We have a winter skills trip every year in January – it is an opportunity for new members to learn the techniques and gain the knowledge necessary for safe travel in the Scottish mountains in winter, all from experienced guides. We have typically run this trip with a guiding company in the Ben Nevis & Glencoe region, however this year I wanted to do something fresh – with new guides and a new location. As for the new location, I settled on the Cairngorms – it offers reliable winter conditions, and a very short approach from the high altitude car park at the ski centre. I spent some time searching for a new guiding company and (with help from Matt Grint) settled on Mountain Circles. With our new location and guides picked, we commenced with the trip..
A spike in Ben Lairig’s popularity (or so I’d like to think..), along with the decision to make it a joint trip with YUMC, meant we had a lot of people coming. Most years we have somewhere in the region of 20-25, whereas this year it was over 40. This meant a lot of 9 seaters, all driving 6 hours to Scotland, all with students behind the wheel – a somewhat terrifying prospect. And the journey up was eventful – blizzard conditions on certain sections of the route meant everyone was delayed, some by a few hours.