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All things hiking Skills tips Winter

How to prepare for a winter skills course

Words of wisdom from the Met Office and the BMC.

Our instructors:

Andy Bateman, our company director, is the main guide for Scot Mountain Holidays. He is a qualified winter mountain leader with 15 years experience instructing in the Cairngorms. He says there is nothing like local knowledge for being aware of the avalanche hotspots and how to avoid them. He keeps a very close eye on the weather from this time of year (November) until winter passes towards the end of April and is out on the snowpack so frequently that he has almost as good an eye for predicting the avalanche weaknesses as the SAIS team.

We also work with experienced mountain instructors who deliver mountaineering and climbing courses for us. The instructors live in the area and have in many cases instructed for the RAF outdoor centres when they were based in Grantown on Spey. All instructors who work for us have a wealth of local knowledge.

Winter courses offered by Scot Mountain Holidays

It is essential if you are planning to go out in the hills on your own or even with a small group of friends that you should all have had some formal training in personal safety skills so you know how to use your crampons & ice axe effectively and have all the gear necessary. Navigation is perhaps the least valued of these skills, but arguably the most valuable. We also offer training in winter navigation techniques.

Winter holidays offered by Scot Mountain Holidays (including expeditions)

If you would like to get out in the winter but are not confident of managing on your own, you might want to join an organised group. Take a look at our dates and see if we have anything which will suit your commitments.


Mountain Weather Information Service

Met Office Mountain Forecast

Scottish Avalanche Information Service


Winter Skills at Hogmanay

(A synopsis in pictures)

The snow’s back here in the Cairngorms and it’s only 4th November 2014 – plenty of time for the snow to build up for a fabulous Christmas and New Year in the Highlands. Take a look at our selection of winter images below – all taken in during winter seasons in the Cairngorms. Will it be an official white Christmas or just white on the high peaks of the Cairngorms

Winter in the Cairngorms

Photo caption: A day out in the snow – heading home in the sunset,

turning the snow pink and giving life to the Cairngorms –

also known as Mhonaidh Ruaidh (the red hills).

Winter in the Cairngorms

Photo caption: Sometimes a wee bit of cloud can play into your hands

and produce a much more stunning picture than a clear blue sky,

especially in the soft winter light we get here in the Cairngorms,

which is of course enhanced by reflection on the snow.

Winter in the Cairngorms

Photo caption: Unique to the Cairngorms National Park,

Britain’s only reindeer herd, which are free-roaming

across the hills in the winter. You could bump into them

on any of our courses or winter walking holidays.

Winter in the Cairngorms

Photo caption: White Christmas? Wouldn’t that be amazing?

This is the kind of snow laden scene

we’d all like to see, but how many of you would like to

experience it yourselves? When the snow lay round about,

deep and crisp and even …


Photo caption: It’s New Year and it’s Scotland – must mean it’s time for a party –

or as you’re in Scotland let’s give it the proper name and join the ceilidh!

February in the Cairngorms

Photo caption: Winter walking holiday across the Cairngorm plateau. Check out the blue skies!


Inspired? Check out some of our winter offerings in the Cairngorms and further afield across the Highlands of Scotland

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