01690 720214

Welsh Winter Skills

Course Overview

Two days of intensive winter skills. Use and choice of ice axe and crampons, equipment selection, winter navigation and self arrest will all be covered.

Please Note: The Welsh winter can be fickle, and snow and ice conditions cannot be guaranteed. Throughout the course we will have a flexible approach to the programme to make the best possible use of the prevailing conditions. If there is no snow the course will still run.

Experience Required

summer hillwalking.

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

This course is for anyone who wants to take their summer hill walking a step further, and discover the delights of winter walking. No previous experience of winter hillwalking is necessary, however you should have some summer hillwalking experience. As winter days can be strenuous, a reasonable level of fitness is important.

Course Content

On this short course we will focus particularly on the two essentials: navigation and security on winter terrain. We plan to be out on the hill each day, and during a mountain journey we will look at the following areas:

  • Winter navigation skills

  • Terrain and route choice

  • Use of ice axe and crampons

  • Winter equipment selection

The Welsh winter can be fickle, and snow and ice conditions cannot be guaranteed. Throughout the course we will have a flexible approach to the programme to make the best possible use of the prevailing conditions. If there is no snow the course will still run.

Useful Books

  • Scotland's Winter Mountains by Martin Moran
  • Handbook of climbing by Fyffe and Peter
  • Mountain Navigation by Peter Cliff
  • Hillwalking by Steve Long (MT official publication)
  • Rock Climbing by Libby Peter (MT official publication)

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

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

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Warm outdoor wear e.g. walking trousers, thermals/base layers, fleeces, good quality walking socks

  • Warm hat, balaclava (if you have one), neck gaiter/buff

  • Gloves and mitts - 1 pair to wear and 1 for spare plus mitts to go over the top (if you have them)

  • Mountaineering boots B2 or B3 - if you don't have B2 or B3 boots then bring your normal walking boots for any days you don't need crampons

  • Crampons (with anti-balling plate)

  • Ice Axe

  • Helmet

  • Harness (for Mountaineering and Winter Ridges courses only)

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Day rucksack 30-40 litres

  • Rucksack liner (e.g. rubble bag or dry bag)

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Blister kit

  • Head torch and spare batteries

  • Snow googles (if you have them if not sunglasses)

  • Compass (Silva Expedition 4 recommended)

  • Maps - OS 17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley 1:25,000 (and OS 115 Snowdon 1:50,000 for navigation courses). Laminated maps are great as you don't need a map case and you can make notes, mark points etc. (Can be purchased from our shop)

  • Fine permanent pen (for writing on laminated maps)

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores so you don't need to rush out and but them. If you are wishing to borrow any of these items please ensure you return your equipment loan form. Download your equipment loan form here.

  • Walking boots/mountaineering boots (B2/B3)

  • Day rucksack

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Compass

  • Crampons

  • Ice axe

  • Helmet

  • Harness

Customer Reviews For This Course

Great Course despite lack of snow!

Jamie Grainger

Still got loads out of the course even though no snow. Covered loads of things and instructors were great and really down to earth. Accommodation and food excellent!! Definitely go again.

Welsh Winter Skills

Angela Dunne

Great course at a great venue. In spite of the lack of snow Stuart managed to locate enough for us to practice our skills. Sunday provided a great walk and more snow. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Welsh Winter Skills


On the way to Wales I assumed the weather conditions precluded us from finding any snow to really get stuck in with crampon and ice axe use.
However! Stuart our Mountain Guide took us to a place that there was snow on the first day! We learnt so many of the essential things and even tried out digging snow holing!
On the second day we ascended a nearby mountain and consolidated many of the skills we went through including navigation. The conditions were fantastic, so we were very lucky indeed!
Overall, an awesome experience and I cannot imagine having a better introduction to winter skills. Highly recommended! Not to mention the excellent accommodation and catering!

Great couple of days in Wales

Lucas Fraccaro

I've got to be honest and say I didn't really know what to expect from the course or the centre. I was very surprised when I arrived. The accommodation was of top quality and so were all facilities.
The course was very informative and the instructors very friendly. The weather was terribly wet, but again, the facilities and dry rooms meant that we were ready to go out again the next day. Would definitely come back and recommend it.

What a weekend!

Nigel Duckworth

Had a truly great weekend. Plas y Brenin is just everything you want, great instructors (Cath Wilson), great company, quality equipment, great food and then you get the weather. Really enjoyed this course and feel comfortable venturing in out in winter weather knowing that I've had the best training. Will be back for more as soon as I can. Thanks to everyone.

Excellent course all round

Dave Fenton

Booking the course in April, well in advance of the course dates, was always going to carry the risk of 'no snow' for winter skills. There was no snow - plenty of rain but no snow. However the instructors were able to adapt the course content to create a hugely enjoyable and worthwhile weekend nonetheless. We learned the skills around crampon and ice axe selection, fitting, movement up, down and across slopes on PYB's own 'artificial snowy slopes' (well, very slippery railway sleepers). In the classroom we covered loads of stuff dealing with winter equipment, avalanche forecasting and avoidance, basic ropework, navigation and route selection. Out of the hill - (imagine it was snow) - we put a lot of the classroom stuff into practise, especially the micro-navigation and terrain considerations - i.e slope angle, slope aspect in relation to wind and weather. All in all it was a great weekend. Great instructors, great group of people on the course, great location, great meals, great accommodation.

Thanks guys!

Welsh weather for skills on the hills!


Having booked this course to get some practise at walking in challenging conditions I should have been delighted with the weather over the 2 days. Saturday saw plenty of snow so gave the perfect opportunity to practise with the crampons & ice axe which was great fun & made me feel like a 'real mountaineer'. Sunday however was very, very wet & I'm very, very happy to say the day was cut short to return to base for tea & scones & watch instructional films instead. I would thoroughly recommend this course & will definitely be returning to Plas y Brenin to sample another weekend of weather & walking!


Tim Gould

Thanks to PyB and our instructor Lou Tully for a great weekend of Welsh Winter Skills. I've wanted to do something like this for years. I'm also particularly pleased my sons now have the map & compass skills to navigate in the mountains. The PyB 'glacier' was great fun. Good luck to Tom for Nepal and Chris for the Pyrenees. Looking forward coming back to PyB in the near future.

Got a lot out of my two days

Tom Meikle

Lou Tully was an excellent instructor she found snow when there was very little about. She adapted the days to suit the conditions and the groups mixed needs. I felt very safe at all times and got a lot out of my two days.
I enjoyed staying at the centre and would come back again.
Both myself and room mate were surprised to find we were sharing a room not sure this was made clear at time of booking. If it was it would be a good idea for reception to remind guest at check in so that one did not spread ones belongings out too much.

Can't wait to come back!

Eve Sullivan

I was slightly apprehensive about the weekend as it was chosen by a friend and I had reluctantly agreed to go along.
Wow, what a fantastic time I had!
I couldn't praise the centre and the instructor more.
There is a real sense of community in Plas y Brenin from all the fellow students to the members of staff.
The setting is idyllic, the accommodation spot on and the food was great.
All the staff are willing to assist at all times and with real enthusiasm.
I have now discovered a love for winter mountain walking and am looking forward to my next ice axe and crampon encounter.
I think I might just be able to navigate my way up and down a mountain now too!
A big thank you to Plas y Brenin and my fabulous instructor Gareth :-)

A great experience at a great centre in superb location

Dom K.

We had the full winter experience - all the elements you could imagine, but thanks to our instructor Gareth, who did us proud, we had a great and safe time. Staff are all very helpful and friendly. Gareth gave very useful, interesting instruction, professional approach, but in an enjoyable way.
Kit hire was very good, organisation throughout the centre excellent too, as were the facilities. Rooms comfortable, food was superb! Evening presentations were really interesting - avalanche and Scottish mountain adventures by Greg. Would love to come again and hope my health allows it. 10/10 in all respects!

Top place, top instructor, top weekend.

Ignacio de Murtinho-Braga

First-timer at Plas y Brenin, but I definitely plan to come again. An amazing spot, run with heart by experts that love what they do, and want other people to love it too.
Gareth, our group's instructor, was inclusive and informative from the beginning. We were a varied group in terms of ability, fitness and temperament, yet with unflagging patience and humour, Gareth pulled us together and taught us, by example, that the most useful skills of all on any trek or expedition are people skills.
Many thanks also to Will and Christine who were on desk and driving duty; best of luck to you both for the future.

Crampon novice


I've just had 2 great days out in the very fresh air of Snowdonia, learning some new winter skills.
Day 1: A walk up to the summit of Moel Siabod, with my first go at using crampons and ice axe. Our instructor was informative, very encouraging/patient and great fun. The snow at the top of the mountain was fairly deep and so it felt like an alpine experience. The views were stunning and the weather wintery. A real sense of achievement for me personally.

Day2: A walk to the summit of Crimpiau. Today I learnt how to pace & guage distance, set OS map, take bearings and interpret OS map. It rained good & proper. What struck me today, was how good our instructor was at catering for the different abilities within the group - supporting those who were finding some of the paths tricky, but also challenging others to do more complex map work. Some lovely views again.

I feel energised, and can imagine making another visit - perhaps during the summer.

I would like to try the routes we tackled over the weekend and feel confident that I could do that safely.

Thank you Gareth!

I really enjoyed meeting the people who were on the same course. The facilities/food at PYB was fabulous. I enjoyed Greg's talk about Scotland.

A great way to spend a weekend! Thanks everyone!

Excellent course

Dave Green

Great instruction by our leader Greg. Had full on days getting out into the hills looking for snow and Ice. learning skills and then trying them out.
Good lecture on Avalanches.
Kit hire very good.
Accommodation and food excellent

Excellent introduction to Winter skills, crampons and walking axe

Steven Hunt

Excellent course instruction. The format was ideal being out on the hills most of the day and the instructors were very knowledgeable.
Being able to use the loan equipment was one of the most important deciders when booking the course as it gave me the opportunity to trial Winter skills without a large outlay for equipment. The centre facilities were of a high standard and provided a really pleasant experience.

No snow? Still go!

Marcus Blackburn

The final days of November 2014 - dry, sunny and no snow!

Day 1: In and around the center, theory and some practice.
Our instructor (Dave Kenyon - a very experienced mountaineer) made great use of the wooden railway sleepers to teach movement with crampons and ice axe. With the aid of plastic sheeting we were able to practice ice axe arrests sliding down the lawn. So OK, I still need to practice on snow - but I now feel able to do so.

Day 2: Out on the hills, Cwm Idwal on this occasion. An almost perfect proving ground for skills training. The lack of snow and ice meant we concentrated on improving security using a rope. Another great day.

In 2 days I feel I gained enough knowledge and practice to be safer on the hills in winter.

A small first step - but in the right direction. Great course - thanks Dave and PYB.

An awesome introduction to Winter Skills

Joel Rodker

The PYB centre is located in stunning Welsh countryside and this alone is worth the visit. But from arrival to departure I was impressed by great hospitality and first class service. Our coach/course tutor was very professional and experienced and was able to cater to all abilities in our group.
The course starts with an introduction with some basic but very useful guidance about kit and equipment. Although there was only patches of snow at higher ground we were able to make use of this to learn and practice various winter skills. This included when to put on and take off crampons, how to walk in crampons, how to do various ice axe arrests and some informal advice about walking in the mountains in winter.
The weather forecast for the second day was for rain and gale force winds so a sensible decision was made to do some micro navigation at less exposed altitudes. This was really good fun and we were able to do some decent walking in the wind and rain while testing out some important navigation skills. On Saturday evening we also had a lecture on avalanche awareness which was really interesting. And there were some great talks by world class kayakers that night in the main lecture room.
The facilities were of a very high standard - clean and spacious rooms, good canteen, well stocked kit store. A highly recommended course in a top class location.

Welsh Winter Skills Weekend

Rory Campbell

Our instructors were Dave Percy and Stuart, freelancing with PYB for the weekend.
We spent the first day climbing Y Garn to take advantage of the snow near the summit and every opportunity was taken to relate to our surroundings and the local conditions, in terms of the skills and knowledge needed to operate safely in the winter environment.
This was nowhere more obvious than in the choice of activity, with regard to the weather, as the day started in bright sunshine (turning to rain, sleet and snow) so we took full advantage on day one, as the forecast was for rain and high winds on the Sunday.
We were given a sound grounding in the use of ice axe and crampons and had the chance to try these in a range of conditions and in the deployment of a number of techniques.
Both instructors were excellent in the depth of their knowledge, but also in their ability to convey this and interpret it to a mixed group of individuals from a range of backgrounds.
Despite the weather and the lack of much snow in the vicinity, I would still rate the course very highly, as there was no wasted time and even without the snow, we were able to practice and develop essential winter navigating skills and even to use crampons on the timber glacier!
There was also some quality input on avalanche risks, interpretation of weather weather maps and the types of health risks and injuries involved in winter mountaineering.

FUN :)

Francesca Mancuso

I came here with a friend as we wanted a proper introduction to winter skills.
I was a bit worried as I didn't even know how to wear crampons or what to do with an ice axe.
Luckily most of us were novices, and everybody was easy-going, nice and friendly.
Our instructors were absolutely amazing!
I haven't had so much fun in a long time! We all learnt a lot and laughed a lot :)
The accommodation is stunning, the food delicious, the course highly recommended to anyone.
My friend and I decided that we'll do a navigation weekend at Plas Y Brenin in a few months.
All my fellow mountaineers recommended Plas Y Brenin to me and now I would recommend it to anyone too :)

Windswept Wales was worth it.

Dipika Price

Despite winds above 60 km and the the initial fear of being with big strong walkers I came home informed and happy. Young Harry was incredibly encouraging and made additional effort to make sure we understood all the instructions. Great accommodation. Good food and beer. Thanks Harry and Andy. I survived your course! Roll on Mont Blanc!

Excellent weekend for Winter preparation.

Richard Allen

Had an excellent weekend despite a lack of snow at ground level. Surprised by what I learned about what happens to snow at higher levels and this gives me something to think about. Still able to learn the use of crampons and ice axe in the 'no snow' area. I would certainly recommend this weekend to learn the necessary skills, especially the navigation in low vis. Good instruction from Oli who also made it fun.

Solid Skills Training - Great Environment

Anthony Dobson

Well organised, nice and dynamic programme taking advantage of prevailing conditions. Dave Kenyon - the instructor - was very obviously a pro and his laid-back, yet authoritative presence made the the whole course something special. The facilities were great too - everything from the drying room to the stores were there when you needed them. Front of house staff always willing to go the extra mile to help, whether that be scrounging some laundry detergent or giving advice on the weather and kit.
The "open-to-all" climbing lecture was truly inspirational despite some AV/internet issues - great team at PYB who are all so obviously passionate about what they do!
I was so impressed I stayed an extra 2 days taking advantage of the fabulous location as my climbing/hiking base-camp so to speak! Very good value bed & breakfast with good food too. Bar prices weren't bad either.
Couldn't recommend the place more highly!

What a weekend

Darren Brooks

Winter skills course but not a lot of snow......
I did think it would be a problem little snow but Dave led us to one place he did think there was snow and there was!
So we were able to use ice axes in the real world.
It was also cold but not too cold, so it was like a Welsh winter but not too hardcore which made learning the skills was fun in not too harsh conditions.
Great weekend, at a great place with loads of friendly faces.

Good course despite the mild weather

Bruce Matheson

The slopes made of wooded sleepers were some compensation for the lack of snow. Classroom sessions were good with the basics covered and plenty of information to follow up. Simple roping work exercises on the slope of Y Garn were appropriate to the sort of mountain walking the participants envisaged. Food and accommodation excellent as usual.

Great introduction to winter walking


My husband and I joined this course to try snow walking and what an adventure and weekend. The center was great - a warm and friendly welcome and good accommodation and food. We were concerned that there would not be snow but we were lucky and treks up into the hills provided plenty of snow to try out our skills.
The equipment and advice was excellent and it has whetted our appetites for a Scottish course to follow up next winter and some equipment shopping!
Thank you to Plas y Brenin

Fantastic weekend

Heidi Malein

The course far exceeded my expectations. Excellent instructor, fabulous group, perfect weather conditions for the course.

An excellent course and a credit to the centre

Jonathan Borthwick

Notwithstanding the lack of “winter” weather, I found the course both worthwhile and thoroughly enjoyable. The standard of instruction was excellent, and subject matter was delivered in a professional manner that accounted for differing learning styles.
It was also delivered with a great sense of humour, which created a thoroughly good atmosphere within the group.
Given the lack of appropriate weather, I thought the instructors improvised well and created an excellent course which was a credit to the centre.

Very Good Thanks

Rob Henaghan

Very good, could have done with more snow. See if you can organise that for next time!
Fantastic place at PYB, well looked after.

Great value, excellent instructor

Kirsty Mawhinney

Expectations were met and far exceeded on this 2 day course. Louise, our instructor, was excellent - very thorough and full of helpful tips and tricks, not just about winter skills and navigation but also equipment, ice axe/crampon trips abroard and how to build on skills learnt.

The accomodation is uber clean and rooms quiet and warm. The food choice caters for all varieties of taste and you definately won't go hungry as the portions are extremely generous. The bar is an added bonus.

The surroundings are amazing and staff friendly - couldn't have wished for me. Would recommend to all wanting to learn new skills and also have the benefit of a good night's sleep/not being disturbed by noisy neighbours!

So that's how you use an ice axe!

Dave Glenis

this was a very enjoyable, yet challenging and informative course.
I now know what an ice axe is for, when to use crampons and how to get up into the snow in the winter.
Throuout the weekend, the instructors gave us very useful information about correct use of equipment, how to stay safe on a mountain (even when you stop for a drink) and how to read the snow against a map when all around you is white.
The climbs were very challenging, but once completed gave one confidence in one's own ability and in the equipment.
I would recommend and encourage anyone who wishes to get up into the ice and snow, to attend this course.

Lucky with the weather; Truly awesome!

Peter Menken

The course ticked all the boxes!
First day some good snow and exhausting day out with crampons and ice axe.
Second day rather challenging expedition during snow and chilling wind.
Lots of useful tips and feedback.
If only the snow had been a bit deeper, I would have loved to also try a few fall arrests.
Good afternoon tea and dinner.
The sandwich selection for the packed lunch was a bit poor on the first day but improved steeply on the second day. Four vegetarian sandwich options is not bad, also two veggie options for dinner!

What a time it was

Jonathan Ure and Sarah Charles

Just completed the Winter Skills course.What a time it was, a time of learning from great instucters, namely Helen, Spike and Dave., a time to buld up confidence from the experiencie of walking the mountains in snow, with and without crampons, being bombarded by hail stinging the face, surviving Hells Kitchen to tell the tale and after six hours arriving back at PYB feeling a little battered but very happy.
TOP TIPS for everyone contemplating the course, do not forget a double glazed Ski Mask-essential for dealing with the snow and hail,water proof maps, preferably laminated for the area around the site, at least three/four pairs of gloves and an ability to appreciate the wonderful scenery despite natures attempts to blow you away.
The site itself is tremendous catering for all types of outdoor activity,staff very friendly and food great.
Thanks to Helen, Spike and Dave for their good humour,help,advice and above their patience. We wish you well for the future.

Great course.

Tim Dawes

Great course. Very skilled and friendly instructors happy to answer my long list of daft questions.

It'd be great to have a kit list before the day as I'd be keen to use my own kit when trying out some of the skills. Saying that, the store supplies seemed to be endless (!) and the staff were really helpful and friendly in lending out and fitting anything needed.

Would it be possible to chose the sessions before the weekend itself? Some sessions seemed much more popular than others, and I guess some advance notice might help you to organise more of one type of sessions and less of another depending on what people wanted. Just a thought....

Overall, well worth the money and a lot of fun!

Thanks to all involved in organising and running it.


Book with Caution

Pete Harris

I don't want to have too much of a downer because PYB is a great place, great location, good instructors, great kit resources, decent accommodation, good food, great beer.

The first word of warning comes from our instructor, who, at the end of the course suggested that you should book as late as possible to maximise your chance of snow. Pretty obvious, unfortunately the booking staff did not take the same view when my wife rang to book as a birthday present, she was very strongly encouraged to book a course there and then, in June, when the 2012 schedule wasn't available. I'm afraid however hard the instructors work, they can't make up for the lack of snow. So, don't book too far in advance, and certainly don't book on a November course too far in advance.

Secondly, the course is likely to have a range of experience on it, from experienced summer hillwalkers wanting to expand their range, to those wanting to explore the hills for the first time. The problem here is you can get a course which satisfies neither end of the range.

From reading past reviews, under the right conditions it appears this can be a fabulous course, and you will always learn something, so it can never be a waste of time, but beware, if circumstances work against you, you may end up feeling somewhat disatisfied, nobody's fault (apart from the booking office), but you may feel it was a bit of a disappointment.



Having my own understanding of the experienced-novice relationship from the other side in another area, and after several days recently with activity guides, I'm reminded to come back and comment on what a class apart the PyB training guides are. Thanks, Helen and Lee!

I had an excellent couple of days, had all my technical questions answered satisfactorily, from self-arrest demonstration in minus six to a range of gear considerations, and with a subtle but apparent eye being kept on the group at all times.

While the weather conditions may not be guaranteed, the quality of the training is, and for that reason alone I'm looking forward to booking another course in the next year or so.

In case anyone's wondering, it looked a lot like this.

Fantastic Course

Clare Ridgley

I spent a very enjoyable weekend learning how to use crampons and an ice axe in Feb 2011. Our course leaders Helen and Lee were great, very knowledgable but friendly and relaxed. I came away feeling much more confident about walking in the hills in the winter. The accommodation and food was fantastic as always. Thanks for a really great experience!

A great couple of days in the mountains


Not much snow, but lots of ice and very crisp weather with clear blue skies, made for a great couple of days in the mountains.

Helen and Lee were fantastic guides, getting us to learn the basics and then let us loose on some routes that we would not have dreamt of taking without the right equipment, support and guidance. At all times, I felt safe, and we were allowed to go at our own pace.

A must!

Great Course!

Chris Rainey

My wife and I completed the Welsh Winter Skills course in the first weekend in March. I was initially worried that all the snow would have disappeared but my worries were soon allayed when we arrived to find all the mountain tops covered in snow. In fact we could not have asked for better weather - plenty of snow, clear blue skies and very little wind.

I would certainly recommend this course to anybody looking to learn or improve their winter skills. We covered crampon work, ice-axe arrest, some basic rope-work and navigation skills. We took our own crampons as we are planning a trip to Morocco but these can be hired from the stores at PYB. I found the course useful in that we managed to try out our new gear and also had someone experienced to ask about this.

The rooms and dining area at PYB are excellent - as good if not better than most hotels.

I think I may be looking through the brochure soon to see what other courses to complete!

A very enjoyable weekend.

Brilliant Course

Andy Youart

Cannot praise the guys at Plas y Brenin enough. They made sure we had the correct gear before we left for the mountain side and we all had a great time practising ice axe and crampon skills as well as winter navigation basics in proper winter conditions. Food great only down side was the legendary cakes seems to have been hit by the recession. Would recommend to anyone wanting to do winter skills as you don't have to worry about cooking etc like some courses as its all done for you.
To everyone at PYB thanks thoroughly enjoyed it will be coming on your courses again.

Future Skills... Winter Skills!

Simon Sutherland

Great course content covered more than I expected. The skills training staff were all very friendly and more importantly were very knowledgeable, inspiring confidence!

Only negative would be, could have been supplied more information before booking course, booking staff either didn't seem knowledge enough on course content or wern't that fourthcoming with it.

In summary I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking the develop skills and knowledge of winter conditions in the mountains.

Already looking to plan the next training course..can't wait.


great weekend

sarah warwick

really enjoyed the weekend - lots of opportunities to build confidence in winter hillwalking skills.
tutors were great !
a big big thank you to Tamsin who was an excellent tutor - really breaking things down to make them achievable for us more jittery class members!
loved it!

Excellent course for snow basics

Paul Jones

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and valuable course in basic skills for being out in winter terrain.

Having seen photos of the railway sleeper slope mockup adjacent to the centre, I was a little dubious about its use in teaching crampon technique. However I need not have worried. Saturday morning was spent getting kitted out with the spiky stuff and then trying it out on the wood. This gave us a very useful chance to get used to the feel of having crampons on the soles of your feet and everyone was surprised at how positive they felt when we tried small sections on rock alongside the wooden trail.

