Winter Skills

Winter Skills in the Cairngorms, 9-10 February 2019

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. Winter Skills event over 2 days in the Cairngorms led by Richard Kermode Richard Kermode was leading.

Winter Skills in the Cairngorms

Day 1

The weather forecast was pretty dire for Saturday and the start of a winter Skills weekend. I met up with Sharon, Rob, Dave and Maryam in driving rain and cold strong winds to kit everyone out and make sure we had plenty of warm clothing too. It was a wild drive up to the ski centre and we headed out into Coire na Ciste and made for some good snow slopes that were out of the wind as best we could find. Luckily the rain and heavy snow didn’t last and we were mainly in bright weather with fierce winds out of the shelter leaving us to our Skills course. We had some good footwork sessions and really good ice axe work on a wide range of different slopes with self belays and every type of self arrest going.

The wind was ever present and given how bright and sunny it was we braved a walk into the ridge above for a full blast as well as looking at some more movement techniques on awkward and steep terrain before retreating back into the shelter to look at some basic crampons skills. With flagging energy levels we went back to the car and into Aviemore for a coffee and some cake to talk over the day as well as looking at avalanche forecasts with route planning. It had been a much better day than expected all around given the forecast.

Day 2

Sunday came and we met up at the ski centre on a much nicer day with sunshine some flurries of snow and cold winds that were thankfully much calmer than Saturday. We walked around into Coire an t-Sneachda and started looking at a much better crampons session before heading up to the plateau for a mountain journey over Cairngorm.

It was cold and windy with some cloud coming and going which made for a magic walk and the crampons stayed on all the way. It was much busier up here today and we met many other groups out and about. Finding shelter was a challenge since everywhere we looked there were more folk already there! After a stop at the top we went down to the Ptarmigan and found shelter there before enjoying a fun walk back to the ski centre only taking off the crampons as we arrived at the carpark. It had been a good day so we went for more coffee and a debrief before heading on our journeys home some via the shops!

More photos by Richard Kermode and some of the participants are here on Flickr.

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