01690 720214

Scottish Winter Hillwalking

Course Overview

 
 

During the winter months, the Scottish Highlands are covered in snow and ice, and at their most impressive. This is a logical step up from our Welsh Winter Courses, and to feel confident above the snowline you need specific winter skills. Over these five days you'll discover how to use crampons and an ice axe; as well as learning about route planning and avalanche avoidance. As an introduction to Scottish conditions, all of these skills will be covered whilst gaining valuable mileage, experience and instruction on some of Scotland's classic mountains.

Experience Required

summer hillwalking

With MEALS & Accommodation:

* Includes accommodation on the night after your course finishes

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

The days in the winter hills can be long so you should have summer walking fitness but more important is the enthusiasm and determination to discover what's out there. No previous experience on snow in necessary.


Course Content

This course will take you progressively through the skills of winter hillwalking. Venues and day to day activities are weather and snow-dependent and decisions regarding the exact day's programme will be decided by the course director each morning. The whole group will meet for a briefing, allowing you to share the decision making process with experienced instructors. We will aim to cover the following topics:


  • Use of Ice axe and crampons

  • Ice axe arrest

  • Winter navigation

  • Avalanche risk assessment and avoidance

  • Emergency snow shelters

  • Terrain, route choice, and decision making


These areas will be incorporated into mountain journeys, hopefully taking in some of the classic peaks by some of the easier routes.


We make full use of the evenings by offering a number of technical lectures which re-enforce and expand upon the daytime activities. These may include:



  • Avalanche risk assessment

  • Cold injuries and hypothermia

  • Winter mountain navigation

Useful Books

Technical

  • Winter Skills by Fyffe and Cunningham - The official handbook of Mountain Training it covers all the essential information and techniques for climbers & walkers.
  • Navigation in the Mountains by Carlo Forte - The official navigation book of Mountain training covers all aspects of mountain navigation.
  • A Chance in a Million? Scottish Avalanches by Barton and Wright - A useful and understandable explanation of avalanches in Scotland.
  • Snow sense by Fredstan and Fesler - An easily accessible guide to snowpack and avalanches.
  • Scotland's Winter Mountains by Martin Moran - Lots of great background information on the skills of winter walking and climbing.

Inspirational/Historical/Guidebooks

  • Ben Nevis, Britain's Highest Mountain by Crocket and Richardson - The definitive book on the history of climbing and mountaineering on 'the Ben'.
  • Hostile Habitats - Scotland's Mountain Environment edited by Wrightham and Kemp - A comprehensive guide to Scotland's flora. Fauna and landscape.
  • Mountaineering in Scotland by W H Murray - An inspirational history of early mountaineering in Scotland.
  • 100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains by Ralph Storer - Classic walking and mountaineering routes of all grades.
  • The Munros edited by Bennet and Anderson - An essential guide to the Munros of Scotland.
  • The Corbetts and other Scottish Hills edited by Milne and Brown - An essential guide to hills that don't have Munro status.
  • Scottish Winter Climbs - SMC - A generic winter climbing guide with routes of all grades.




What's Included In The Price?

The high mountains of Scotland offer a unique challenge to mountaineers that comes with unrivalled rewards. The Scottish mountains have a world-wide reputation as the perfect training ground for mountaineering in the Alps or higher ranges. For our Scottish winter courses we are based in Glencoe, with much of the best climbing in Scotland right outside the front door. Our comfortable hotel-base 'Alltshellach' is situated at the head of Loch Leven amongst the most stunning scenery in Scotland. This is the ideal location for reliable winter mountaineering conditions, within a short drive of many iconic winter venues including Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, Aonach Mor and the Mamores. We recognise that to learn effectively and a gain the most from every day, it is important to have a comfortable, relaxing base for your adventures. That's why we return to Alltshellach each year.

It has everything to help make your course an enjoyable and rewarding one. Comfortable rooms, a relaxing bar, great food designed to fuel you up before and after a big day and even a swimming pool to sooth those aching muscles. This year, we've included a night's bed and breakfast at the end of your course too, so you can leave in the morning relaxed and recharged before your journey home.

Whilst you are with us in Scotland you'll be able to take full advantage of our equipment stores too. Our stores are packed with the latest high-quality equipment and our staff will help you select the most suitable gear for you and the winter environment. Of course, all technical gear hire is included in your course fee so, as always at Plas y Brenin, there are no hidden costs.

