Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Back working on Orkney.

Heading up Enegars gorge.
The summit of Cuilags...!

Cuilags mighty corrie and scrambles.
Late or early depending on your point of view! Birsay Bay.
Coasteering venue at Yesnaby.
Abseiling delivery and senarios.
I am back over on Orkney this week running some in house training and competency sign off's for the Council Outdoor Staff up here. It's great to be back as the staff are great to work with and so so keen!
Yesterday, We headed to the fabulous Yesnaby for a coasteering and rock sport activities day. Yesnaby is on the Mainland of Orkney and offers fantastic venues for coasteering and sport rock climbing.
The staff ran a coasteering session in the morning for a local group and in the afternoon ran a rock sport session. I was there to sign off competency and give further training if needed. A great day of workshops and training was had and the weather was impeccable with an amazing sunset.
Today, Wednesday, we have returned to the island of Hoy. We have spent the day looking at navigation and exploring the burns and gorges on the small but pretty steep and perfectly formed hills of Cuilags. At 433m they are deceptive and very interesting. We found some great gorge scrambling and plenty of aircraft wreckage!
Sounds as though the school http://www.hebrideanpursuits.comHPL have in at Tavool House are having a great time, gorge and canyoning yesterday and on Mull and today Climbing on Erraid, pictures up soon.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Galloway Hills and Coasteering At Culzean Castle.

On Shalloch of Minnoch on Thursday night.

Corserine's fine rolling summit at 814m.

I have been down in the beautiful Galloway Hills walking and Technically Advising on Coasteering at the fantastically placed Dolphin House outdoor Centre at Culzean Castle. It has been four days of sky scape's, the clouds have dominated the whole week. I thought only pictures of skyscapes were appropriate to emphasise just how picturesque it is down in Galloway and how remote it feels on the tops. I managed to squeeze in another couple of Corbett's, which is always very pleasing and of course have now explored another small chunk of the UK's coastline. I am working on Orkney next week so the blog may go a little quiet as the technology might fail up there!

HPL has a group out on Mull at Tavool House on a residential multy activity week so watch this space for more adventues from the HPL team!

Monday, 20 June 2011

HPL'S 5 month Instructor Training Course is launched!

HPL are offering four places on an exciting Instructor Training Course starting November 2011. Running for 5 months it will offer those keen to pursue a career career in outdoor pursuits to gain maximum time doing real activities and log book experience towards NGB awards. A fantastic alternative to traditional academic courses. Adventure alongside some of the UK's most experienced and qualified practitioners after all experience is everything! For more information please contact us at or Andy Spink MIC, IML, BCU Level 5 coach on 07721778821

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Atlas Mountains Expedition and Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition in Morocco.

Looking back up the valley to Afella and the Biiguinnossene ranges.
Myself with Toubkal beyond from Aguelzim at approx 3700m.
Adrian half way up the narrow 300m Taddate couloir, a great fun alpine ascent.
The gang on Toubkal's summit!
Adrian and Kenny above the valley on day 2.
I have just returned from The Atlas Mountains in Morocco after a fantastic 10 days of trekking and mountaineering with a great bunch of young people from a variety of locations in Scotland. Our adventures focused in and around the Toubkal region. The first four days were based on a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Assessment and the second half of the trip concentrated on ascending North Africa's Highest mountains, in particular Jbel Toubkal at 4167m.
The group had such a fabulous time starting at Imil at 1740m then trekking over passes of 3700m into the quiet, lush and pretty Azzadene Valley and then five days later over to the French Alpine club, Nelter Mountain Hut below Toubkal at 3207m.
I am pleased to say everyone passed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award with flying colours and we also had a fantastic day ascending to Toubkal's lofty summit from where we were rewarded with amazing views stretching out to the Sahara and the Atlantic coast.
During the trip myself and co instructor / organiser Adrian Henderson of 'ACE' ascended the fine shaped mountain of Biiguinnoussene [4002m] from the very remote Lepiney hut via the Tizi n'Taddate a long snow couloir with an entertaining middle section of mixed ground.
The weather, after a few days of low cloud was impeccable. Allot of snow remains high up, the good winter making for some routes to feel like full alpine ascents needing crampons and ice axes. Back in Marrakesh it felt like a cauldron compared to the fresh Alpine regions we left behind. Marrakesh is a wonderfully colourful and vibrant city which contrasts nicely the quieter hill villages and the shopping in the Souks is every bit as challenging as the hills themselves!
We were very lucky to have the support of Toubkal Trekking and their very skilled staff during our explorations. Their food and local knowledge was so crucial to our very successful expedition. HPL is offering another Gold D of E Expedition for 2012 and we are currently looking for 4 young people to join the four we have already to return to Morocco in June 2012.
HPL are now also offering guided ascents of Toubkal and the surrounding 4000m mountains to groups or individuals for 2012 season and beyond.

Friday, 3 June 2011


HPL now have an intensive instructor training course available. Starting in November it is open to all abilities and experiences. Based out of Oban we are offering an alternative to academic outdoor courses and concentrating on real, practical first hand experience in the mountains, at sea, in the surf, canyons and coasteering.

4 places are available. If you are interested or know someone who is looking to gain valuable log book experience and hard skills whilst learning alongside some of the UK's most qualified and experienced coaches, instructors and guides this course will enhance your carer in outdoor education and an amazing insight into this challenging and exciting industry.

if you are keen to know more please contact Andy Spink at or on 07721778821