In the afternoon we brushed up on navigation skills and managed to get ouselves to hummocks in the surrounding hills which I would probably have completely missed beforehand.

But the real cruncher was the day out on Sunday. I think most of use were thinking we might not see any snow and certainly the approach to the mountain in bright sunshine only served to reinforce this impression. However after dropping off the ridge and swinging around to the NE facing slopes, we found more than enough snow and some good old Welsh mist to make it feel real. We then spent time practicing ice axe arrest on the lower slopes, on our backs, front and facing up and down the slope. We all loved this. Then we donned our crampons and made our way up the gradually steepening snow, traversing and learning to stabilise with our ice axes as we moved. We met and crossed small rock outcrops and felt confident having had the previous days introduction. Finally out of the mist appeared the final steeper section to the brim of the ridge. Although the snow was softish and we weren't needing to step overly positively to get grip, the final few metres gave us some feel for what purpose the front crampon points were designed for.

No one in the group had used crampons or ice axes before but everyone felt enormously positive about what we had learnt in such a short time. OK, we all need to get lots more practical experience subsequently but this initial instruction was comprehensive, thorough and stressed moving securely in adverse condtions. We all agreed we would not have been felt nearly as confident if we had tried to teach ourselves. Great instructors, a very comfortable centre and as a bonus you get afternoon tea included.

I can't recommend the course too highly.

Fantastic Weekend

Freddie Marsh

I would just like to comment on course I attended. Everything I was hoping to gain from this course, was exceeded ten fold.

From climbing glyder fawr in crampons, in perfect winter conditions as if ordered by PYB, to re-learning map reading skills, with pacing and bearing tution, cannot praise the instructors enough in the way they helped and passed on all the vital skills required in winter mountaineering. From advice to purchasing equipment needed on how to use when out on the hill, from my arrival on friday night to leaving on sunday afternoon, every member of staff at pyb was pleasent and helpful, food was excellent and accomadation was clean and comfortable

But I would just like to say a big thankyou to our two instructors Helen and Tamsin,who are a credit to PYB in their professionalism and approachable manner. I would and will be recommending PYB to anyone who will listen to my account of wealth of knowledge gained by this experience.

Fred Marsh.

Amazing course!


A great weekend in fantastic conditions - crisp white snow - blue skies. (What a winter!) Now I feel as if I will be able to take advantage of the snow when we get it in future.
Brilliant centre, brilliant staff, superb food (specially cakes).

An excellent course!

David Evans

An excellent course which lived up to its description and was just what I was looking for. In particular it: - provided a chance to try out key equipment, including winter boots, ice axe and crampons, as well as advice on what to look out for when purchasing - expert tuition and practice in the use of boots, ice axe and crampons - a well balanced two days with the first one closer to base, going over the basic skills and a much more challenging second day in the Nameless Cwm with the chance to put theory into practice (although thankful not the ice axe arrest)

- the confidence and inspiration to get out there and nejoy the hills myself. We were lucky to have such an experienced instructor in Steve Howe, who made the course both fun and sufficiently serious, never downplaying the inherent dangers i enjoying the mountains in winter. It was my first time at Plas Y Brenin, and I found it much as I had expected. On the whole I thought the right balance was achieved between the overall price and the standard of the accommodation, food and facilities. I hope to return for other courses, and on occasions to attend evening lectures and perhaps a drink at the bar.

Do it ... you won't regret it!!

Mike Tuck

Absolutely Superb

Martin Ridgway

This course is absolutely fantastic, I did the it over the weekend of 29-30 November.

We were blessed with snow and ice for our 2 days and the Instructors were superb, Tim, Phil and Stu got the message across in a very easy going manner and I feel I have learned a great deal from them. Our group consisited of 7 and each day we had 2 Instructors who showed us the basics of crampon and ice axe work, winter navigation in low cloud etc.

Accomodation is good, the food excellent, beer even better and the view to the Snowdon Horseshoe from the Dining Room is awesome (particularly when snow capped).

I have nothing but praise for PYB and know for definate that I'll be returning to undertake further courses over the coming years.

Once again a big thank you to the Instructors, they were awesome and a credit to PYB.

Top Flight

Paul Wright

Great course. Great Time. Great Place.


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