Combined, our high-standards of instruction, accommodation, food and equipment represent an unrivalled experience and excellent value for money. Take a look at the list of what is included in the price below.


    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Instruction/coaching
    Equipment hire
    Snow safety equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of swimming pool


    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Accommodation the night after your course ends
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch


What's Not Included In The Price?

    Aanoch Moor Gondola (600m of mechanical uplift). Approximately £10
    Ice Factor - indoor ice climbing wall. Approximately £20

One, none or all of the above may be included in our course programme depending on the weather and mountain conditions.





Accommodation For This Course

Alltshellach

Your accommodation for this course is in comfy en-suite rooms (normally shared) at Alltshellach, a fantastic hotel owned and run by HF Holidays. Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided. There is also a WiFi Lounge and swimming pool.

Your course fee includes accommodation the night before your course begins and the night after the course finishes.

All your meals are included - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal, starting with dinner on the night you arrive and finishing with breakfast on the day you leave.

If you wish to upgrade to a single occupancy room please contact the Plas y Brenin bookings team on 01690 720214 or bookings@pyb.co.uk.

HF Holidays are happy to extend your stay prior to your course or for additional nights after, to arrange this please contact then on 0208 7321247 or jamie-leewhite@hfholidays.co.uk.

Arrival and Departure

Please arrive at Alltshellach the evening before the start date of the course, for dinner at 7.15pm. An evening meal is provided on the night of arrival, but cannot be saved for people arriving later than 7.15pm, unless booked in advance (you can do this on your equipment loan form).

Departure is the morning after your course finishes with breakfast the following morning is also included. Check out is at 10am.

Please remember that winter in Scotland can mean snow and ice on roads and rail causing bad or impossible travel conditions; therefore, please allow plenty of time for your journey.

Plas y Brenin cannot be held responsible for adverse weather conditions and in this respect we cannot offer refunds or transfers of course fees. If you are late in arriving for a course we will do our best to help you make up for lost time! Please try to contact Plas y Brenin if you are delayed on route.

To contact a member of staff, please call Plas y Brenin main centre on 01690 720214.

The address of PyB in Scotland is Alltshellach, Onich, Fort William, Inverness-shire PH33 6SA.
If you are delayed please contact HF Holidays on 01855 821357 and let reception know.

Travel
Download travel information here

By Car
From the South, you can travel by car along the A82, through Glencoe and over the Ballachulish Bridge towards Fort William. When you reach Ballachlish Bridge, ake the second road on the right after crossing the bridge, signposted B863 Kinlochleven. Alltshellach is a short distance along on the right (approx. 400 yards).

By Train
You could also travel by train. Most trains leaving from London Euston will take you direct to Glasgow Central Station. A short walk will take you to Glasgow Queen Street Station, from where trains leave to Fort William. Fort William is 13 miles from Alltshellach. You can take the overnight sleeper from London Euston direct to Fort William.

Scottish Citylink Buses (tel: 0871 266 33 33 or www.citylink.co.uk) depart from Fort William High Street fairly regularly. Or take a taxi (approx. £15 with Blue Bird Taxis tel 01397 703000). Scottish Citylink also have a service from Buchanan Bus Station, Glasgow (close to Glasgow Queen Street Station). Both will stop just past Ballachulish Bridge, just ask the driver when you get on.

The Plas y Brenin minibus will meet the Scottish Citylink Bus which leaves Glasgow at 6pm and arrives at approximately 8.34pm each evening, please let us know if you arriving on this bus by ticking the box on your equipment loan form. Details of how to reach Alltshellach from the main road are above.

By Bus
The final option is to travel by coach. National Express (tel 0871 781 8181 or www.nationalexpress.com) offer an extensive service throughout the country. Take a coach to Buchanan Bus Station, Glasgow. For onwards journey details from Glasgow, please see above.

By Plane
It is also possible to fly into Glasgow from major UK airports, and continue your journey across country from there.

If you are delayed please contact HF Holidays on 01855 821357 and let reception know. If you need to contact a member of Plas y Brenin staff, please call Plas y Brenin main centre on 01690 720214.

follow this link for more details





What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

Equipment


• Ice axe* - 55-60cm long. This should be a walking/mountaineering axe rather than a light weight ski touring one or a technical climbing axe. Such as theDMM cirque.


• Boots* - Good quality leather boots with a stiff sole - B2 or B3 rated. See boot advice below, the Scarpa Manta Pro Gtx would be a good example.


