Next Scheduled Winter Skills Courses

Day 1

  • Route planning - What is achievable in winter? Where can we go? Can we even get there?
  • Avalanche and weather forecasts -  Be Avalanche Aware is a resource from the Scottish Avalanche Information Service which we will look at in detail.
  • Equipment and clothing - How to dress for winter and additional tools.
  • Personal movement skills - Moving through different snow packs
  • Walking in crampons - It can be great fun, but it can bring its own problems too
  • Self-belay/ice-axe arrest - The ice axe is a mountaineer's 'multi-tool'. We'll show you how to use this effectively and in context.

Day 2

  • We'll go on a mountain journey and put the skills from day 1 to practice.
  • For those who are confident with their navigation, there will be the opportunity to look at winter navigation strategies.

The courses are run in the Cairngorms National Park. There are flights to/from Inverness and good rail and bus links to Aviemore and Kingussie including the sleeper train from London. Due to the nature of the winter environment, we may have to travel to different parts of the area to safely put our skills to practice.

Equipment Hire: Ellis Brigham in Aviemoreand Nevisport in Aviemoreboth provide equipment hire (Winter boots, ice axe and crampons). Please also see the Gear List which includes winter.

Requirements: This course is aimed at those with summer walking experience who want to venture out into the mountains in winter. A good level of fitness will be required and experience of navigation by map and compass. It is advised that if you've had no formal map and compass training before, you either attend a Silver NNAS course or are confident you have experience of the points covered in the syllabus. Please note that this is not a leadership course, but more about personal adventure.

Cost: If coming for only one of the days the cost is £100. For both days, it is £175.

Accommodation: The Silverfjord Hotel in Kingussie offers a modern 'home away from home', fantastic food and is right next to Kingussie Station. The Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore is another popular place being opposite Aviemore station. There is also the Scottish Youth Hostel Association in Aviemore and plenty of other hotels and B&Bs in the area.

Getting There: ​There are regular flights to and from Inverness Airport which is 36 miles from Aviemore and 48 miles from Kingussie by car. The airport has a bus service to Inverness station and both Aviemore and Kingussie can be reached from here. The A9 is the main central/east artery to the Highlands from Perth/Stirling and both Aviemore and Kingussie are just off this road. It is 72 miles to Kingussie and 86 miles drive to Aviemore from Perth.

Coaches also operate across Scotland and details can be found at Citylink

For trains, the Trainline gives all  of the options

The Caledonian Sleeper service from London is another great way to arrive!

These will be announced nearer the time with good notice for January - March 2019

The transition from summer to winter walking requires a greater level of planning to deal with the often ferocious conditions and new hazards such as avalanches, reduced daylight hours, and many summer navigation features being buried under meters of snow. These winter skills courses start with some classroom discussion before heading out to the hills for practical training and to put these skills to practice.

Our winter skills courses run over two days and cover the following:-

​​​​​​​​Winter skills courses