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New Year Winter Skills - 5 days in the winter Cairngorm mountains

Holiday summary

Hogmanay winter skills course teaching crampon, ice axe and navigation skills based in the Cairngorms National Park




5 days, 6 nights

Meeting Points

All Inclusive



3 out of 5

Tour Highlights


  • fully inclusive of 6 nights accommodation
  • all meals at our accommodation from evening of arrival to morning of departure
  • ascend the Munro summits of Cairngorm & Sgorr Gaoith
  • daily hour long classroom sessions led by a qualified mountain guide


New Year adventure in the Highlands of Scotland

New Year adventure

Stunning winter scenery at New Year

Learn new skills for winter in the hills

Winter Skills Coaching – Skills Covered.

Day 1:

We start the week with a look at the gear that should be carried in the winter hills. Classroom sessions are limited to an hour either in the morning or when we arrive back off the hill. We’ll head out to practice our first skills and finish the day with an ascent of Cairngorm itself, if time and conditions allow.

1. Gear carried

2. Forecasts: Weather & Avalanche forecast

3. Avalanche risk scenarios (ongoing)

4. Step kicking – utilizing the winter boot

5. Step cutting – axe

6. Self- belay (execution & recovery) – boot & axe

7. Self-arrest – basic braking position without axe

8. Self-arrest with axe & various orientations

9. Cramponing – fitting & general walking technique


2200ft (675m) of ascent and 4.5 miles (7 km) on snow and footpaths with mainly moderate gradients. Approx walking time excluding breaks and training: 3:30

Day 2:

Skills covered:

1. Avalanche risk assessment – hill observations.

2. Winter Navigation – water features

3. Cramponing – 3 techniques for steeper snow & ice

4. Self-arrest with axe (further consolidation)

5. Stabilization of tumbling fall

6. Self-arrest without axe in various orientations

7. Emergency Snow Shelters


360m (1200ft) of steady ascent and 4.2 miles (7 km) on snow covered mountain paths and open mountain terrain. Approx walking time excluding breaks and instruction: 2:45 hrs

winter navigation

Micro navigation in winter

Day 3:

Skills covered:

1. Contour understanding

2. Micro-navigation – Pacing

3. Micro-navigation – Timing

4. Map reading – extracting the information

5. Map orientation – compass

6. Tactical techniques: Aiming off/Collection features/Attack Points

7. Compass Bearings

8. Contour Interpretation

9. Measuring slope aspect & relocation

10. Boxing

650ft (200m) of gentle ascent & 5 miles (8 km) on footpaths and rough open moorland terrain. Approx walking time excluding breaks and instruction: 2:45hrs

Day 4:

1. General navigational leg practise involving timing, pacing, bearings and contour interpretation. (repeated)

2. Contour Interpretation – angle of approach

3. Wearing Crampons & Micro-navigation

4. White-out navigation

5. Objective Search Techniques

6. Collection features

7. Contouring

8. Dog Legging


7.6 miles (12km) & 2400ft (740m) of steady ascent on snow covered mountain paths and open moderately rough ground. Approx walking time excluding breaks and instruction: 5:00

Day 5:

1. General navigational leg practise involving timing, pacing, bearings and contour interpretation.

2. Avalanche avoidance and route planning

3. Navigational leg on varying gradient

4. Sighting and holding your bearing

5. Hazard avoidance

6. Utilizing a Collection features

7. Hazard approach

8. Navigation Pitfalls

2800ft (850m) of ascent & 9 miles (15km) on snow covered mountain paths and open gentle ground. The gradients are mainly steady but with one steeper ascent. Approx walking time excluding breaks: 5:30


Most guests depart the following morning after walking finishes, after breakfast but should you have a plane or train to catch we will make sure you we get you there in good time. If you would like to extend your stay at Fraoch Lodge please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Using an ice axe

How to use an ice axe


We asked our guests what sets Scot Mountain Holidays apart, why they return year after year:

