Back into University today for tutorials with all of the students. All students received the pep talk of ‘if you are serious about getting your Summer Mountain Leader while at Uni then you need to think about how you are going to use the summer etc’ Also sat through some great presentations from the first years on different aspects of Outdoor Education. Why is it always sunny when we have to be inside…………
Just back from a fab few days away at Comrie Croft with the family http://www.comriecroft.com/ We have 4 kids between the ages of 7 and 2 and we’ve been talking about getting away camping together as a family for ages!
We had an absolutely brilliant time at Comrie Croft and we stayed in one of the Kata’s. Kids straight out into messing in the woodlands, great walks and cycles including the superb skills cycle course, fires in the woods and generally loads of time together. I have been away for a few weeks recently and it’s been great to get some time with the family. Very cold still, ice in the mornings and frozen ground and an icy wind blowing form the north so very pleased to have been in a kata with a stove! See photos
Just back from my second week of teaching on the Environmental Science and Outdoor Education course (University of Stirling). This week I was teaching on the subject area of ‘Eco-Education’ and particularly how we can create outdoor / environmental experiences for people that can both provide personal / social / team development but can also be used to promote understanding of environmental issues and change behaviours towards the environment.
Some deep themes and lots of space for the students to think about things like ‘Education what is the point and what are we trying to achieve?’ and to explore the world and educational benefits of thoughts such as ‘Deep Ecology’ Only small number of students on this second year course so lots of time to think, discuss and reflect and I am really pleased with how this course has gone. Probably the highlight of the week for the students is sending them off into the mountains on their own for a wilderness solo and then hearing all about it afterwards! Great week and really pleased with the students effort.
Happy Easter everyone, hope you have a great weekend. The weather looks good, plenty of fantastic ice around and dry rock in places! Whatever you’re up to have fun and stay safe!
The University of Stirling School of Biological and Environmental Sciences offers a degree called ‘Environmental Science and Outdoor Education’. I think that this is a fantastic degree course and I feel privileged to be contracted to deliver the outdoor education parts of this course. In my opinion the course works so well because it is primarily a science degree (BSc) but also includes some great outdoor education modules. If the students work hard they will graduate with a good science degree and a summer ML. Not many courses can boast that! For more info see:
Every semester the students take 2 Environmental Science modules and 1 Outdoor Education Module. We teach the Outdoor Education modules in a residential week and it’s a really efficient way of teaching. This week has been with first years and we have been teaching the ‘Theory and Practice of Outdoor Education’ lots of good teaching, learning and fun going on all week and things were certainly made much more interesting by the 30 cm of snow on the ground even just around the centre accommodation. Lots of teaching and coaching using winter skills as a way to teach theory and practice. See photos
Back to working for Go Ape this week at their site at Crathes Castle – Aberdeenshire http://goape.co.uk/days-out/crathes-castle . As a Mountaineering Instructor I am contracted to deliver staff training for the staff in rescue techniques and to deliver very specific training protocols to the staff – just in case they ever have anyone get stuck on a course and need to perform a rescue. In the very unlikely event this happens to you or anyone you know you are in safe and well trained hands!
Crathes has a great feel to it as its set within the grounds of a beautiful stately home. Lots of snow this week and generally cold and wintery weather, cold hands and feet! In fact blizzards on the way down the road meant for not great driving conditions. Should be good for increasing winter climbing conditions on the hill but not too helpful for driving! Even less unhelpful for camping in – for some reason all the B and B’s around Banchory were fully booked and have been for ages. Anyone any ideas?
As a Mountaineering Instructor my qualifications allow to provide Technical Advice and consultancy for a wide range of activities that fall within the remit of my qualifications and experience. One of the projects that I am currently working on is the development of a small climbing wall at Mclaren Leisure Centre in Callander. This project has involved rewriting protocols and procedures for the wall and retraining staff. This week’s part of the project involved re-setting the routes at the wall to create a whole new set of problems and climbs for the clients.
Managed to set and create routes across the entire wall, with a total of around 20 routes now up and being climbed! Lots of routes in the grades of 5+ to 6B, with a few harder routes as well. If you’ve not climbed here recently come along and have a go and let me know what you think of the routes
I really enjoy climbing at Creag Meagaidh but for some reason I haven’t been there for a while. The walk in is really beautiful and I love the way the cliffs and ice lines all along Coire Ardair just seem to grow and grow and grow the closer you get towards them. Today was a perfect day on Meagaidh, blue skies, sunshine, great views good ice and absolutely no wind! Superb
First I led Ben up the Wand (V5) with fantastic ice formations, blue sticky ice and first time placements. We topped out early, descended to the top of Easy Gully and then descended to the start of Last Post (V5). The Ice on Last Post was slightly harder and bit more brittle but overall it was also in fantastic condition. Pictures speak louder than words so have a look at these…..
Go Ape is the UK’s number one tree top adventure and they have 40 adventures activities at 29 locations at forest sites across the UK . These sites “take one lush, green forest and a healthy dollop of breathtaking scenery; blend with a smattering of tree-top high wires, tricky crossings (using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire) and wind-in-your-face zip wires “ to give a fantastic experience – see http://goape.co.uk/
I have worked for Go Ape for several years and am really pleased to be back with them. I am contracted in as a Mountaineering Instructor to deliver staff training for the staff in rescue techniques and to deliver very specific training protocols to the staff – just in case they ever have anyone get stuck on a course and need to perform a rescue. In the very unlikely event this happens to you or anyone you know you are in safe and well trained hands! I have delivered this training and on-going training and assessment regularly over the last few years at all the Scottish sites and I am delighted to be back there this week. I think that the site they have built over at Peebles (Glen Tress) is a really great site and if you haven’t been to see it yet its well worth a visit. Highlights of it for me are the super high (and long) zip lines across the loch and the way that the course is built around, through and over the mountain bike tracks. Really good course design.
In practice this work involves a lot of hanging around in trees, training, watching, discussing and training some more until the staff have the protocols absolutely sorted. Lots of hanging around the trees and not moving much makes it a really cold day for me – especially when the forest is also full of snow and ice at the moment! Lots of clothes worn (way more than when I am ice climbing) and the occasional trip back to the site office for a cuppa! Good times, cold but not too windy and the staff have done a great job at getting to grips with the training and have all passed the assessment. Well done!
Mission accomplished, not mission of climbing something super hard, or even the mission of being out for a long day but a different kind of mission accomplished and a feeling of great satisfaction. Mission accomplished of dropping the kids at school, getting onto the hill, completing an ice climb and getting back in time to pick the kids up again from school. Great day!
This is something I have been thinking about for a while and it was great to be able to make it work. As you can see from the pictures, blue Skies and sunshine and only a little wind. Some care needed on the approach slopes but the route itself is in fantastic condition. Some slight apprehension as I set off soloing the route (the familiar thoughts….. is this a good idea? What about the family? …..) but that soon disappears as I remember that this grade is well within by ability and I realise that the route is in good condition. I start to have fun and move really quickly.
Great ice on the initial ice step followed by good snow ice up the gully. I by passed the ice fall finish and stuck to the original finish. Some powder and unconsolidated snow on the exit slopes but nothing to worry about. Summited around lunch time/ early afternoon and then back to the car with enough time to get me home to pick up the kids from school. Result!