/ Best way to spend a Feb week in Cairngorms
So I have the last week in Feb booked off work and am looking to head north.
I have no fixed plans other than knowing that I want to head for snowy hills. Ive done a fair bit of mountaineering over the past few years and ideally would like to stretch into winter climbing/ice climbing.
I've looked into specific courses and to put it bluntly can't afford the heavy prices for a week's course let alone the accommodation and stuff ontop of that.
So are there any other options? What about meeting up with like minded folk to rent a lodge and head out with?
Although I said Cairngorms I would be happy to go where conditions are best.
What have you guys done in the past to get a decent week in the hills, yet not break the bank.
Staying in a bunkhouse or a hostel in a good 'reliable' location, such as Fort William or Aviemore, is probably your best bet. That way you can get out every day if the weather's good. You'll also meet up with others of many skill levels who you may want to partner up with. Getting back to the realtive warmth of the indoors each evening will be something you'll be happy about, as will nearby hostelries with cosy fires and cold beer.
A good and cheaper option that I've done several times is to find a good well-located bothy near to your chosen area, and go base yourself for about four nights. You're very near the hills and climbing areas you're wanting to play and climb in then. Culra bothy, near Ben Alder, is fantastically located for some big winter hills and remote routes. Likewise Corrour in the Lairig Ghru, but it's small and will be busy. Check out http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/ for other locations of bothys. It might be cosier in a hostel or b&b, but you'll never forget the experience of being in the bothy in the winter time. Fire lit, happy and chatty company. And peering out of the window at the starry sky, the moon slipping behind the ridge you'll be making virgin tracks up in the morning...
Your best bet though is perhaps to do what you've already done. Pick a good time - and any time in February is as good or reliable time as any in Scotland for good winter climbing. Then, except in the case of absolutely dreadful weather forecasts, just go for it. Go and stay in your chosen lodgings, and just get out and do what your common sense and your ability allows you to do. Don't wait for the perfect weather days or looking around too much for which part of the country has the 'best snow conditions'. And you'll have a great and very memorable time - no matter what the weather and what you climb.
I'd already half thought of just going for it like you say and will ultimately do that if nothing else happens. I've walked solo loads before and even that is a good day out in good conditions. But I think that at that time of year it'll be hard not to bump into someone with a similar plan.
> What have you guys done in the past to get a decent week in the hills, yet not break the bank.
I don`t know what transport you will be using but I keep the costs down by sleeping in my van.Have a great time,I might see you there!
How about doing a mixture of camping, car dossing and staying in bunkhouses (to dry off your kit). That should be fairly affordable. Try to get (a) like-minded partner(s) and start off with very easy routes at first and see how you go.
If you book a place for a week or so you will be limited to one area which might mean you are less flexible.
"I would be happy to go where conditions are best" This is your best move for any winter climbing in Scotland so leave accomm arrangements as late as possible.
Seems like I was on the right path anyway. But I do like the bothy approach and will look into that tonight. I think I'll put the shout out nearer the time and see if anyone's up for meeting up.
There was a post earlier this year that might be of interest to you:
I hope that worked - I'm posting from my mobile.
Personally I'm a fan of wild camping but as others have said, bothies are a great option too. Obviously there's pro's and con's to every option.
Going to be heading out there myself around the end of Feb (I think) Feel free to drop me a mail
Hold on! Are we on the verge of organising a UKC winter event here?
I'd be up for it around that date. :-)
A few ideas:
Join a club that has a trip heading up there.
Post on here to meet some like minded or more experienced folk that fancy heading up there with you.
Get into a hostel (YHA Aviemore is great and busy with climbers) meet some people there or book yourself a guide for a day or two depending on your budget. I did one a few years ago for 2 days with Smiler Cuthbertson, was a great intro to winter climbing and we met other people on the course.
Give me a shout as I'd be up for a week off work climbing
I'm still happy to rough it in the name of romanticism though.
As for a ukc winter gathering....who knows? :D
There was someone on UKC last winter who stayed at an Army hut (on the Rothiemurcus estate iirc). Find out who it is and invite them, maybe there's an option to stay free/cheap on the Cairngorm doorstep. Just a thought.
