February 25th - March 4th 2011, residential course.
its time to start talking about organising the Outdoors Magic Winter Skills 2011 course. Its only 5 month away and that will soon go - so!
This successful annual event is now in its 6th year. For those of you who haven't previously been involved - OMWS2010 saw some 23 people taking part over the course of 6 days. We had 17 people attend the weekend winter skills course, 6 people attend the new winter navigation & snowhole course and 3 people attend our technical winter climbing days. We were based at a great little bunkhouse in Nethy Bridge near Aviemore with the winter skills being run locally on the Hills of Cromdale whilst the other two courses were held on the Cairngorms from near Aviemore.
The dates for this years course are listed above. We would recommend that you arrive in the area on the Friday for Winter skills which will be commencing on the saturday morning 09:00 sharp and finishing 17:00 each day. Last year, people completing Winter skills had the option of staying on at the bunkhouse for additional nights if they wanted to extend their stay - right through to the following friday!
On Monday & Tuesday we ran the navigation/snowholing course on the Cairngorm plateau overnighting in Coire Dhomain. This was an opportunity for people to test out their map reading & navigation skills whilst doing so in typical Cairngorm whiteout conditions and to experience a night sleeping in a snowhole. This course was a resounding success.
Finally, Iain ran two technical winter climbing days in Coire An T Sneachda before the whole OMWS2010 course officially finished on the Friday morning.
You forgot to put the dates in
Doh missed them at the top of the page
Anyway. You may all be thinking whats it all about? Here are some pointers.
You can view the OMWS2010 thread here to get a flavour of our last course. You can view photos from the OMWS2010 winter skills course here, photos from the Nav & snowhole course here; and photos from the winter climbing days here & here.
Basically, as a starting point you need to be a committed and well kitted out hillgoer with prefereably some experience of walking in Britain's mountains in winter.
Our winter skills course will give you the skills & knowledge to venture out in more demanding conditions where you will be able to assess the snowpack for avalanche risk and deal with moving on steeper slopes and icy terrain where you will learn how to use an ice axe and crampons. You will also learn basic ropework skills to ensure your safety on steeper slopes and, if you are unlucky enough to get caught out, dig a snow shelter and survive a night in the mountains.
Last year's itinery for winter skills can be viewed here and a suggested list of equipment you will need to bring can be viewed here - I know they both say 2009 but the course content & kit recommendations etc have remained the same!
Yes Frank - there is nothing more embarrasing than offering a course without the dates - ive done it before, but this time they are there
Anyway - continuing!
For winter skills you will need to provide your own axes & crampons. If you wish to hire rather than buy, we can advise on hire outlets. Helmets & harnesses, also on the list, can be hired from us for £5 a set per day.
Before attending either the Nav & snowhole course or a technical winter climbing day you ought to have attended the basic winter skills course first to give you a basic level of competence & confidence; and last winter several people attended all three courses in the order outlined above.
The Nav & snowhole course is a two day/one night course designed for those people wanting to venture deeper into the winter environment but to have the skills to be able to navigate to safety if the weather deteriorates and survive a night out if necessary.
This course has a real expedition feel about it - certainly, the last course saw us having to navigate to our intended overnight stop in poor visibility and then having to work hard to dig out snow holes that were big enough for a comfortable night out - all done in sub-zero temperatures!
For this course you'll need to add to your list of kit - a good bivvi bag (not plastic!), a thermarest or equivalent, a sleeping bag rated to at least minus 10 degrees C and stove, fuel & food. And don't forget a compass!
For the winter climbing days. You'll need two axes - preferably one with an adze for chopping steps and one for hammering in pegs. You will have already attended a winter skills course and will have a helmet & harness.
On one of our winter climbing courses, you'll cover ropework in more detail than on the winter skills course to the point where you'll be placing running belays as a leader when climbing pitches and setting up suitable anchors with which to belay that second up the pitch. We will also look at techniques to retreat from a climb if you need to, for any reason.
So, whilst not physically demanding and definitely fun, there will be an emhasis on climbing technique on this day and a lot to take in!
Having read all of the above, you are probably wondering - what is it going to cost? Course prices are separate to accommodation and food, more to follow on that in a moment.
Winter skills two day weekend course - £100.00 Minimum group size - 6
Navigation & snowholing two day course - £90.00 Minimum group size - 6
Technical winter climbing days - £90.00 per person, min/max 2 people per day
Last year we had 17 people on the winter skills and we had to split them between two instructors at short notice. This was still a safe ratio but ideally there should be 1 instructor to 6 people for the first two listed courses and no more than two people per instructor for winter climbing.
Our prices are competative, but by all means - check!
Finally, accommodation. For OMWS2010 we arranged bunkhouse accommodation at a cost of £16 per person per night.
The accommodation was here and we have the option of exactly the same premises for this years winter skills course week.
However, there were concerns that it was a bit cramped with 23 people (never mind the stated total of 26!) and that the kitchen & dining/socialising areas were a bit small. so, we are looking into other options and will let you have prices for alternative venues within a few days.
On the last OMWS we also provided breakfasts on Saturday & Sunday mornings and an evening meal at a cost of £5 per meal. We are prepared to offer you this option again.
Breakfast consists of tea/coffee, Cornflakes/wheetabix, toast, jam. Cooked breakfast consisting of bacon/sausage & egg.
Saturday evening meal Chilli Con Carne with garlic bread.
Last time, the venue had, installed, a beer pump supplied by the Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore. After some discussion as to whether people wanted Cairngorm Gold, Trade Winds or Sheepshagger we opted to bring in a keg of Cairngorm Gold. This year, if people want it (if we use the same venue again or it is available at another venue) we will get another keg in and it will be £2.50 per pint - to be pulled only by course staff!
lots of things for you to start talking about! If anyone has any questions about anything to do with OMWS2011 you can post them here or pm me.
Bookings No one will be considered to have a place on these courses unless you have paid a deposit!
Deposits are £50 per course payable no later than Friday 10th December 2010. These are non-refundable.
Balances due on courses booked plus accommodation & food are due on January 31st 2011.
Monies can be paid either by pm-ing me for bank details or by sending cheques payable to Iain Gallagher at 31 Appleby Road, Kendal, Cumbria. LA9 6ES
Further details on accommodation options to follow.
Is anyone interested?
Depending on what accommodation we book this time mate, it may well be possible but I've got to find out what everyone's views are first.
On that note, what did you really think of Nethy Station?
It would be good to see you lads again.
Should I order another 88 pint keg of Cairngorm Gold??
You'd be happy to spend time there again then?
The truth of the matter is I think it worked well there last time - largely due to the flexibility of the owners. I think we'd struggle to find anywhere that was as flexible although we might find somewhere better for more money although this place is guaranteed at £16 PPPN.
I will be online again in a few days with more accommodation options
I'd be interested in the whole week, What's the deal with food, lunches, breakfast, dinner on the days not catered?
Do you have to bring your own, or is there somewhere close you can stock up?
Would be nice to see some of the one's on this forum, as I've not met yous before.
Ontario is a vast adventure playground just waiting to be explored and experienced
Minimal & lightweight footwear designed to enhance your outdoors experience
Become a fan of OutdoorsMagic
Follow us on twitter
Sign up to our free newsletter
Meet partners in our forum
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk