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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.
Chubby Dave, stunned by the view of Coire Mhic Nobuil.
Torridon, North West Scotland.

mountain skills  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 multi-day itinerary, depending on what you'd like to learn and how much time you have available.

beginners winter skills training  a short course of either 2 or 3 days 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 an 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.

winter mountaineering courses  are available to help you independently tackle grade I/II gullies and snow-covered ridges. Training in these more-advanced winter skills, or traditional mountaineering techniques as they are also known, can involve just a single mountaineering axe or two climbing axes, whatever you prefer. Either way, the aim would be to set you up for venturing onto steeper or more technical winter terrain. You'll get to grips with winter scrambling and come to recognise the situations where a rope can add some safety.

where can winter skills training take place?  the usual valley base is the Aviemore area of the Cairngorms National Park. The nearby mountains of the Northern Cairngorms, an area of outstanding natural beauty, provide the perfect environment for learning winter skills - the easily accessible Northern Corries have reliable snow cover and contain a wealth of easy mountaineering terrain, particularly gullies. And the high and extensive Cairngorm plateau is about as arctic as it gets outside of the Arctic Circle.

If based in the Aviemore/Cairngorms area, there's always the option to incorporate a day of your training venturing further afield. An opportunity to put any newly learnt skills into practice on a winter mountain journey in a different part of the Highlands. With an early start, Aviemore is within a day's striking distance of Creag Meagaidh, Ben Nevis, the Mamores, Torridon, the Lochcarron hills and even the far North West.

If you'd like your training to be based elsewhere, just ask. It's easily feasible to arrange courses based in Glencoe, the North West or wherever you'd like it to be. There'd be a small additional charge to cover my travel expenses (quoted upfront). Otherwise I'm happy to meet you at your accommodation on the morning of your booking.

navigation training  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 with your smartphone as your primary tool. 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. Navigation training is available on a daily basis, all year round.

summer scrambling  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, I can teach you some simple climbing/rope techniques that will come in handy for the trickier sections of harder scrambles.

-  North Wales  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. Guided scrambling is available on a daily basis from late March through to November.

-  Skye  mountains, sea, great rock, magical light... Skye is unique and in our own backyard. There's countless corries and ridges to explore and the scrambling is as good as it gets anywhere (if not the best). The 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 scrambling, climbing or a ridge traverse, with skills training along the way if you'd like it. The best times to go 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 the Munros). A 4 day itinerary allows you to climb 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.