Friday, 30 December 2011

The thaw is on, again! Last day on the hill this year.

Sometimes plans change and today was one of those days! An elusive Corbett can wait.
So the weather forecast was spot on, dry in the morning, raw and wet by late lunchtime. And how wet? Very wet!
A few folk were walking on the ridges but generally a quite day in Glen Nevis and on Stob Ban. Patience is required at this time of year, the last two years have spoilt us, now we wait for the winter to develop over the next few weeks.
Happy New Year everyone. Have an adventurous and safe time out there! Thanks to everyone who has booked or has been on our courses over the last year, its certainly has been varied and exciting and of course fun!
It will be a challenging new year for Hebridean Pursuits Ltd in 2012. We sadley see Steve Thomas co founder and my business partner of 22 years retire at the age of 74! Jane Sayer is taking over as our General Manager. We are launching in January and we have a full and busy winter programme ahead of an already hectic programme out at our Centre Tavool House on Mull, running Roses Project residenatials for young people and organising technical courses at sea and in the hills. Exciting times.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Glencoe clear but mild.

Am Bodach
Looking towards Stob Dudh.

A brief conditions report from Glencoe today.
A crisp cold day with hail flurries. The snow under foot above 700m was firm- ish!
Gully lines I could see were complete and a re freeze would make conditions in the easy gullies very sweet. Most exposed ridges are clear of snow.
Enjoy the festive holidays.
HPL winter courses start up again during the second week of January. We look forward to being out in the mountains with everyone who has booked so far. Happy Christmas and an adventurous New Year.
Check out worth a look the site is still underdevelopment but
OAA will bring some more adventures to Oban in the New Year.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Thaw has started on Ben Cruachan.

Today I was up on Ben Cruachan, I haven't been up there for a while and it was lovely to be back up on this fantastic mountain range.
Not that I could see anything today, clagged right in and raining persistently.
The considerable snow under foot from 3oom onwards was soggy and heavy going!
If we get a good freeze it will be brilliant up there, but that is not looking likely with the westerly air streams over the next few days!
So one day left working on the hill before Christmas and then time for some chill out time before a very busy and well booked up winter season. Must rest my little legs! For winter courses

Thursday, 15 December 2011

First Ski Tracks of the season today in Glencoe.

Mike freeing the heal.
One of the finest skylines in the world!

I was out today with Dan Goodwin and Mike Clifford.
Glencoe has some fine snow cover. The snow line is low approx 300m but thin below 500m.
The mountains have allot of new wind blown snow in their gullies and scarp slopes, some of which I am sure will be unstable. Ice was forming at 600m on exposed rocks.
If the temperatures remain cold with a freeze thaw cycle the climbing will be good.
The skiing was great fun on a firm base. The weekend has potential.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sky Scapes Today.

Ben Buie, Mull.

Today I was working in the fine low hills above Loch Melford, south of Oban.
A really atmospheric day during which the sky scapes dominated everything.
Snow covers the higher peaks of Mull and Ben Cruachan.
Just a fantastic days walking with the young people from The North Argyll Young Carers Adventure Project.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Winter arrives on the Ardnish Peninsula.

200m above sea level.
The gang.
Winter is here for a while, I guess?
Over the last couple of days the season has changed to winter on the west coast.
I was working with the students from West Highland College again. The two days were concentrating on navigation and leadership on expeditions. We headed into the low but perfectly formed Ardnish area to camp at Peanmeanch Bothy. After an intensive day of navigation we camped up above the beach and then headed out for some night navigation. Back in the bothy we had two fires ragging and some fine food to enjoy after a blustery few hours in the dark.
This morning new snow lay at sea level creating a wonderful atmosphere and fresh feel to the countryside. Views over to Rum and Eigg were wonderful.
Driving home to Oban the snow was falling heavily and Ben Nevis is starting to look plastered. Oban however is now wet and windy and not so white.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Day one of a BRAWA Coasteering Skills Course.

Wild old day on the Oban coastline. We stayed locally as it was exciting enough here on the coast of Ganavan. Severe Gale force 9, hail and snow and some sunshine all mixed in made for a fun day! Even managed to flood my waterproof camera!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dry Spell of weather today above Fort William.

Today I was out with the students again from UHI, West Highland College. We were having an in depth look at navigation before their expedition next week into the mountains above Glendessarry. It was a lovely day after a horrendous start and wild night. Some snow lay at 300m or so and 'the Ben' is looking white, but will it last?
I hope so, as it is going to be a busy winter HPL's courses are booking up and we have two two special offers on for winter courses, please see previous blog posting.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Coasteering Rescue Course Weekend.