• Crampons* - 12 point mountaineering crampons that have anti-balling plates on and are compatible with your boots. See crampon advice below. The Grivel G12 is a good example.


• Gaiters - Extremely useful to prevent snow and scree entering your boots and help to keep your feet warm. For example the Mountain Equipment Trail DLE gaiter.


• Crampon Bag - A tough Nylon bag to protect the contents of your rucksack from the sharp points.


• Climbing Helmet* - A CE rated climbing helmet that is large enough to fit over a hat, such as the DMM Ascent.


• Snow/Ski Goggles - An essential item for days out in the Scottish winter environment. A budget pair with two layer lenses will be fine.


• Rucksack* - There is generally a lot more that needs to be carried on a day out in the mountains in winter compared with summer. A 35 to 45 Litre rucksack is fine such as the Deuter Guide 35+.


• Rucksack Liner - Almost no rucksacks are waterproof, so a waterproof liner is needed to keep your kit dry. Either a large dry bag or several small ones works well or a strong plastic bag such as a rubble bag (not a bin bag).


• Flask/water bottle - A small flask (1/2 to 3/4 litre) and a similar sized water bottle. Hydration systems with tubes rarely function well in winter.


• Map - Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map Sheet 41 of the Glencoe and Ben Nevis area. Ideally laminated or in a small map case.


• Compass* - Silva Expedition Type 4, in degrees.


• Waterproof case for your mobile phone - A method of protecting your mobile phone from the elements is essential.


• Whistle - A cheap plastic whistle is a useful item of emergency equipment.


• Head Torch - An extremely useful item of emergency equipment. A Petzl Tikka + or similar would be fine.


• Survival Bag - An orange plastic survival bag is an important item of emergency equipment.


• Personal First Aid - A small first aid kit in a waterproof bag to include Compeed or similar for blisters, a wound dressing, a triangular bandage and pain relief eg. Ibuprofen or paracetamol


• Emergency Food - Some spare items of high energy food that are sealed in a bag eg. Chocolate or muesli bars.


• Sun block and Lip Salve - To provide protection from UV radiation and the wind.


• Trekking Poles - Useful for walking below the snow line and for low angle snow slopes. Should be collapsible into 3 or 4 sections to make stowage inside your rucksack easier.


• Camera - Of your choice - the smaller and lighter the better.


Clothing


• Waterproof Jacket* - A robust breathable and waterproof jacket that fits over several layers. It should have a permanently attached hood that is large enough to go over a helmet.


• Waterproof Trousers* or Salopettes - A robust pair of breathable and waterproof over trousers, ideally long side zips (to aid putting on whilst wearing crampons) and braces.


• Insulated Jacket - A large warm jacket to wear whilst stationary is useful. It should be insulated with a synthetic material rather than down, which does not perform well in damp conditions.


• Base Layers - A couple of lightweight 'thermal' tops, short or long sleeved. Should be of a synthetic material and not cotton.


• Mid Layers - A couple of mid weight layers, ideally fleece, gives more flexibility for managing your temperature rather than one thick one.


• Trousers - Fleece trousers or power stretch tights work very well under waterproof trousers.


• Hat - A fleece or wool hat that is suitable to be worn under a helmet - no bobbles! A neck gaiter is useful.


• Waterproof Gloves - At least two pairs are essential. They should be dexterous enough that you can put crampons on whilst wearing them. The Mountain Equipment Guide or similar is recommended.


• Thin gloves - A thin fleece pair is useful for wearing whilst approaching the hills. For example the Mountain Equipment Touch Screen Glove.


• Socks - Several pairs of loop stitch style socks


• Personal clothing and effects for life in the hotel including swimwear for the pool.


*Indicates available to borrow free of charge from our kit store.


If you would like to borrow waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, helmet, winter boots or crampons please complete our equipment loan form available here and return to Plas y Brenin. For all other items marked with a * we don't need to know in advance, just ask your instructor when you get there.


If you would like to request a pick up from the 8.30pm Scottish Citylink Bus at approx. 8.30pm and/or would like a late dinner if you arriving after 7.15pm you can request this on the equipment loan form.


