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Kath crossing the remote and wonderful
'Northern Pinnacles' on Liathach
Torridon, North West Scotland.
The beautiful snow arete of Sgurr Dearg.
An awesome finish to a winter
mountaineering course at PyB in Lochaber.
Paul, stunned by the view of Coire Mhic Nobuil. With a massive
high pressure forecast, no other destination was in the running.
Torridon, North west Scotland.
Dave in the narrow of 'South Castle Gully',
on the Ben Nevis.
On the eastern end of Liathach's main ridge
after an ascent of 'Access Gully', Torridon.
Toby approaching the final stretch of
the Forcan Ridge, Glensheil.

mountain skills training  a little bit of knowledge and experience can open up a world of opportunities in the mountains. Training can be arranged to help you enjoy the hills at any level. This can range from a single day's instruction through to a comprehensive 5 day itinerary, depending on what you'd like to learn and how much time you have available. A brief outline of what is possible is given below.

If you'd like to arrange any type of mountain skills training, just call or email with your preferred dates and we'll take it from there. Prices can be found on the bookings page. All winter walking or mountaineering equipment is provided, including crampons, an axe and a helmet, if you don't have your own.

winter skills courses  a short course can give you all the core skills needed for heading into Scotland's winter mountains. This can start with the basics, such as how to use an axe and crampons for travelling across snow-covered or icy mountain terrain. You'll also develop a basic understanding of avalanche awareness and be shown how to plan a great day in the winter hills, by using just the regular mountain weather and avalanche forecasts that are freely available on the web. Winter skills training is available for individuals and groups up to a maximum of 5 people.

For anyone venturing above the snowline it's pretty useful to know what to do in an emergency (now there's an understatement!). Emergency procedures, such as methods of staying warm and how to build snow shelters, and even navigational tips on how to get safely back to the valley in foul conditions, can all be covered during a day's mountain journey. A fun and informative day like this can easily be built into a winter skills course or arranged on its own.

winter mountaineering  training is available to help you independently tackling grade I/II gullies and snow-covered ridges. These more-advanced winter skills, or traditional mountaineering techniques as they are also known, still involve the use of a single axe but set you up for venturing onto steeper terrain. You'll get to grips with the nuances of winter scrambling and come to recognise the situations where a rope may add some safety. Winter mountaineering training is available for individuals and groups up to a maximum of 4 people.

Scotland winter - further info  the usual valley base for winter skills courses is the Aviemore area of the Cairngorms National Park. The nearby mountains of the northern Cairngorms, an area of outstanding natural beauty, provides the perfect environment for mountain skills training - the range's vast high arctic plateau has the most reliable snow conditions in Scotland and its easily accessible north-facing corries are peppered with long easy gullies and areas of steep broken ground, giving excellent mountaneering terrain on which to learn.

Whenever conditions look favourable, there's always an option of a day venturing further afield. It's an opportunity to put any newly learnt skills into practice on a mountain journey that will open your eyes to what Scottish winter walking or mountaineering is all about. With an early start, Aviemore is within a day's striking distance of Torridon, the Lochcarron hills and even the far North West. In the past few years we've made day trips to some of Scotland's most stunning winter locations. Some of which are well known and others that are well off the beaten track.

If you'd like your training to be in another part of the Highlands, just ask. It's easily feasible to arrange courses in Glencoe, the North West or wherever you'd like to be based.

navigation  for some of us, simply avoiding getting lost is all that's required and that's fine. Finding your way around in poor visibility can be far easier and more fun to learn than you think. In just a couple of days you can have the whole map and compass thing de-mystified and be comfortable navigating around the hills (essential as a back-up if a GPS is your thing). You'll learn essential navigation techniques such as how to walk on a bearing and how to pace or time the distance you've covered. And just as important, you'll learn how to pick out the safest route to your destination. If you think your forays might land you in more demanding situations, you can be trained how to get safely across the trickiest of terrain in whiteout conditions. Navigation training is available all year round, on a daily basis, for a maximum group size of 6.

scrambling  where do I begin? At one end, scrambling is the free moving and unencumbered approach to exploring the more rocky and secluded parts of our mountains. At the other end, it's traditional mountaineering, where a rope and a minimal amount of climbing gear are often carried just in case. With as little as a day's instruction, you can grab the basic skills of route finding and hazard awareness, which are all that's needed to set you up for easier scrambles. If you'd like to take things further, you can then go on to learn some simple climbing techniques that may come in handy for the trickier sections of harder scrambles. Snowdonia has some of the most accessible and varied scrambling in the UK and is an ideal area to simply ferret around in the mountains and learn.

Skye  mountains, sea, great rock, magical light... Skye is unique and in our own backyard. There's countless corries and ridges to explore with rock climbs of near alpine length and quality. The scrambling is as good as it gets anywhere (if not the best) and a traverse of the main Cuillin ridge ranks as the mother of all British mountaineering journeys.

Guided trips of between 3 and 5 days can be organised for climbing, or scrambling, or a ridge traverse, with a little skills training along the way if you'd like it. The best times to go to Skye are in May, early June and in Sept, when the weather's traditionally more stable. I quote separately for guiding on Skye, so please get in touch for a no obligation chat.

There are 11 Munros on the main Cuillin ridge, including the Inaccessible Pinnacle (the most difficult of all the Munros). A 4 day itinerary allows you to ascend all of these peaks and return to your valley accommodation each evening. This is a fantastic way to intimately experience the Cuillin mountains. The days are long but achievable for any fit hill walker.

alpine preparation  make life in the bigger mountains that much easier with a bit of pre trip training. Learn the art of safe glacier travel and make sure you can haul a partner from a crevasse. If your objective is alpine rock, the ability to 'move together' quickly and fluidly can be practised on the numerous mountain crags in Snowdonia... and if you still think 'fast and light' is a washing machine cycle, then you'll probably need some advice on what equipment to take with you.