Every year University of Stirling Mountaineering Club hold a winter meet. At nineonesix-guiding we always help out for the first two days of the meet to provide some instruction and training, introducing novices to the skills and dangers of winter walking, and expanding the skills of older members.
This year the meet was in Kintail, and like last time we were there, the conditions were brilliant.
We had a large team of winter novices, and two more experienced teams, one of walkers and one of mountaineers. One day one the teams spread out along the South Shiel Ridge and made the most of a day that was much better than the forecast. A lot of fresh snow has fallen in the last week, so it was hard going and a lot of trail breaking was needed, well worth the effort on a day like this.
On day two the teams speed out, the mountaineers lead their way up the Forcan ridge under Nathan’s watchful eye, enjoying the alpine conditions. The introductory team ascended the western end of the Five Sisters of Kintail, bagging their first winter munro. I was with the further winter skills team who had planned a shorter day than Tuesday because of the hard work of the deep snow. We climbed up out of the valley onto the Shiel ridge, here we found knee deep soft snow almost totally unaffected by the wind, a rare thing in Scotland. Climbing the ridge to the summit of Creag nan Damh we managed a whopping 1km per hour average speed, and had to work hard for that! A small rocky step just before the summit, and then the end of the hard work and a nice direct decent back to the cars.
Well done to the students for all of their hard work, see you again next year!