Advice on Mountaineering Boots and Crampons for Scotland in the winter


Boot advice


Boots for winter walking and mountaineering in Scotland should be warm enough for the coldest days (Minus 10 Celsius) and sufficiently waterproof to stay dry whilst walking through the wettest bogs. They also need to be rigid enough to kick steps in firm snow and to take a crampon; so rated either B2 or B3.
Most people, including our instructors, opt for good quality leather or a leather / Gore-Tex combination. Plastic boots are warmer but may be more cumbersome, and the warmth offered by high altitude boots is simply not necessary.

Larger sized boots will flex more than smaller sizes so if you have large feet, then definitely go for a more rigid boot. You will be less likely to slip out of your crampons. Our General advice is to buy a quality boot that fits your foot well; it is well worth the extra expense. Be prepared to spend some time ensuring the size and fit is correct. A quality boot will last many years and can be used all year round; most types allow the soles to be replaced. It is important to wear your boots in and it can be advisable to initially place tape on your heels and any 'hot spots'. Spend time walking around locally, even around the house, before attempting anything more adventurous. Most staff wear either one thick sock or a thin and thick combination. Buy good quality socks, and bring several pairs. For most winter mountaineering courses, our staff use footwear from the excellent range by Scarpa.


Crampon advice


Match your boot with your crampon both in crampon/boot shape and fit, as well as crampon/boot stiffness. Take your boot with you when you buy your crampons and fit them to the boot in the shop to ensure a good fit. With leather boots avoid a crampon that uses a wire bale at the front, but opt for a 'French style' plastic bale. Most good makes now offer a cradle and strap system, which is ideal, and helps avoid cold fingers! Buy a 10 to 12-point crampon with a general mountaineering configuration with anti-balling plates. Technical ice climbing crampons are difficult to walk in; the front points protrude excessively and are more likely to catch. Lightweight alloy touring crampons are not up to the harsh conditions of Scotland! With small feet (size 6 or under), certain types of crampon are best avoided - get crampons fitted by the shop.





Customer Reviews For This Course

Giencoe March 5-9.

Mick Hall

5 days fantastic hill walking in the Scottish mountains exceeded all my expectations. The weather was generally good but not benign which added greatly to the challenge for man from Suffolk. Our instructor Will was both totally professional and a great guy to spend 5 days in the mountains with. He taught us great skills to enable safety and good technique in the mountains. We were fortunate enough to have Sam helping us for the first three days giving us a ratio of 2:1 instructor.. Must mention my other fellow walkers- brilliant company on the hill and in the bar!! The Alltshellach was comfortable warm and very well run and the food a delight! This trip was long overdue and has already got me thinking about my return next year. Thank you all, Mick Hall


Great week in the Scottish Mountains

Neil Jordan

There were only two of us on this course and we were blessed with two bright sunny days and the rest were typical Scottish winter days with some driving snow and poor visability. Despite some poor avalanche forecasts we got out every day summitting two Munroes and a Corbett whilst practicing the planning, preparation and practical aspects of moving safely in winter conditions. The course more than met my expectations. We learnt about weather and avalanche forecasting and how to plan a safe route, the use of an ice axe and crampons, step kicking, ice bollards, snow holes, self arrest, navigation in winter conditions and then put our new knowledge into practice on our trips. Our instructors Kath and Keith were brilliant and were meticulous in ensuring that we always felt happy about what we were being asked to do. A bit of advice if you are thinking of going on this course. I used all the P-y-B kit and it was all excellent. Spend some time to really get fit. If you have not spent several hours walking in deep snow you may be surprised just how tiring it can be. I trained hard for 10 weeks before hand and wish I had done more. Summer fitness will not hack it. You cannot take too many pairs of gloves.Don't spend loads on gloves before you go. Wet your hands and then see if you can put them on easily. I found cheap fleece gloves were good. Do not forget your googles. They make a huge difference when walking in spin drift and driving snow. The Alttshellach Hotel has excellent facilities and the food is substantial. Thanks again to Kath and Keith for a superb week, breaking trail and guiding us on the Dragon's Tooth. A superb way to celebrate my 65th birthday!


What an amazing few days!

