A few nights away…….

robert d

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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…..
Wow 👏 a brave man with invaluable knowledge 👏 , good on you for doing the extra year . Many of us wouldnt have a clue how to navigate without satnav or road signs and in such hard conditions , my hats off to you .
 

62tucker

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Last compass I looked at was in the heel of my shoe when I was a kid.
 

OldTaff

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Total respect for tabbing out in that, a big part of me wishes I were there too.

My Jacob has one of my old Silva compasses and a load of old OS maps that he plans “expeditions“ with them but he’s learned the basics of map reading already and that’s something he can build on and we have the South Downs on our doorstep to explore as he gets older.
 

Reuben

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Wow 👏 a brave man with invaluable knowledge 👏 , good on you for doing the extra year . Many of us wouldnt have a clue how to navigate without satnav or road signs and in such hard conditions , my hats off to you .
Thanks, mate. Navigation & survival is probably the only skill set that I was taught that I’m allowed to use outside of the forces! I’d do another 5 years if I was allowed but after you turn 65 it seems that you’re seen as a liability…It’s a pity because there aren’t so many people wanting to do it anymore.
 

Reuben

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My wife’s not happy cos she’s dropping me off at the Climbers cottage tomorrow at 0615! Want to be there early so I can get the fire going & some brekky on for us all - that way I can make sure that the on the course get something proper down their necks before they start.
Phoned them up this evening to tell them the local weather forecast & remind them they’ll need hot food for tomorrow night. I shouldn’t have to but they’ll have enough on their minds, no doubt. They’re a bit concerned about the conditions but, as it’s Winter Skills, they’ll have to suck it up or drop out of the course. It’ll be cold & wet but there’s no avalanche risk. Told them brekky at 0730 then briefing kit check at 0800 for an 0830 start. Anyone not at the 0800 job will be failed. Wouldn’t surprise me if someone doesn’t show as it’s absolutely hammering it down & blowing a gale as I write!
We shall see what tomorrow brings. Nighty night gentlemen….
 

Dave Spence

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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…..
I bet yer still moan if there’s a cool wind in your face when you’re fishing🤪🤪🤪
 

Reuben

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Yay, back in time for the rugby!!
An interesting 18hrs in proper Winter conditions. Day started with a final kit inspection & route brief. The 4 hopefuls became the 3 musketeers inside 10mins….Everybody gets a kit list that they MUST have - anything else is personal choice. A must have is spare batteries for any equipment carried that needs batteries. One fool didn’t pack them so off he went with much grumbling. The other 3 had everything on the list. I know it seems pedantic but these people are trying to qualify for their Mountain Guide ticket where other people‘s lives are in their hands. So if you can’t follow a simple list you don’t go any further.
Anyhow, 3 left - ‘Pecs’, he had a massive chest & arms but no legs or back, he looked like a wine glass. ‘Nutsack’, seemed to be scratching his balls every 30 secs & last but not least ‘Dayglo’, she wore a neon orange bobble hat. Had to juggle the route as 1 missing so Grieg the instructor did section 1 which was the easiest. Other three drew their sections from Dayglos hat. She got the map & compass section much to the relief of the other 2.
Off we went at 0830 into sleet, -4 with 45mph windchill. Greig set a fast pace to warm us up over the flat then up the Corrie. No need for much navigation as the mist was sitting @ 300mtrs & above.
Nutsack took over on the GPS a took us over my cunning zig zag route through a heavy mist, fain then the snow kicked in @ 550mtrs. He had to take us to a bag I’d secured the day before containing Mars bars - job done. Then Pecs took over to the next bag through heavy driving snow & 60mph gusts - success, as it should be using GPS.
Dayglo had drawn the short straw here as the younger generation don’t tend to like map & compass. I knew she’d be OK as she was using the map & compass all the way up & not making the mistake of just getting it out of the Bergen when she had to. I checked she knew exactly where we were, she did, & off we went. We were 6hrs in now so she needed to take us to a bivvy point before we lost the light. We arrived at a point I’d recce’d on Friday, just below the summit with a big snow drift up against a 50ft slab & some flattish ground where tents could be uncomfortably pitched. We arrived at 1530 in a lull in the snow but really blowing hard. This was the point we really had to stop as I couldn’t find anywhere else I considered suitable for a group - she just had to call it. She dillied & she dallied but, God bless her, made the decision.
Greig & I grabbed our snow shovels & burrowed into the drift, the snow was ideal. 10 mins later I was happy with mine & popped out to see how the others were getting on. I was gobsmacked to see that they’d chosen tents!! To be fair Dayglo had already pitched hers - a Hilleberg Akto & a very good choice of tent. Pecs & Nutsac we’re farting about on 60mph gusts trying to get a geodesic monstrosity up. It’s 1615 now & the light’s going. Anyhow they finally manages & shared the tent which was a good call.
I had a great night & was warm & comfortable unlike the unhappy campers.. Up at 0630 as Pecs fancied an early start down the Mor in the dark. The descent’s pretty easy then across to Dearg. Still sheeting down but light enough to start going up after a brew. It’s all GPS now so no dramas regarding navigation. Got to the 750mtr bag of Mars bars & I called the course finished. You could drive a truck up the path to the summit so no challange. Back to the Climbers cottage for tea, medal’s & debrief. They all passed. & now I’m in the bar with the missus, a pint of Bellhaven Best & a large Jura 10yr old……a great weekend. 🥃🍻
 

Peter

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now I’m in the bar with the missus, a pint of Bellhaven Best & a large Jura 10yr old……
Well deserved by the sounds of it..............................Well done Reuben :T:
 

Dave Spence

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I bet you were ready for that Jura mate. Utmost respect to you👍👍👍
 
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