Category Archives: Scotland

Scotland Winter Trip Day 2

Sheltering from the elements in Ciste Mhearad

Two ways of sheltering in Ciste Mhearad

 

Today we were out on Cairn Gorm again – the second day of our Scotland winter Community Event, the aims of which are to build relationships and have adventurous experiences.

 

We wanted to stay together as a group today, take in some steeper ground and get into a more remote part of the Cairngorms. The original objectives were to head to The Saddle via Ciste Mhearad, journey along Loch Avon, find some steeper ground into Coire Raibert and then come back over via 1141m (the handy spot height and cairn above Coire Cas).

 

Unfortunately we did not quite fulfill the original aims: the wilder weather forecast for the afternoon seemed to hit earlier, making for more challenging walking conditions. This meant that the team became drained physically, so after running through emergency shelters in Ciste Mhearad, we called it a day and headed out.

 

Last night two more members joined us, Chris and Maggie, who are keen on some winter climbing. As such, James, who is working towards his Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC), is hoping to take in some climbs with them on an informal basis. Should make for a great mixture of activites over the week!

 

Gregoire is horrified at the weather

Horrified at the very un-French weather

 

Slow-progress-on-Sron-an-t-Aonach

Slow and steady progress into the wind on Sron an t-Aonach

 

raymond-battling-the-elements-on-Sron-an-t-Aonach

Raymond steels himself for the next push to the Ptarmigan

 

it-was-a-goggle-day

Goggles and smiles today from the team

 

Gregoire-and-James-enjoying-the-conditions

A cosmopolitan team: French and American

 

fighting-the-elements-to-the-Ptarmigan-Restaurant

The Ptarmgian Restaurant looms in the distance

 

discussing-navigation-in-the-shelter-of-the-Ptarmigan-Restaurant

Reviewing the navigation leg – Ptarmigan Restaurant comes in useful

 

digging-emergency-shelters-in-Ciste-Mhearad

Marc demonstrating his emergency shelter

 

Categories: Blog, Mountaineering, Scotland, Winter
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Scotland Winter Trip Day 1

Marc enjoying the slopes of Coire an t-Sneachda

Marc enjoying the slopes of Coire an t-Sneachda

 

We have just kicked off our first TMP Community Event, a Scotland Winter Mountaineering trip, based out of Aviemore.

The aim of the trip is to build relationships within our community by providing a focal point for new and existing friends to come and share a quality week with us in one of our favourite environments. Secondly, we aim to have an appropriately adventurous time, providing challenging and exhilarating experiences, but without getting into epics!

 

Today we headed into the Northern Corries to dust off the ice axes and crampons, as well as blow away the cobwebs with an easy introductory day in Coire an t-Sneachda,

 

Our winter skills team were lead by James and Nick, who put on an intensive session with Marc and Euan, running through all the essentials. These included movement with crampons, utilising the ice axe as a tool and simple, but fundamental tips, such as chopping a platform for putting on crampons or taking a breather on steep ground. The team then went on a short journey up to Windy Col (the lower area between the top of the Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais and Stob Coire an t-Sneachda) and finally to the summit of Cairn Gorm, before heading back through the ski area.

 

Topping out on the Fiacaill Ridge, Coire an t-Sneachda


The mountaineering team having completed the Fiacaill Ridge, Coire an t-Sneachda

 

In the meantime, the mountaineering team, led by me, had more of a stretching day. We walked part way into the coire, and then cut uponto the Fiacaill ridge. This is the broad ridge that bounds the coire on the right hand side. As it gains height, it steepens and throws up a narrow edge. The ridge direct is Grade II, but mainly a short mixed section of 10 meters or so, which was outside our parameters. However, Grade I ground can easily be sought to the right, which we did, and enjoyed the steep snow, which has now consolidated nicely.

 

Snow in the Cairn Gorm ski area

Sun and plenty of snow in the Cairn Gorm ski area

 

Overall, conditions were good and enjoyable for a first day. Winds were light, the snowpack was consolidating rapidly because of recent rain, plus there was plenty of snow to allow easy travel. The sun even came out at the end of the day, allowing for a brief coffee in the sun at the ski centre café!

 

Now to chill out in our amazing mountain lodge: sausage casserole, red wine, ice cream and a wood fire to boot!

 

Relaxing in our mountain lodge in Aviemore

Our digs for the week – comfy!

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Scotland Winter Mountaineering Trip #1

Scotland Winter Mountaineering

Scotland winter mountaineering in the Cairngorm mountains, Scottish Highlands

This is the first in a series of posts, leading up to our inaugural Scotland Winter Trip which starts on 23 February. It is no ordinary Scotland winter mountaineering trip, but the first of an handful of annual community events, in which we aim to give you the chance to get to know like-minded people, have a laugh and enjoy an adventurous week in amazing surroundings.

 

It is poignant to think that exactly one year ago, I made the long journey north, deep into the Cairngorms, shouldered a heavy rucksack and stepped out onto the hills of Lochnagar above Braemar. Inspired by the film Skyfall (Scotland, Skyfall & Ulysses), with its evocative Scottish backdrop, and the words of Tennyson in the forefront of my mind, I  tentatively set about fulfilling my plan for the next six weeks which would result in me successfully gaining my Winter Mountain Leader Award.

 

Adventures are best shared 

 

There is something satisfying, then, in announcing our Scotland winter mountaineering Community Event, in which one of the key aspects is, of course, community. Whereas I spent most of my last winter season alone, left to my thoughts and devices, this February is all about returning to share adventurous experiences together. There is great satisfaction in not only passing on skills, knowledge and experience to others, but also sharing those very same adventures with another; to return home and evoke that shared process, the sensations and reflections. This truly makes the experience whole.

 

On my first mini expedition (Highland Hobo #1), one of the main battles was with myself: I was totally alone and with recourse to no one. I vividly remember the feeling of vulnerability and the need to own my decisions, as well as any potential mistakes. It was a liberating experience, but one that I yearned to share in a broader context than that of one.

 

Good laughs, good company

 

In this way, you are invited to join us this February for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the amazing mountains of the Scottish Highlands in good company and for some good laughs. If you have never been out in winter before, we will ensure you are taught the necessary skills, and then the aim is to get on the high tops and see what the weather throws at us! For those itching to get stuck in straight away, we will brush off the cobwebs and then tackle some classic ridges and itineraries.

 

The emphasis is on good relationships, rather than running a commercial event, hence the shared minibus ride north, self-catering and cooking together. However, an all inclusive Scotland winter mountaineering trip for £350.00 is good value, so spaces are limited and fill up fast. Get in there quick!

 

For more details, see our Community page.

 


Categories: Blog, Mountaineering, Scotland, Simon, Winter
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