Amy Anderson

I have to say that the last few days with Rob and his team have been the best experience I have ever had. I went away with the Cotswold Outdoor team for 3 days Winter Hillwalking around Glencoe. We had allsorts of weather from 80-100 mile an hour winds to blizzards and white outs to mist and fog. It did then turn into a beautiful day on our final day which ended with us summiting the amazing Stob Dearg, Buachaille etive Mor. We were shown Ice Axe arrests (which I needed to use on my first day for real!), how to use and walk properly in Crampons, spotting possible avalanche threats. The guys at PYB are so knowledgeable, you know your in safe hands. Make sure if you are heading up to the the highlands, with its very changeable weather you take decent base layers, insulating jackets and hard-shells to cope with everything it will throw at you. wo pairs of gloves are a must and Tiger Balm was my saviour for those aches and pains after a long day on the hill!!! I cannot express enough how fabulous this experience was...its a must do at some point in everyones life!!!


Winter Wonderland (with a slight chance of rain) :)

Will Weir

I had the pleasure to be guided for 3 days by Rob and Kat (sorry if that's the wrong spelling) as part of the Winter Skills programme developed with Cotswold Outdoor and Mountain Equipment.

I can honestly say the guidance, information and choice of routes that I had the opportunity to soak up over the 3 days was exemplary and as a whole the support from the PYB guys has gotton the experience into the top 5 list form me.

What I found particularly enjoyable about the experience was the way the guides were, whilst focused on the serious tasks at hand, able to also offer a great wealth of knowledge and anecdotes both serious and silly to colour the experience and make it more memorable.

As far as knowledge I feel I gained exactly what I had hoped to and more.

The accommodation was amazing. Never have I spent time in such a comfortable environment, which is weird considering where we were and what we were there to do. The staff were attentive and fun which made coming in from the cold a lovely experience.

Finally the contagious enthusiasm the guides had for their vocation has really encouraged me to put more into my own development - so I thank them for that.

Keep up the good work boy and girls!


I would definitely recommend this course to anybody

Debs Martin

I was lucky to experience this course as a part of Cotswold Outdoor's training for staff.

The course is led by really knowledgeable instructors with years of experience behind them, so you always feel in safe hands. They're also very approachable and open to all questions - even though they've probably heard them time and time again. But it's not just a case of hanging around listening to their advice and instruction - you're actively encouraged to be hands on and pro-active. Learning ice axe arrests for example is a fundamental skill for walking in winter and is a serious matter, however it is also a lot of fun to practise when you know you're not in harms way.

The experience and skills I gained from the course have made me feel confident about being able to buy my own winter gear and heading out into the hills at this time of year which I wouldn't have done otherwise.

I would definitely recommend this course to anybody who wants to get out into the hills in winter but doesn't yet have the relevant knowledge or experience.


All in all a great course

Chris Bond

Hi,

I carried out this course with Cotswold Outdoor and Mountain Equipment. I found the course great I have now got a greater knowledge on walking in Scotland. The Staff were experisted and passed there knowledge thoughout the group. Question were answer and explain full. All in all a great course and I will be going back to Scotland soon.

Many thanks


really enjoyed it

Flavia Roberts


I really enjoyed myself, learnd a huge ammount and would highly recommend it.
The staff were all very professional with a lot of knoledge and experience ,I was honoured to be instructed by them.
I will have no hesitation to go back for more courses if I get the chance.
I would like to say thanks to all.
Flavia Roberts


Has give me confidence to walk in the winter

Donna Elder

I was lucky enough to be involved in the Cotswold outdoor Winter Skills course, and I was in the hillwalking group.

I had never underestimated Winter in the mountains, and was always a summer walker. This course has given me the confidence to venture out on my own in the winter, something I would have never done before.

Our Mountain leader Phil was just fantastic, and tought us everything we needed to know. He was very patient and supportive, and was always giving us positive feedback.

A word of warning though. I thought that I had a decent standard of fitness.....lets just say that this course pushes you to your limit, and deffinately makes you "did deep". Also I thought I had a head for hights, after climbing many of the peaks of Snowdonia. There were points of this course where I panicked a little at the sheer exposure of our position on the mountain.



Fantastic course, Fantasic Instuctors, Fantastic location.



Thanks guys.


What an experience

Fruzsina Horvath

I'm back from Scotland and had a really great time during this 3-day course. The instructors are really nice guys with great sense of humor; their knowledge and experience is so amazing. The hill walking was awesome, so the places they took us and the view from top of the hills was absolutely fantastic. They made my week and actually made me feel I wanted to climb!


Mountain Equipment /Gore/Cotswold Outdoor Course

john geoffrey george green

This was a marvellous course. The PYB staff were extremely professional but also approached their work in a very human way. Phil Dowthwaite was the leader of my group and he was truly excellent - you have every right to be proud of the way he goes about his work.
Andy Turner also spent some time in my group and he was also very very good. He worked really well with Phil.
The accommodation was excellent and the food was wonderful with plenty of choice.

