So over the last couple of years, I've been slowly trying to get out more and more for days of hillwalking and scrambling around the Lakes, North Wales and the West Pennine Moors.
I'd love to start building up some winter experience so I'm thinking of taking a course in the new year to get some miles, skills and a little bit of confidence under my belt.
I've looked at the various courses offered by Plas Y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge, and to be honest, they all look and sound great.
I'm sure it's been asked previously, but have people generally found these to be a good and worthwhile trips for beginners? Any particular recommendations or preferences?
Despite trying to convince a few of my mates that standing on a Scottish hill in the snow, wind and rain would be a great way to spend a few hard-earned days off, I've not had any takers so it's likely that I would be going solo. Does anybody have any experience of this and still found it to be enjoyable attending on your own?
I'm sure it's more down to what you make of it that determines a good or bad experience but I thought it would be worth a quick ask on here before committing.
Would appreciate your thoughts.
I did a week long winter skills course in the Sierra Nevada in Spain in 2014, and it's some of the best money I've spent, and it actually helped save my life in Jan 2020 on Aonach Beag when I was out on my own. Definitely worth it if you're going to be venturing out in winter, whether you're on your own or with others.
Wow - Certainly a strong case for just getting one booked and going for it.
I personally find that I get more out of courses and training if I'm on my own, because I'm not the most extroverted of people and it means I can't socially hide behind my mate but instead have to interact (and invariably make great new friends).
I appreciate that may not be a problem for everyone though
I did a winter walking course at PyB a few years ago on my own and it was great - being alone wasn't an issue, there was a small group, a family, and me and we were pooled and split into two smaller groups according to (in)eptitude levels. It was excellent.
Thanks Tehmarks. I totally get that.
I'm not the most extroverted person either so I can see the benefits of having to step outside of your own comfort zone.
If you are going on a course on your own, will you be going out on the UK hills on your own?
A course can only teach you so much, you need to back it up with lots of experience.
An alternative is to join an active club that does winter walking meets.
Or, do both.
Going alone to one of these courses will be fine. You’re going to a small assembly of like minded folk and you’ll be undertaking shared tasks and shared responsibilities. You’ll bond with some folk quite quickly.
You’ll also experience the Glenmore Lodge 5000 calories a day catering…..
> If you are going on a course on your own, will you be going out on the UK hills on your own?
Yeah I think that inevitably I would be looking to head out on my own here and there. Starting small and safe first, of course.
> A course can only teach you so much, you need to back it up with lots of experience.
Agreed - and that's the plan eventually. I just didn't want to take that first step without taking some sort of lesson first.
I've been reading up on the subject in various books and also attended some online talks hosted by Plas Y Brenin late last year which were really useful, but nothing beats learning via hands-on, practical experience (for me anyway).
> An alternative is to join an active club that does winter walking meets.
> Or, do both.
Thanks! I will have a look into that!
Thanks for that.
Definitely reassuring to hear... on both the like-minded company and calorie fronts!
Thanks for the advice everyone.
I managed to get a space on one of the 5-day Glenmore Lodge Winter Skills courses at the end of Jan 2022.
Really looking forward to it.
Keeping my fingers crossed for a cold and restriction-free winter!
If you are a member of the Austrian Alpine Club you can go on a subsidised course. Check out their website
Like many of the other posters, I attended on my own. Met some great fellow enthusiasts. I can't think of anything - or anybody I didn't enjoy the company of.
A few years back I did a winter climbing course at the Glenmore on my own. I got paired up with a total stranger and we got on great. We still hook up socially and climb together as much as we can. Whilst I didn't take the course to make friends, I had 5 days of good, solid instruction and came away with a really good mate.
On the other hand, the other pair doing the same course as us ended up with a grumpy instructor and didn't gel well as a pair either.
Glenmore is a great choice. I did a course there many many years ago to get me started on winter climbing and alpinism.
You will find out the sort of things that you like best and things that you are less keen on. You should make friends and climbing partners too. I climbed for years with people I met on courses.
I did a 2 week alpine course on my own, and not only enjoyed it but made a good number of friends. Two weeks that I still think about!
Thanks Steve. Certainly something to bare in mind for the future.
Thanks for the responses all.
Good to hear everybody’s positive experiences!