Last weekend I was running a Mountain Training Mountain Skills course, a 2 day course covering all the basics to get you out enjoying more challenging mountain walks. We started the weekend at the excellent Moel Siabod Cafe in Capel Curig and began by discussing route planning, mountain weather, what kit we would need and had a refresh of basic map symbols and contour lines.
We headed out with good weather forecast for the whole day. Our route included an ascent of Seniors Gully and onto Seniors Ridge, then over the tops of Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach before descending to Bwlch Tryfan and Cwm Bochlwyd. With a compulsory stop at the Cantilever Stone!
During the day we looked at map reading and navigation principles and strategies - how to orientate the map, identify features, work out distance and time, use a compass and some techniques to use when the visibility is poor. We put some of it to use navigating across the top of Glyder Fach in the mist. We also looked at some personal movement skills on some scrambling sections, picking a route through steeper terrain and talked about how the landscape came to be and how it had changed through the forces of nature and the impact of farming and industry.
A great day in the mountains and finished off with another cuppa in Siabod Cafe!
Day 2, after a brief chat, we headed up Crimpiau and over to Creigiau Gleision. An excellent area to practice navigation and look at how to read the ground and relate it to the map (and vice versa). It also has some of the best views of the larger Snowdonia peaks. We managed to do plenty of navigation legs - making use of some of the ideas learnt from the previous day. We also discussed what to do in an emergency, how to call out Mountain Rescue, emergency kit and how to use a group shelter.
A fine couple of days in the hills with a really keen team - thanks to Liam, Gemma, Lara, Gareth and Emlyn for joining me.
Mountain Skills courses will be running throughout 2017 - check out the course dates for details.