Last week Sally and I had the pleasure of passing five new Summer Mountain Leaders, qualifying them to lead people in the mountains of the UK, to inspire them, educate them and to look after them. Dan, Holly, Andrew, Isla and Jamie did a great job all week of demonstrating all the skills required by Mountain Training to become mountain leaders. We're delighted to have this new crop of leaders and we know they will carry on to do a brilliant job.
The first day was all about managing accidents and incidents, mountain rescue and improvised rescue, medical conditions, hypothermia and water hazards. It was a nice day and we were very happy to go for a wade in the river Nevis after a few hours of walking! The water is quite warm at this time of year so it was not too uncomfortable at all. There are skills you need to cross streams safely and you can give a lot of support to your group as well.
Next up we had a leadership day in Glencoe on which we covered leadership in many different types of terrain, including route choice and safeguarding people in steep and broken ground. We went in towards Coire nan Lochan but crossed the stream to go up underneath Barn Wall and into the small coire between Barn Wall and Far Eastern Buttress. Here we got a rope out for the candidates to demonstrate their emergency ropework to safeguard people down a longer section of steep, scrambling type terrain. Afterwards we went to the summit of Aonach Dubh before heading back to the path and back to base to prepare for the expedition.
These five day assessments have a three day expedition in them. It's so nice to spend three days out in wild places, walking up beautiful peaks, especially at this time of year with the autumn colours coming out. This time we went to the two Easain munros next tio Loch Treig. We started from Fersit and walked over both peaks before going down to find a nice camp site bove the Lairig Leacach bothy. After dinner we spent some hours walking around in heavy rain and mist, on a very dark night, finding small contour features by pacing and following compass bearings. It was quite intense!
Next day we took down the tents and went to walk up Meall Mor, Meall a'Bhuiridh and Stob Ban before returning to the bothy to cook dinner and to camp close by. This area feels so far away from anywhere! There is no sign of anything man made at all, just seemingly endless mountains filled with the sound of the stags roaring at each other in the rut.
The candidates planned the final day of walking to get us back to the van at a set time and to include a nioce route to get there. We went over Cnap Cruin, a lovely wee hill, and got back right on time. Well done to all five new mountain leaders, Sally and I had a lovely week with you all and we wish you every success in the futre.
It's been a bit wet recently and tricky to work out which the drier days will be. Today I think Justin and I got it right. We were due to try Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis yesterday but the forecast for today was slightly better. Then the forecast changed for the worse and it looked like we would get a wet day today. As it turned out, we got really quite a nice day. You just have to give it go anyway and hope for the best sometimes.
We put on waterproofs right at the start but the walk in along the Allt a'Mhuilinn was quite dry and we had some great views of the clouds lifting off the summit. The ridge was sparkling in a little sunshine as we climbed out of Douglas Gap and there was blue sky above. A bank of cloud rolled up into Coire na Ciste as we climbed The Little Tower and this marked the start of the change of wind direction from south westerly to northerly. By the time we got to the top the temperature was dropping and the north wind was picking up quickly.
So, of course, we got sunshine on the way down! We were ready for anything though, including snow, and we got a whole mixture. Tower Ridge is always great though and we had a fantastic climb, Justin's first time on Ben Nevis and a brilliant way to reach the top.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.