Day 4: Looking at digging emergency shelters using shovels and ice-axes. If interested then we can also look at emergency rope work. If the weather is suitable (and if desired!) there will be an opportunity to stay out overnight in a snowhole.
A chance to practice everything learnt over the last 4 days in a day of hillwalking. The group can decide what kind of day they would like and plan accordingly.
Cost of the Course
We have managed to get a really good deal for the course meaning that the cost will be only £350. In order to secure your place you will need to put down a deposit of £100 and the final payment of £250 will need to be made by 1st February. If the course is cancelled for any reason you will receive a full refund. If you have to pull out and we can transfer your place you will receive a full refund but if we cannot find anyone to take you place no refund will be made. Dates of the course are the 16th - 20th February 2013. Please note that the cost of the course does not include accommodation, food or travel but will we do our best to arrange these at minimal costs (see below).
Venue and Accommodation
The venue of the course will depend upon the weather and where the snow is!! As it is too early to predict we will have to wait until January next year before we make any decisions about this. However what we can say is that we will either be in the Cairngorm National Park or further west in the Western Highlands.
Our choice would be to stay in a Scottish YHA which will be cheap, cheerful and cosy. There are various hostels in these areas which would be suitable and generally cost between 15 and 20 pounds per night. (See http://www.syha.org.uk/).
If you are keen to stay in one of these then we will be happy to book this for you when we have a better idea of where the snow is. However if you would prefer to book your own accommodation then this is no problem. Youth hostels always have self catering kitchens which we can make use of, or the local pub for dinner is always an option!
Travel to and from Scotland
We have a couple of options regarding travel.
Car sharing will be the cheapest option - we estimate petrol costs from London to Scotland and back with a bit of driving during the week to be around £200-250. This is dependent upon enough people agreeing to car share and drive (we will need 3 cars for 10 people).
A second option would be to hire a minibus and go up as one big group. Again this is dependent upon enough people agreeing to drive (and you must hold a UK license from before 1997 in order to drive a minibus).
Once we have enough people signed up for the course we will discuss the preferred option of travelling.
(If anyone else has any thoughts about travelling then please let us know!)
Equipment and Kit List
You will need the following kit. We can help with discounts if anyone needs to buy kit, and we may be able to lend out some items.
1) 45 litre (or bigger) rucksack
2) Boots For a winter skills course a B2 (stiff 4 season leather or plastic) boot is appropriate. They must have a stiff sole so that we can attach crampons.
3) Thick socks
3) 12 point crampons*
4) Winter Hillwalking axe*
6) Sunglasses, suncream and lipbalm
7) Water bottles and flask
8) Torch and spare batteries (preferably a headtorch)
9) Waterproof jacket and trousers
10) Thermal base layer - top and bottoms
11) 2 Fleeces
12) Gloves - a thin pair and a thick waterproof pair
14) Trekking poles if you want to protect your knees
15) Sleeping bag and roll matt (if we go snowholeing)
* You may be able to hire these pieces of equipment.
This should be a hugely enjoyable course for a very reasonable price so we hope to see lots of you sign up! If you have any questions then please let me know and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Refunds offered if:
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.