Snow, Cake and Cabins

The following post was written by Woodlore Senior Assistant David Southey about a trip he undertook with fellow Woodlore field staff members Steve Corbyn and Rob Bashford in February this year:

“With ice axes and crampons packed, Steve Corbyn and I landed near Inverness to meet Rob Bashford for a long weekend of winter walking, learning new skills and refreshing ourselves before the new course season at Woodlore. After buying our food and settling into our dorm at the Glenmore youth hostel we chatted about the coming activities and caught up over tea.

Day 1:

We were up early the next morning in order to meet Gary, our instructor for the day. We felt it important to ensure our skills were as fresh as possible and, after a brief from Gary and a chat about the day’s aims, we set off for Coire an Lochain with the following tasks in mind to focus on:

  • Use of an ice axe for stability, cutting steps, fall arrest
  • Assessing snow pack avalanche risk using a hasty pit
  • Movement with and without crampons
Digging a hasty pit

Senior Assistant Steve Corbyn digging a hasty pit

The rest of the day was spent putting the skills to use tramping around Creag an Leth-choin before bidding farewell to Gary and returning to the hostel for tea and scones.

Rob Bashford tucking in to a delicious cream tea

Rob Bashford tucking in to a delicious cream tea

After a fantastic venison burger cooked by the hostel chef, we planned our next day.

Steve planning our route for the following day

Steve planning our route for the following day

Day 2:

We headed into Coire an t-Sneachda to practise what we had learnt and to dig some snow holes, but first things first, time for a brew.

Steve and Rob shelter for a brew

Steve and Rob take shelter from the elements for a brew

We scouted a suitable site for the snow holes; the westerly winds had dumped large banks into any leeward slope.

The vast landscape

The vast landscape

Snow holes dug, large enough to get ourselves out of the wind and sit in relative comfort.

Digging a snow hole for shelter

Digging a snow hole for shelter

Steve all cosy in his snow hole

Steve all cosy in his snow hole

Our objectives for the day complete, we walked a little higher to watch some guys heading up to into Alladins couloir.

Another group heading up to into Alladins couloir.

Another group heading up to into Alladins couloir.

Then back to the hostel to plan our second adventure.

Day 3:

Glenmore youth hostel once served as the training lodge for the Norwegians while they trained in the area during World War II.  Rob had found a grid reference for the QM’s hut belonging to the Komapni Linge, so we decided we’d try to find it.

Rob navigating to the QM's hut

Rob navigating to the QM’s hut

The first grid turned out to be a little off, so after a little local help we were put on the right track.

Inside the hut

Inside the hut

The trip was greatly enjoyable and not expensive, with air travel and youth hostel costs being a total of £140.00 for three days in the Glenmore area. It makes taking these new skills we all learn and travelling with them an affordable decision. To be able to use your knowledge to enable your trip into harsh environments to be relatively comfortable gives you great confidence, and we’re very much looking forward to getting out together again soon.

– Senior Assistant David Southey

1 thought on “Snow, Cake and Cabins

  1. Ciaran Rooney

    Really great post – thanks for sharing!

    Very beautiful landscape! Feels just like Norway, I guess that may have been why the Norwegians trained there.



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