Trek & Mountain Winter Weekend Report
Last weekend, for the third year in a row, Peak Mountaineering hosted the Trek and Mountain Magazine Scottish Winter Weekend. This event, which combines a range of winter courses with varied social events, is a brilliant celebration of winter adventure and we were delighted that another fantastic team (comprising both some new and familiar faces) were keen to join us for 2016.
After locating the last few events on the west side of the Highlands, we moved ship to the Cairngorms this time around. This meant a change of scenery for the regulars (some participants have been on every weekend we’ve run!) and a new playground for some weekenders making their very first visit to the Highlands.
The 2016 Scottish winter, though offering it’s usual ups and downs, had shaped up nicely in the few weeks leading up to the event and although the temperature had risen in the preceding days, the weekend team arrived to superb stable weather and plenty of options for whatever course level they had signed up for.
For this year we were delighted to welcome leading equipment brand Salewa as event sponsor and they kindly provided both a selection of technical equipment for group members to test (and buy at heavily reduced prices after the weekend if they wished) along with each participant being given a great selection of clothing from Salewa’s new range along with a superb Tour-X Pro ice axe for every weekender.
There were sign ups for a broad range of course levels including winter newbies on the skills courses, a big batch of winter mountaineers, winter climbers and some team members enjoying our winter classic climbs option.
We met up on the first day and got everyone kitted up in their Salewa products before the instructors, all of whom were members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI), took their teams for a briefing before heading out.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being an instructor is to see happy and smiling course participants returning from inspiring days in the mountains with stories to tell, photos to share and life affirming memories to treasure. Day one was certainly one of those days.
On the first evening we held the famous, and highly competitive, Winter Weekend quiz (with great Salewa prizes for the winners) and then many of the team headed out for dinner before a well earned sleep in anticipation of day 2.
All groups built on their skills on the second day and we had teams in the Northern Corries, on Cairngorm and a few mountaineering teams on the superb Fiacaill Ridge. It was another blue sky day and the rosy faces and beaming smiles again told the story better than any number of words ever could.
The team hit the popular Cairngorm Hotel for the evening and the superb food was a well needed energy boost to power us all into the last day. There is something uniquely special about those post mountain day meals and, with such a broad selection of activity, there were plenty of stories to tell.
Our last day dawned and, although the conditions were fine, the temperatures had rocketed. This certainly became a soft shell day and fortunately the Agner base layers and Ortles Gilet’s Salewa had provided were perfect. It was also great to have the whole team dressed in the distinctive sky blue and red colours as they could then be easily be spotted on their varied objectives!
And so, too soon it seemed, it was time to say goodbye. Participants met back at our base before heading off to their various corners of the country. New friendships had been formed, adventures shared and challenges met - many of this group would undoubtedly meet again and we can’t wait.
A huge thanks to our friends at Salewa and Trek and Mountain for all their support and to the brilliant team of AMI instructors for their usual amazing professionalism. It was our privilege to organise this superb event again and we really can’t wait until next year. If you fancy going the 2017 Winter Weekend please get in touch and we’ll get you signed up.
Posted by Paul
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