A few nights away…….

Reuben

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Well here I am with my wife staying at The Isles of Glencoe hotel in February. A very nice place overlooking Loch Leven & the salaciously named Pap of Glencoe. Just had a lovely meal & posting this having a pint in the bar with a large Old Pultney on the side. As much as this sounds idyllic it all changes for me in the morning..
On Friday & Saturday I’m assessing a Mountain Leadership course on Winter Skills. Tomorrow I’m tabbing up Buachaille Etive Mor then across to Buachaille Etive Dearg to recon the ground in order to assess a Mountain Leadership Winter Skills course. It’s absolutely hammering down outside with sleet.
I met the 6 prospective Mountain Guides in the Kings House car park at the beginning of Glencoe at lunchtime for the mandatory kit inspection & 2 are back in Manchester by now for not having a £5 compass to back up their very expensive & state of the art GPS handsets.
The remaining 4 hopefuls have to navigate a set course of about 30 miles over 24hrs with a minimum 6hr stop under cover ie tent or snowhole with one section without GPS technology - hence the binning of the other two.
An instructor shadows them with me assessing their performance over the 2 days. Given that I failed 3 of the 4 on the Intermediate Mountain Guide Navigation course 3 years ago with pish poor scores, I asked not to do the assessment on this one but there are very few staff available.
Treating the wife with 4 days away in a nice hotel whilst I‘m away on the condition she drops me off on Friday morning & picks me up on Saturday afternoon/evening. This is my last year with the Mountain Leadership Association - should have been retired when I hit 65 but with Covid & a struggle to recruit new Instructors I was asked to stay on for a year. I‘ll miss it tbh as I only did winter courses - too many bungholes & midges in Summer & Spring. I still do some Mountain Guiding for the Brother in Laws company but I get to pick & choose the routes.
Just looked out the window & it’s snowing now……
 

Dave

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Wow, sounds idyllic in a way if you could stay around the fire in the bar that is ;)
 

OldTaff

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Good luck with the course - after years spent tramping the Brecon Beacons (pre GPS) I know how vital a compass can be when weather closes in especially, hope you get to enjoy your final outing - take care
 

Dave Spence

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It sounds like we are about the same age mate. You have my utmost respect for maintaining a fitness level that enables you to do this. I know that I and I suspect many more on here would not be able to do it. I struggle to carry my kit 50 yards nowadays.
 

62tucker

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Can you keep us informed on how it goes if possible. Especially at gales and -4 tonight. 😳
 

rudd

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A compass is just about the most rudimentary bit of kit there is along with a map.
 

Reuben

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Just about to drive up to the climbers hut to start. It was very stormy last night with sleet hammering off the windows blown in by 45mph gusts. No snow though so looks like snow holes will be off the table - unless we get plenty tonight. It’s still heavy showers at the moment with 50mph gusts & -4 with windchill. Fully Goretexed up but with a smallish & light Bergen - don’t need much kit today as only a recon. Different story tomorrow though. See you later.
 

The Runner

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Utmost respect.
Been up Buachaille Etive Mor a few times and it will be brutal in these conditions, the wind more than the rain or snow.
I’d probably be sat in the Clachaig all day with a nice pint or two.
 

NoCarpPlease

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Just about to drive up to the climbers hut to start. It was very stormy last night with sleet hammering off the windows blown in by 45mph gusts. No snow though so looks like snow holes will be off the table - unless we get plenty tonight. It’s still heavy showers at the moment with 50mph gusts & -4 with windchill. Fully Goretexed up but with a smallish & light Bergen - don’t need much kit today as only a recon. Different story tomorrow though. See you later.
You can take the Reuben out of the army but you can’t take the army out of Reuben!!

enjoy today ... still building my fitness back to tackle the mountains ... off to the Lakes at end of Feb and hoping for snow.
 

TiggerXFM

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Sounds great Reuben, enjoy it while you can.
I have a couple of friends who go cycling up the mountains in scotland and wales and camp out up there. The worse the conditions, the more they enjoy it!
"Pleasure pain" kinda thing lol.
 

Nunachuk

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Sounds great Reuben, enjoy it while you can.
I have a couple of friends who go cycling up the mountains in scotland and wales and camp out up there. The worse the conditions, the more they enjoy it!
"Pleasure pain" kinda thing lol.
An old Army saying, is that pain is just weakness leaving the body, ( I'm surprised that I have got a body left at all)-LÖL
 

FadingLikeDecay

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Enjoy, Reuben (if you can).

We had a light dusting overnight although its melting away already. I'm about to venture out to Costa to meet a former colleague, its bound to be absolutely baltic outside 🥶
 

tipitinmick

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Beautiful place to be. I’ve stayed up there a few times on my Birthday. Nice one Reuben. Enjoy mate. 👍
 

Reuben

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Well bu**er me, today was quite fresh!! It was snowing above 740mtrs & raining at 735mtrs & below, wind gusting to 55mph with the temp at -9C with windchill. Given the conditions I decided to up the pace a bit. Before I started I left some fuel, matches, a Primus stove, stuff for a brew, dry clothes & porridge in the Climbers cottage below the Buachaille for tomorrow morning’s final kit check & briefing. Meeting the 4 hopefuls & Greig the Instructor at 7am.
Then locked up & cracked on. Rain was horizontal from the left. Above 500mtrs there was a crust of ice over the rock so I had to fit the spikes on my boots, no need for crampons yet.
As said walked into snow at 750mtrs which was better underfoot & the wind being so strong meant no avalanche risk - hurray! Plenty of snow though, so overnighting in a snow hole is an option rather than a tent - I prefer a snow hole myself as it’s warmer. Still have carry a tent though as conditions may change.
Came off the Mor on a very direct route to save some time & up the Dearg - a bit easier as I went round the back out of the wind although it’s a bit steeper. Not as much snow on here for some reason so if the Dearg’s where they choose to camp it’ll be tents. Didn’t need to go to the top as the mist lifted & the track was plain to see.
It’ll be interesting tomorrow as condition will be colder - forecast -12C with windchill & just as windy with temps overnight dropping to -18C.
Looking forward to it as this is what a Winter Skills course is supposed to be about. Let’s hope the 4 hopefuls are prepared because they’re going to need to be. 🥶 Looking forward to a big dinner…..
 
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