Thursday, 1 April 2010

The last week of adventurous training for this winter

I was back working for the last of Ron's Talisman Adventurous Training courses for the M.O.D. over the past few days.

The course started off with a pleasant day navigating around Castle Hill to familiarise everyone with kit, maps and compasses then we had a most glorious day on Cairngorm on Monday. Blue sky, sunshine as we practiced step kicking, cutting and ice axe braking before heading up the Cas ridge to point 1141 and on to Cairngorm summit. We finished off the day having a look at the snowholes in Ciste Mhearad before heading down the Aonach Ridge back to the car park.

Tuesday and Wednesday were the planned days for our expedition but it snowed and snowed and then snowed some more. We walked into the Lairig Ghru and up to the snowhole site at the bottom of the Sron na Lairige ridge that I had used before but the wind so strong that it was difficult to stand and the heavy expedition rucksacks were at risk of blowing away! Retreat was the only option so we quickly moved back down to a lower snowhole site just two kilometres away from Rothiemurchus Lodge. This was much lower and therefore much easier for us to get out from on Wednesday morning. Jamie and Will renovated one existing snowhole, I claimed another existing snowhole and Andy and Dan dug a new one very quickly. A comfortable night was had by all.

On Wednesday morning we woke to find heaps of snow had fallen and the wind was still strong so with an early start, we headed back to Rothiemurchus Lodge. We used snowshoes throughout the expedition and without them, we would have been floundering in deep snow. In the end I snowshoed back down the track from Rothiemurchus Lodge to my car which was parked at the gate. Lots of thanks to the guy from Sedburgh School who dug out my car from beneath its blanket of snow.


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