“the social aspect”  –  “the camaraderie, food and conversation”   –
“the company of the hosts”  –  
“so warm and welcoming”  –  

 “a profound sense of belonging”  –  “the welcome of Rebecca’s home cooked meal”  –  “Andy’s skills as a guide, naturalist and leader”  –  “stewardship, sustainability and a small footprint”  –  “in harmony with the land”  –  “a slice of rural Scottish life”

Scot Mountain Holidays is the ONLY adventure tour operator in Highlands of Scotland with a combined home and guest lodge. We strive to be more than just an tour. We aim to provide you with a ‘home away from home’ on your adventures. We thought of no better way of doing this than to welcome you into our own home.

We have owned and operated Fraoch Lodge as our home base and business since 1999. In that time, we have come to embrace our guests as members of our extended Highland family.

We source our meals from locally produced and home grown ingredients to provide you with the most delicious flavours and traditions the area has to offer (while minimising our impact on the environment, too). Our dining room and lounge are shared spaces where we gather with guests and friends to share in the holiday and offer you extensive knowledge of your tour.

No matter the season, the Cairngorms and Fraoch Lodge is a place to relax and explore all its beauty and comforts, and we hope to make you feel as at home as we are.

Top quality food

Enjoy top class family friendly and freshly prepared food.


Amazing meals at Fraoch Lodge

Amazing meals at Fraoch Lodge

We have achieved Gold Star Awards from the world’s most highly respected green accreditation scheme, Green Tourism, and were awarded Highly Commended in their Green Star Awards 2013 for both Scot Mountain Holidays and Fraoch Lodge. We offer a Green Travel Discount of £15 to any guests who travel to us by public transport. Our primary aim is to minimise the carbon footprint of our holidays, and to this end we donate 1% of the price of our tours to the RSPB’s Abernethy Reforestation project.

It is a holistic approach we have to the care of the environment. Andy your adventure guide has a passion for the natural world – whether it’s the flora, fauna or fungi. He has a background in geology and a lifelong interest in natural history, as well as being a keen gardener.  He knows a Golden Plover from a Dotterel, a Green Shank and a Dunlin. He also makes no apologies to being very excitable upon spying a Golden Eagle!

For further information, please don’t hesitate to check out our Environmental Responsibility page, or contact us directly at info@scotmountainholidays.com.

Gold award - Green Tourism

Gold standard for Green Tourism

Booking Procedure

Departure Guarantee

We are proud to continue to offer our unique departure guarantee*. If your booking is confirmed by Scot Mountain Holidays you can be assured that your holiday will run. We can offer this guarantee as we are unique amongst walking holiday operators in Scotland by providing all the parts of your holiday (guiding, accommodation and catering) in-house.
* Scot Mountain Holidays reserves the right to alter the venue and itinerary of holidays advertised as based away from Fraoch Lodge.

We work with Worldpay to process our online transactions now so you can rest assured that your payment will be processed securely. We accept the following cards:

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Booking online is straightforward and enables us to confirm your reservation immediately. We also accept bookings by telephone, email, and post.

Attention! Don’t forget to read our trip dossier and booking terms and conditions, BEFORE you complete the booking process!

A deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking unless you are booking less than 28 days before departure. In this case, full payment of the trip price is required

Your Financial Protection

In compliance with the UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 a client deposit account has been arranged with the Royal Bank of Scotland to protect monies paid in respect of travel arrangements offered in the Brochure and to cater, where necessary (and subject to the terms of the insurance policy), for a refund of such monies in the unlikely event of our financial failure. The balance of payment is due 28 days prior to the commencement of the course. Credit/debit cards accepted are: Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Switch, Non-refundable deposits will be debited on receipt of the booking form. Balance of payment reminder will automatically be sent out to you. Please be prompt in paying the balance. If you decide to pay by internet bank transfer please use your own name or booking number as a reference for the payment so it can be reconciled.


It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. We also recommend that you take out insurance which includes cancellation and baggage cover.

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