10 out of 10


great Introduction to winter skills

Anonymous

Brief Programme Synopsis
Day 1: Arrival brief Intro & food
Day 2: Meet instructors , Buchaille Etive Mor basic ice axe instruction, 900m summit Evening: lecture on Avalanche Awareness
Day 3: Glen Coe Crampon work and snow pack analysis Evening lecture on navigation
Day 4: Ben Dorain Summit 900+m Crampons needed
Day 5: Nevis Range Aonach Mor 800m? snow holes and shovel up construction Evening talk by instructor on climbing
Day 6: Stob Mich via devils stair case navigation drills (dictated by high winds and driving rain)

Is it for me?
this is a great course for walkers who want to stretch their abilities. This could be enjoyed by absolute beginners but the key is fitness. i am a regular gym goer and squash player but the walking was a shock to the system. If you are not a regular walker i would create a programme starting a couple of months before your course date. you want to build up to walking at least 3 times a week and at least 4 hours at a time if on hills or up to 6 hours on flat terrain. There are plenty of rest stops and the party moves at a comfortable pace but being fit for the job will enhance your experience.
The venue is excellent but you will be expected to share a room unless you want to upgrade. i did and the room was brilliant.The food is good with two course breakfast and three course evening meals, an adequate pack up provided for the day- the more experienced walkers supplemented the pack up with their own trail food (nuts, energy bars). as a guide i ate a 2 course breakfast and all 3 courses for evening meal with 1 or 2 pints and some additional energy bars i put on 4lb on the week!
Advice
Do consult the equipment list - buy the best you can afford -it is wet and cold good gear makes it bearable and enjoyable
Do get a rucksack with a hydration system, on approaches you will sweat - i was consuming at least 2 litres per day on the hills.
Do pack your sense of humour and leave your attitude at home. the average age was about 40 and our group was brilliant. An excellent week - where's that brochure!


Highly Recommended

Michele Wedlake

This was an AMAZING five days. Although I was physically challenged and always trailing behind the group up the slopes (needed to be a lot fitter, really), I had a fantastic time and learned a lot. The skills of walking with crampons and ice axes, different types of snow and safety procedures etc. will be invaluable for future walks. Even the dreaded ice-axe arrest training was actually great fun and I'd love to have more practice (but not for real of course!). We were even lucky with the weather and views, having bright sunshine for 4 of the days and spectacular views.

None of this would have been possible without the expertise and professionalism of Tim and Spike. They were responsive to requests for specific training such as digging snow holes, and even made us hot chocolate in the giant igloo we built! I admire and envy them both for having the best jobs in the world; they truly are experts and excellent instructors.

The accomodation was nicer than Wales, food good and plentiful, and I have no complaints on that at all.

I can't wait to do something similar again but will get into training first!


Excellent course

Mark Smith

As is usual for PYB the course was excellent and the instruction superb. All the skills you could wish for were taught during the 5 days along with a lot of mileage to instill confidence. The instruction of Tim and Spike was superb - not only were they highly skilled but they managed to teach even the least skillful of us how to safely travel in the winter mountains.

The accommodation is comfortable and set in glorious scenery - the food is adequate but the cakes are not up to the ones in Wales :-(

The only word of caution I would give to anyone contemplating this course is that it is 5 hard days out on the hills. We did 4 Munros in 5 days as well as all the skills activities. You also have to get use to walking in crampons and using the ice axe properly. What this means is that you should be as fit as you possibly can be to get most out of the course. You will find a great variety of walking speeds amongst the walkers (I am slow!) so be prepared for that.

If you can't do a big hill every day for 5 days then consider getting fitter or another course - its hard work!

Having said all that I loved it!!

Mark Smith


Excellent course

Andrew S

Having been on a number of PYB courses I had high expectations. Yet again, this was a very good course, taught by extremely helpful and proficient instructors.

We were very lucky with the weather, having great views on 4 out of 5 of the days. The instructors were able to design the days to satisfy the capabillities and goals of the group and make amendments when requested.

The accommodation at Alltshellach was very good - especially the jacuzzi after a long day in the hills!

There is a fair bit of overlap between this course and the Mountaineering one - worth looking into as they were more similar than we thought.