Either way, I'll be looking at week in the area around Jan/Feb so it might work out.
I have a vehicle, full rack (with spares) and ropes, partner, a decent camera, a sense of adventure without wanting to kill myself (Scot II/III) and finally a taste for a decent scotch.
You're definitely on board though. You're talking my grades and my tipple! Nothing better than a good exhausting day out followed by a stack of food and a fine single malt
They are really...........
This virtually guarantees appalling conditions.
I would strongly suggest taking your car if you werent already going to so you can change plans according to conditions.
Whether you stay in aviemore or fort william area you can reach the other area in about an hour and half if necessary, but waiting to book your accommodation would be more preferable.
Bunkhouses are the cheapest reasonable bet, such as the one at the bottom of the ben (maybe the glen nevis bunkhouse? cant remember).
Of the 2 areas I would suggest at that time of year the cairngorms are probably slightly more reliable and there will usually be a fair bit to go at, even with less good conditions.
I myself will be travelling up on the 26th with a view to having wed -sat there and heading home Sunday. Wherever that may be ;).
It would be really good if some of us could get together and walk/climb/hang on for grim death together.
And as a foot note I could be persuaded to book something, possibly club together with like minded softies. Definitely do that much much nearer the time though.
I'd also be interested in joining, though it depends on next years rota which is yet to be finalised (change to contract T&Cs)
What gear do you have? Helmet,harness,axes?
Also got axes, crampons and all that jazz.
Are you for some ice climbing?
So it's been a few days since I posted the shout asking who might be up for a week in the hills. Have to say I didn't think anyone would say yes and had visions of shivering on a ridge in a blizzard on my own, but delighted others want to come too!
Like I said I'll be up from tue 26th feb, leaving Sunday 31st.
I've talked to a few folk who are interested or have booked the week already. The general consensus is that conditions are too unpredictable to book anything, yet some (including myself) want to stay in some sort of non-canvas based shelter while there.
So what to do now? Shall we all just arrange to meet up there? Do all those who would like to book a lodge/cabin/hostel want to leave it until as near to the day as possible then club in to spread the cost?
Just remembered to check the thread again!
Gonna have to check the dates and such at work as I have to book time off way in advance. Might very well be a possibility though. As I said before I'm more of a pitch-on-the-summit-in-a-gale kinda guy but would perhaps be able to arrange to meet somewhere regardless. Anyways, definately interested! :)
I think the best way to do this is to just get a list of definites and agree to meet up. We all have varying ideas of how we're going to stay wherever we end up so arranging to just 'be there' is perhaps the easiest option
Should we have a list of those coming? Is it that official? Some folk have been referring to this a the ukc winter trip!!! All a bit to formal but it's prob best to have an idea of who's coming along.
Not necessarily ice climbing, but certainly gullies and lower end stuff yes.
As I said I'll need to get my rota through before I can commit, but count me in for the mean time.
Just noticed the dates you said,
"Like I said I'll be up from tue 26th feb, leaving Sunday 31st."
31st of Feb??
Ha ha!! Well done! What an eejit, must've been tired when I typed that!
Sooo, returning Sunday 3rd!!!
I'm off shift from the 27th-5th, so I'll be able to make it for sure.
Just a quick update on my situation. I've booked 2 weeks off work, the one you mentioned and the week before. Just need to check with college to see if ill b able to extend half term by a week, I'm sure this won't be an issue though as I've no exams around then.
Things are understandably going to slow for now on this thread but how about a roll call of confirmed people going after new year, just so we all know what's what?
A couple that no-one has mentioned yet.
If you have got a group of 4-6 of you, hiring a Mountaineering Instructor between the group could be a good option and possibly not as expensive as you might think. If you are offering a week of paid work Mon-Fri and you all have you own equipment then you should be able to shop around and get a price that is far cheaper than any advertised course.
It is also worth being on the look out for anyone posting on UKC who is preparing to sit their Mountaineering Instructor Certificate assessment this Winter who might be looking to practice teaching winter climbing.
Otherwise, getting a group together and book self-catering accommodation is probably the way forward.
> How about a roll call of confirmed people going after new year, just so we all know what's what?
I've booked time off so I will be there.
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