Monday, 20 February 2012

Tiree High School, Winter Skills Course.

Our new Rucksacks and Ice axes on route to the North Face of Ben Nevis in challenging conditions.
Scotland above 1000m is an amazing place.

Will step cutting.
Moody Monday on Ben Nevis.
Dan on using front points.
Derek tackling steeper ground.

Four pupils and 3 teachers from the Island of Tiree came over to Glencoe to take part in a Winter Skills Course. The group had been with us before on their annual scrambling long weekend and they had requested another adventure but this time in the winter. Not bad for folk from an island no higher than a few hundred metres!
We have had a mixed couple of days, day one in Glencoe was absolutely amazing with blues skies and clear cold conditions. Day 2, [ today ] was grim, probably for the worst weather I have experienced this season so far! Despite the poor conditions everyone went out and made the most of the situation.
Day one was brilliant as we got loads achieved and bagged a Munro! We spent time concentrating on the skills required to move safely around on steep and firm snow. Crampons, ice axes, boots and associated techniques were employed to good effect.
The pupils and staff really enjoyed the fantastic conditions and perfect neve under foot.
They were really chuffed to reach a summit, for some it was their first Munro.This was was a major achievement for all concerned, they were very happy as allot of other skills courses seemed to remain on one patch of snow all day. Travelling in the mountains is the crucial factor and a deep philosophy for Hebridean Pursuits courses.
Travelling today was somewhat more tricky as the very high winds and driving rain was dominant! We decided to head up to the North Face of Ben Nevis and as only one of the group had ever seen Ben Nevis and never the North Face it seemed appropriate. It was a drenching so just before the CIC hut we turned around and headed back to base for some navigation theory and a review. Four hours was plenty today.
'The Ben' looks sad on days like today and others attempting to reach the snow line looked equally depressed!
The thaw is on again!
We had two very contrasting days and that in a strange way really made it a success. Plans for scrambling in August and next winter were covered over some fabulous Cakes made by one of the pupils.
The group were staying in The Independent Glencoe Hostel, everyone seemed very cosy!
Thanks to Dan Goodwin for working with me and Mike Clifford for his input on Saturday.
We await to see what the week brings weather wise. We have 15 folk booked onto a winter walking weekend this coming weekend so fingers crossed this warm weather blow through!