Tows and rescues.
The Team.
Lumpy seas.
Good size swell.
Help! Help!...........
HPL have been hosting a Coasteering Rescue Award this weekend.
Based in Oban the participants took part in a variety of training and assessment scenarios based on potential coasteering accidents and situations.
Open water swimming, towing, marine cpr, casualty evacuation, first aid scenarios and movement in the swell zone and spinal injury and handling were covered.
The conditions were perfect for the course, large swell and high winds made for challenging but realistic situations.
The sea remains warm but the wind as it backed to the North West became a little cooler in feel.
Hpl are running BRAWA Coasteering Course Skills Training course next weekend in Oban, there is one place left.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Indoor Climbing work over last few days.

It has been pretty wild outside over the last few days so luckily I have been working inside!
On Wednesday I was at the Ice Factor working with the young people from the North Argyll Young Carers Adventure group and today I was working with Matt Heffer at The Ratho Climbing Centre, delivering day one of the CWA course to the students of West Highland College.
Its looking pretty windy for Friday so the SLSGB Coasteering rescue course we are delivering over the weekend should be pretty tasty!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Winter Walking and Mountaineering Skills Courses Special offers for 2012.

Winter walking at it's finest on the Ballachulish horse shoe.
Small ratios means a more individualised and personal experience.
Mountaineering ground and the use of the rope on day two of a Mountaineering course.
Open up your walking world!
Hebridean Pursuits Ltd have special offers on for the following two day courses based in Glencoe area.
Winter Walking Skills. Ideal for those who wish to extend their summer walking into the winter hills.
January 23rd 24th 2012.
Winter Mountaineering Skills. A good choice those with some winter walking experience but who would like to venture onto steep ground.
March 22nd and 23rd
Vouchers available for presents.
Based on a Minimum of two people the cost is £70 per person per course. Does not include accommodation or food. Includes specialist equipment.
To enquire or make a booking please call Andy Spink MIC on 07721778821 or email us on

Monday, 21 November 2011

Working with students from West Highland College today.

Today I was out with students from West Highland College, who are studying on the Higher Adventure Leadership course. It was their first day on the 'Mountain Sports Module'. We ascended The Little Buachaille in Glencoe. The weather was kind to us, starting really wet and clearing up as we ascended to the summit, from where amazing views opened up down the glen.
For some this was their first Munro, and others the first chance to concentrate on mountain navigation. It will be really interesting to see how the students develop over their module through to February.
The Mountain module will involve, indoor climbing, outdoor climbing, expeditioning, winter skills and snow sports, leadership and yes I get to go snow boarding and skiing as well!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Gear For Sale.

  • Outdoor Kit For Sale.

Scarpa Phantom Guide Boots size 41 used 3 times £190.

  • Patagonia R1. Fleece. Med. Black £35.
  • Patagonia expedition weight fleece. Short zip. Grey. Med. £20.
  • Rab Alpine Over Trousers. Event fabric, full side zip. Used twice. Med. £60
  • Petzl Meteor 3 Helmet. Like new. £45
  • 55m 8.1mm rope. Yellow and black. Excellent condition, have to many ropes so needs good home. £50
  • Burton Snow sports rucksack. 35 / 40 litres. £40
  • Macpac rucksack. 55 litres. Excellent condition. Purple and blue. £50
  • Snug pack sleeping bag. Merlin sortie 3. £30
  • Petzl micro head torch £10
  • Dachstein Mitts. £10 pair. 3 pairs available. Small / med.
  • MSR expedition xgk multi fuel stove and bottles. used but still working fine. £40
  • Snugg 3mm wet suit. mini zip size small / med. Used. £40.
  • Tikki Prodigy 6.5.4mm wetsuit. With Hood. S / M. worn twice. £90
    Air Tech mountaineering / walking ice axe. 55 cm. Used £35
  • Postage included.

  • Contact. Andy Spink.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Surf Kayaking Course.

Dry land drills.
An angry North sea!
Neil day 3, fantastic stuff!
Over the last three days HPL have been running a surf kayaking course for Neil.
We based the course at St.Andrews East beach and were lucky with the conditions.
Neil had only sat in a kayak once in his life! He called up to ask if he could learn to surf kayak even as a novice, so the challenge began for him this week, and he is hooked!
Neil did so well, stormy conditions on Wednesday and today really had him concentrating on all his edge control. Thursday was a lovely day with clean small waves letting us get to grips with the art of surfing kayaks.
Well done Neil, it's hard enough for seasoned kayaker's, I look forward to surf with you again soon...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Young Carers Adventure Project.

Today was the first day of an exciting Adventure Project for young carers from Argyll.
We will be working with these amazing young people through their school terms offering a variety of exciting and educational outdoor experiences.
Today we went Coasteering and Abseiling near to Oban. The conditions were really kind to us, staying dry and the sea is still quite warm!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Coasteering Cousre For school teachers.

Over the last couple of days HPL have been running a coasteering skills training course for the outdoor satff of Silverdale School, based out of Newcastle.
We used varied venues of Marsden Bay and the Eyemouth sea cliffs as training venues.
The weather and swell were excellent.