WE ARE THE PREMIER PROVIDER OF WINTER SKILLS COURSES IN THE LAKE DISTRICT & SCOTLAND.
Our Winter Skills Courses usually start in January, but will all depend on when the conditions arrive!, the courses are based on a 1:4 ratio but we can arrange bespoke dates including midweek days.
The winter months bring some of the most rewarding days in the British hills and mountains but also the most challenging conditions.We aim to give you the skills to operate independently, and safely in winter. During our courses we provide a safe introduction to the techniques and equipment that you will need. As one of the country’s leading providers of winter skills training you will find our staff to be experienced, qualified and enthusiastic. The equipment we use becomes even more important in winter and we only use the best to further ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Our courses include the following main topics, but if you or your group require any specific training or guiding then please get in touch and we will organise something specifically for you.
ICE AXE AND CRAMPONS:
Safe and efficient use of your ice axe and crampons is a key skill in winter and we will spend time on easy angled slopes learning to use them effectively. This will go together with learning basic movement skills such as kicking and cutting steps in the snow. Safe use of winter equipment and the ground they open up to you will be a revelation! Throughout there will be lots of opportunity to practice and ask questions. We’ll also look at different slope angles and choice, fitting and care of your equipment
KICKING AND CUTTING STEPS:
Short sections of hard snow may be overcome by cutting or kicking steps. Cutting steps also allows rests whilst cramponing on steeper terrain. Good techniques reduce effort and increase safety.
ICE AXE BRAKING:
Most slips and falls can be avoided by learning to move safely and efficiently – however, should it happen, you need to be able to stop yourself with your axe. A minor slip can have serious consequences in winterand we will teach you to react quickly. Practice will take place on short, safe slopes where we can master the basics. An essential skill and good fun to learn!
During the course we will look at and discuss the range of winter equipment now available. This will include suitable ice axe and crampon selection, the most effective clothing systems and all of the little details that make such a difference to your comfort in winter. Some of these are included in the suggested list of equipment to bring so do read it carefully [eg. goggles!].
In winter conditions can be extremely difficult. Paths and features on the ground are frequently covered in snow and visibility can be very limited. We will look at the different techniques that are required and some of the tactics we may use to navigate more effectively. Within this we will look at basic routefinding skills to find the best line of travel avoiding specific dangers or even simply to steer clear of the deepest snow!
Every year people are hurt in the British hills in avalanches, many of them having assumed that it’s not a problem in this country. Anywhere where there is a significant build up of snow can provide a risk but with some basic knowledge you can be a lot safer. We will discuss how you can plan a route based on weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts and what you see around you. A fascinating subject after which you wont look at snow in the same way again!
SNOW SHELTERS AND SURVIVAL:
Surviving a night out on the mountains in mid-winter is possible (though it might not be desirable!) if you know how. We will show you the best ways to do this for a variety of snow conditions and look at the little details, which make the difference
We will look at all of the above on a weekend course but clearly the longer we have the more we can look at and the more detail we can go into. Weather and conditions can be fickle and we will always make the best use of what is available to us in the time we have. A reasonable level of fitness is all that is required for this course but the fitter you are the easier you will find it. Winter days are more tiring than summer ones! Please read the suggested equipment list carefully as it is compiled from experience – little details can make a big difference in the winter.
If you have any queries about this or any other course then please get in touch and we’ll be pleased to help.
COURSE PROGRAMME, DATES AND DETAILS – LAKE DISTRICT:
Saturday : Meeting points will be arranged on booking. Introduction, short talk and equipment check.
The rest of Saturday and other course days are spent on the hill, covering the topics listed above as appropriate to the group and the conditions. Longer courses share the first two days.
JANUARY: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26.
FEB: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23.
MARCH: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23.
Other dates, including midweek dates can be arranged for groups of 4 and above, please get in touch and we can tailor a course for you.
LAKE DISTRICT PRICES : From £140, based on a 1:4 ratio (Non residential)
We need a minimum of 4 participants to run this course in both the Lake District and Scotland, if there is insufficient demand, we will inform you 10 days prior to course start date, in the event that Highpoint cancel a course a full refund is made of any monies paid, you will also be given the option of transferring to another course subject to availability, we can also run bespoke private courses for a minimum of 2 persons, please contact us for prices.
COURSE PROGRAMME, DATES AND DETAILS – SCOTLAND:
Scottish courses are usually based at Greystones at Kingussie, near Aviemore – a friendly and well-run guest house with good facilities, and within striking distance of a number of fine Cairngorm and Central Highland areas. (Other venues are used, and all depend on weather and snow conditions.) please contact for info.
JANUARY: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26
FEB: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23.
MARCH: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23.
SCOTLAND PRICES: From £150 per person based on a 1:4 ratio (Non residential), we can also run bespoke private courses for a minimum of 2 persons, please contact us for prices.
OTHER INFORMATION ON SCOTLAND COURSES:
We recommend GREYSTONES HOUSE in Kingussie, where we base our courses from. Mark and Anne Johnstone can be contacted on Tel: 01540 661052
An equipment list is supplied when you make a booking. We can provide ice axe and crampons if you don’t have them. We also have a limited supply of loan boots, but we recommend that you have your own as we cannot guarantee a suitable fit.
For Scottish courses, Kingussie can be reached by train including an overnight sleeper from London, or you can drive, or fly to Inverness and use public transport/car hire to get to Kingussie (approx 1 hr.) Course members and ourselves normally share lifts locally on the course, and if you have travelled by public transport we can offer lifts locally – your own transport is not required. For the Lake District, you can drive, or catch the train. Taxis are also available but are expensive if you are on your own.