The scheme aims to instruct in winter mountaineering skills. Photo: MCofS

The scheme aims to instruct in winter mountaineering skills. Photo: MCofS

University students will get mountaineering instruction in a scheme backed by a Scottish charity.

St John Scotland is funding the appointment of a qualified instructor who will work with university mountaineering clubs in a bid to improve safety.

The project is also being backed by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and will see the appointment of an instructor who will begin work with students in winter 2015-16.

Instruction will be provided during club meets using climbers’ huts as a base, and potentially cover a range of activities including navigation, use of equipment, and techniques for safe passage in winter conditions.

David Gibson, chief officer of the MCofS said: “University mountaineering clubs can be a great way of introducing young people to the challenges of Scotland’s hills and crags.

“However, the time between joining a university club and getting out in winter conditions is relatively short and the consequences for the inexperienced can be serious.”

Sir Malcolm Ross, left, prior of St John Scotland,  with Willie Anderson, team leader of Cairngorm MRT, and Douglas Dow, chancellor of St John Scotland

Sir Malcolm Ross, left, prior of St John Scotland, with Willie Anderson, team leader of Cairngorm MRT, and Douglas Dow, chancellor of St John Scotland

Sir Malcolm Ross, who heads St John Scotland, said: “Our mountains in winter often provide little margin for error. Our aim in supporting this initiative is to ensure that students have a unique opportunity to receive qualified instruction during club meets.

“We believe this offers significant opportunities for both individual and group learning, and will encourage good practice in club activities.”

St John Scotland and the MCofS will begin recruitment for the mountaineering instructor in spring 2015, with the initial appointment covering the period August 2015 to March 2016.

The MCofS said the scheme will complement its current range of winter courses and seminars for university clubs.

St John Scotland is dedicated to helping others through medical and rescue activities. Since 1997 it has donated almost £3.5m to Scottish mountain rescue by providing 13 bases and vehicles for 27 rescue teams and has now embarked on a programme of replacing older vehicles. It has also provided boats for two Scottish rescue boat services.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Get the skills before you head for winter hills, says mountain safety expert
  2. Mountain body upbeat on safety as incidents drop to 30-year low
  3. On test: AKU Serai mountaineering boots reviewed
  4. Mountaineers’ warning from safety expert as snow continues