Winter mountaineers can warm up in the company of some of Scotland's top experts

Winter mountaineers can warm up in the company of some of Scotland's top experts

Everyone loves a bargain, and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland is offering something for nothing.

While we’ve only just past the equinox, many hillwalkers and mountaineers will be sharpening their crampons and dusting down their ice-axes in preparation for some upcoming winter action, so make a note in your diary for the series of winter lectures by luminaries of the Scottish mountain establishment. This year, two additional venues have been added for the talks.

Following the success of previous series at Glencoe’s Clachaig Inn, the lecture programme has been expanded to the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore and the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team base at Fort William.

The events are free, and open to anyone to attend.

The Clachaig Inn, scene of some of the lectures. Photo: Graham Campbell CC-BY-2.0

The Clachaig Inn, scene of some of the lectures. Photo: Graham Campbell [CC-2.0]

Speakers include writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish, mountain-rescue legend Dave ‘Heavy’ Whalley and Chicks Unleashed mountain instructor Rosie Goolden.

The Clachaig is the venue for Tuesday evenings; the Mountain Cafe on Wednesdays; and Lochaber MRT’s base for Thursdays. The lectures start in January and run until March.

The MCofS’s mountain safety adviser Heather Morning said: “The focus of the lectures is to entertain and educate on winter mountain safety.

“An inspiring array of speakers has been chosen who are guaranteed to provide an entertaining night out!  All the speakers have spent many years in the mountains and will draw upon their own experiences to illustrate hard lessons learnt.

“Each presentation will last approx 45 minutes and there will be opportunity at the end of each evening for any questions. Whether you are a hardened climber, or up in the Highlands for your first winter experience, you can ensure a good night out and learn something new.”

The list of speakers at the Clachaig is:

  • 2 and 9 February Roger Wild, IFMGA mountain guide, will talk about winter navigation
  • 16 and 23 February climber Nick Carter will talk about how to tackle hard winter routes in Scotland safely and successfully
  • 2 and 9 March Rosie Goolden, one of only a handful of female Mountain Instructor Certificate holders, will talk about Scottish winter mountaineering.

At Aviemore:

  • 20 and 27 January Ian Sherrington, IFMGA mountain guide and senior instructor at Glenmore Lodge, will share his adventures
  • 3 and 17 February and 3 March Simon Steer, deputy team leader of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team will recount tales, some funny, some not, from his 14 years in the team
  • 10 February and 10 March David ‘Heavy’ Whalley – Mr Mountain Rescue, a larger than life character with 37 years in mountain rescue and still a member of the Torridon team, with tons of entertaining tales.

At Fort William:

  • 21 January and 25 February Cameron McNeish, editor of TGO magazine and regular on the television screen, will talk about, among other things, his wilderness walks.
  • 28 January and 11 February Stuart Johnson, a Mountain Instructor Certificate holder and member of the Tayside MRT will talk about his work, including that of training officer of the Mountain Rescue Committee for Scotland
  • 18 February and 11 March Di Gilbert, another woman MIC holder, will entertain with accounts, among other things, of her ascents of Denali and Everest
  • 4 February and 4 March Richard Bentley will talk about his work as an MIC, member of the Lochaber MRT and a ski patroller on Aonach Mòr.

The venues are ideally placed for visitors venturing on to the Scottish mountains for some real winter conditions and will make an excellent round-off after a day in the snow and ice.

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