Overall, a very worthwhile course that took me from never having touched crampons and an ice axe before to being happy using and moving about the hills on them.


True course benefits

Dave Sullivan

Last winter I attended this course at Alltshellach. It was without doubt an excellent course, with friendly, informative instructors in an wonderful hotel and some of the best moutain experiences I've ever had. Some of you may have read my recommendations on the web site already.
On Sunday 25th Jan the full benefits of the course were brought home to me. While crossing Striding Edge I was blown off balance by a strong gust of wind, slipped & fell. My ice axe was torn from my hand on some rocks at the start of the slide, severely dislocating my shoulder. It was the knowledge & advice I learned on this course that were instrumental in bringing my rapidly accelerating slide to a halt after 50m and saving my life.
Due to my injuries I've had to cancel my booking for Alltshellach this year but I WILL be back next! It's thanks to the instructors there that I'm alive to do so.


Loren Eldred

Looking back over the photos from the Scottish Winter Hillwalking course I did, it's hard to believe I was there amongst the mountains, the snow, the wind and other like-minded (should that be crazy?) people wanting to do the same thing.

It was the coldest I'd ever been, the wildest weather I'd ever been out in and the most physically exhausting week I've ever experienced.

Everyone in our small team was great to get on with - friendly, supportive and fun. Plus our instructors knew their stuff, were easy to talk with and offered good advice, which can't always have been easy in a Scottish blizzard.

As well as gaining new skills and improving my confidence in extreme weather conditions, it has also given me a thirst for doing more adventuring in the mountains at any time of year.

So, if this sounds just like what you are looking for, then book up!


James Bridger

The course as with all the other ones I have attended at PYB was excellent.
The staff were fantastic not just in there character,instructional abilities but also ther experiences and depth of knowledge that they were more than happy to pass on (thanks cath).
The facilities and equipment were top notch,including the legendary tea and cakes.
Though there was limited snow during the course,it was adapted according to this, which again comes down to the standards set at PYB and the staff there, and we ended up learning more skills and had some fantastic days in the mountains.
Thanks again.


Alltshellach

Dave Sullivan

I found the course to be superb. Staff were welcoming and friendlly from the start, the equipment provided was excellent & the accommodation was good.
The course itself was well lead and enjoyable, with the information passed on in a very good mannner. Always instructive and never condescending even when I was making glaring mistakes!
It is no exaggeration to say it is probably one of the best experiences I've had in the mountains to date & I will be back next winter.
I don't think the grin on my face when I made it up corrie no 4 on Ben Nevis has faded from my face yet!
The only possible suggestion I could make to improve things would be to have access to a washing machine to clean socks/base layers etc.
And for anyone thinking of doing the course I'd say DO IT, you won't regret it.


Very good course, well worthwhile

David Adamson

I found the course of great value. It worked well for me, because it fitted in well with my plans for progression to Winter ML. I was able to check that I was comfortable with all the technical aspects and to get some excellent advice on doing things well and slickly.


kate threadgold

The courses run by Plas y Brenin achieve an excellent balance of professionalism and openess. The trainers are always first rate and excel in their fields but never make you feel inadequate whatever your level of experience. You are aware that they are in control of the situation and keep an eye on everyone in the group, teaching and advising where and when necessary.
The atmophere of the centres they use are lovely and you are always well looked after with great extras such as the highlight of the day - tea and cakes!
I would have no hesitation in recommeding the courses and do.
We'll be back for more.
Many thanks


Course Review

Malcolm Carey

I really enjoyed the course. I learnt so much, it has given me confidence in what is possible and shown me my limitations.
I was able to learn new skills. The venue was excellent, food good, hotel staff friendly and helpful.
I would highly recomemend PYB courses and intend to book on a navigation course in the future.
All of the PYB instruction staff were brilliant, they were all friendly and helpful, working hard to enable us to get as much as we could out of the course.

In particular I would like to praise our course instructor, Jon"Spike" Green. I was very impressed with his professionalism and knowledge.
He was skillful, helpful, friendly, gave his instructiions clearly and precisely. Jon was patient and encourageing towards all the people attending the course.
I would like to place on record my thanks and gratitude for his support.
We all have appraisals, therefore, I expect that your staff are no exception. I would like my satisfaction and praise to be recorded at his appraisal and brought to his attention.
Once again my thanks to you all.
Regards
Malcolm Carey
Peasemore




Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form


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Working alongside UCLan
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