Every year, we head to to Scotland for the SCC Winter meet which is always simply amazing – so it may come as no surprise that we are going again!
We are going late Feb to climb some ice and generally play around in the snow. The scenery is breathtaking, so much so that poets and artists have been romanticising about it for 100’s of years!. To make the long trip up worth while we plan to stay 7 nights so we get plenty of climbing and hiking opportunity.
We will be staying at the Strathspey Mountain Hostel in Newtonmore
This is a comfortable hostel with 18 bunk beds spread across 4 rooms. There are showers toilets, a drying room, lounge and fully functional kitchen. Bedding is provided.
The hut is located within town so its just a short stroll to the shops and a pub. Regionally Newtonmore sits between the Cairngorms and the Nevis range which gives us the most options for exploiting the best climbing conditions.
The hostel is within Newtonmore on the A36 ‘Main Street’. Postcode for sat-navs PH20 1DR.
£90 for the 7 nights. (£45 deposit needed on booking).
Car share: for a car it works out roughly £25 each for the return journey (Assuming 4 in a car, inc the M6 toll). Cost will vary from car to car so this is up to the drivers.
Newtonmore is a reasonable 540 miles one way, or ~10 hrs drive. Please try to share the driving i.e. add at least 1 other driver to your insurance (usually free or very cheap).
Generally, food is cooked as a group so will be arranged closer to the time – Most meals will be in the hut. We will likely have an arrangement for splitting the cost between the group for food
This is a winter meet where we will be winter mountaineering, winter climbing (mixed and ice) and winter hiking. Although this meet is open to all members it is essential that you have familiarised yourself at least with the basics of hiking in the mountains.
As there will be experienced people there will be opportunity to climb with them, though it is worth asking first!
We will be, once again, organising winter training in the form of Winter Skills courses (great if you have never been on the mountain in the snow and ice before) and Winter Mountaineering courses (great if you want to take another step in your winter climbing career). These will be available in the coming months and will be booked depending on demand
Remember this is Scotland in winter. Please check the list carefully. Bring kit for VERY cold weather and if in doubt ask someone with experience before choosing gear! There are also plenty of resources out there to describe all the kit required for winter walking and winter climbing. Below is a kit-list that is
Harness, shoes, belay device
Fleece and baselayer x2
Helmet Absolutely essential for any winter climbing!
Boots and crampons (At least B2 if in doubt ask for advice)
If you intend to climb then B3 Boots are recommended, these are very stiff-soled boots designed to take ‘C3’ Crampons where you will be placing your weight on to crampon-points. For hiking and some easy climbing (up to grade II to III winter) then B2 boots and C2 crampons are fine. UKC often has second hand gear for those on a
budget, failing that beg, borrow, steal…
Gloves (two pairs, one for climbing one for the approach/gearing up): see advice on UKC
Walking axe: These are relatively inexpensive (especially 2nd hand) but essential for hiking in winter. Make sure its T-rated eg the DMM Cirque as you can then use it for belays.
If you don’t own one, are a beginner, and are just trying this out you really don’t need a brand new axe- UKC forums are usually full of 2nd hand gear for sale, esp winter kit!
Good 40L+ or 50L Rucksack: Make sure the bag has both shoulder and waist straps and a rucksack liner. (A plastic rubble sac or dry bag will do)
Headtorch AND spare batteries: A non-starter, chances of dark descents are much higher in winter
Plastic water bottle (at least 1L per person),
First aid kit + blister kit
Warm hat, baloclava, and or buff/neck gaiter if you have one
Maps for the areas (also essential)
Map OS 41 Ben Nevis 1:50,000 or Explorer 392 AND 384 1:25,000
Cairngorms maps: OS Landranger 36, + 43 (optional) or Explorer OL57 and OL58
If you own the following please bring these too:
Half ropes (for trad) or winter climbing ‘iceline’ ropes
Ice axes for climbing (if you own more than one pair then I’m sure someone would be grateful if you would not mind lending them a set).
Sleeping bag or liner (if you prefer your own sheets)
Broaden your horizons and sharpen your tools 🙂