Saturday, 20 December 2014

Winter Courses 2015. How about a present for Christmas!

Happy Christmas and an adventurous New Year to you all.

Hebridean Pursuits wish you a happy Christmas and a fun New Year. We start our courses again on Jan 5th 2015. Regular reports of Scottish mountain conditions will be posted throughout the winter. These will primarily be for the Glencoe and Lochaber region. Take care and best wishes.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Day 3 Winter Walking Skills Course.

I thought I would require a wet suit today for working on the hill, but it remained dry until about 2.30 which was just brilliant! We headed up to the ski slopes in Glencoe to search out deep snow and we found it in bucket loads. Even after considerable thawing overnight the snow remains well established. With a freeze forecast it will be an excellent base. Not bad considering it has only been winter for two weeks! We covered some technical skills and theory which we hadn't covered over the first two days whilst out journeying in the hills. The digging of survival shelters, was, as always popular! Thanks to Jane, David, Chris and Paula for a great three days and we look forward to seeing you all again in the future. Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Very fine conditions in Glencoe today.

Today was settled, cold and dry in Glencoe. Conditions under foot were much better than yesterday with the ground being colder and the snow pack where wind exposed was frozen and perfect for cramponing on. The turf at 900m was starting to freeze well and the rime ice on the summit rocks and buttresses was growing rapidly. Unfortunately as we returned to the car the weather had already broken and the southerly as forecast was dominating. We were instructing on day 2 of a winter walking skills course and ascended Stob Coire nan Lochan's fine NE ridge in near Alpine like conditions. A team were out on the Scabbard Chimney area and a couple of very late parties on Dorsal Arete will have had a damp head torch descent. We are instructing again tomorrow. It is looking a little damp, but sup
prises happen!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Fine conditions in Glencoe today. Day one of Winter Walking Skills Course.

A much better day than forecast in Glencoe. We headed up Buachaille Etive Beag to instruct a variety of walking skills such as essential foot work and using an ice axe. Conditions under foot were varied from deep soft wind slabbed snow in ne facing bowls to hard packed wind blown neve at around 850m. No turf that I saw that was exposed at 900m was frozen and the temperature was rising as we descended. However a cold night is expected and this will consolidate the snow pack well.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Roses Project Outdoor Learning Academy.

Hebridean Pursuits launched the Outdoor Learning Academy. Eleven keen young people met up in Strathyre to start their mountain training module. They have 10 days of hill walking, scrambling, navigation, intro rock climbing skills training coming up between now and May. The weather has been wild up in Scotland but we still managed to get out in the hills both days to put the theory into practice. Tuesday in the morning was class room based concentrating on equipment choice, packing and carrying, navigation skills such as setting the compass, taking bearings and planning routes. We also discussed risk assessment and managing risks. Today, we headed out onto the hillside, although the winds were gusting 80mph we found some shelter in the east facing glens. Here they used ground to map and map to ground features, also they used timing to judge position and started to consider pacing to establish position on the ground
. During the day we set up a variety of scenarios for the students to consider how and what they would do in a given situation, such as a member of the group with a broken ankle. A challenging two days with the conditions but lots of outdoor learning established. We look forward to four days on Mull at Tavool House in February where we will look at more mountain skills.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Contrasts inside and outside today.

From the dawn over Glencoe to the intensity of instructing lead climbing, today at work was contrasting at so many levels. We were working with students from West Highland College on the climbing wall at the ice factor. Ironically it was very calm and sunny outside and with the fresh snow contrasting against the blue sky it gave an up lift to the excitements of future winter courses and adventures to come. A really enjoyable day coaching very eager and competent students. They will go onto to train for their climbing wall award and work towards the success of passing the award in the near future.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fresh Snow on Ben Nevis today.

Winter is coming even if it is taking it's time! Today we were looking at winter safety issues with students from West Highland College, ATM degree course. After a discussion about clothing, equipment, forecasting, avalanche avoidance and SAIS reports we headed up to the north face of Ben Nevis to consider route choice, avalanche / terrain traps. The north face was looking dramatic with it's contrasting light and shade against the crisp clear blue sky. It was great to be back in winter gear and at long last we are nearing the start of our upcoming busy winter season. If you keen to winter walk, mountaineer or climb this winter
here is some information for your interest.

Coasteering Rescue Course based in Aberdeen on Tuesday.

On Tuesday we were in Aberdeen running a SLSGB Coasteering Safety and Rescue course for Adventure Aberdeen's instructional staff. It was a cold and crisp day, but in the winter sun it felt pretty warm. The sea was warm so we were winners all round. Well done to everyone for passing the award. This is the last of these courses this year. We will be announcing dates for next years courses based in Oban and of course we are happy to run these courses at your local venues for your staff teams. It has been an amazing coasteering year, thanks to everyone who attended our courses for making them so successful and enjoyable.