Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These Conditions Reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

It was a nice day for a wee spin on the bike today from Lundavra to Nevis Range. Riding with Advanced Certificate in Outdoor Leadership students, getting them ready for a three day tour of Ben Nevis next week, we went along the West Highland Way to Glen Nevis, enjoyed some single track into the glen and along the river bank before a really tough climb up the Peat Track. The awesome descent down the side of Cow Hill took us back to the glen then along the Puggy Line to finish with the Blue Adder at Nevis Range.

All the guys did well and are looking forward to the trip next week. It looks like we might get some colder weather with snow on the tops at the end of next week. I really hope so but I don't really want to be out riding in it either!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bright orange larch needles cover the Witches Trails at Nevis Range. The students studying the Advanced Certificate in Outdoor Leadership at West Highland College have moved on from walking and indoor climbing to mountain biking. There are some great riders in the group and we have just a couple of days to get them ready for a three day expedition round Ben Nevis. We started out with a warm up and check of core riding skills, making sure the riders can change gears, use their brakes effectively and move around on their bike to ride in an attack stance. We then went off to ride lots of red graded trails and ungraded natural trails in the woods to coach some cornering technique and have a good spin of the legs. Dry, cloudy and warm today, I was riding in just my thin shirt this afternoon!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

We have had some cold periods this Autumn with snow sitting on the hills for a few days and the first few winter climbs have been completed in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms. Despite this, the hills are depressingly snow free at the moment and it has been wet and a bit warm for the time of year.

The Ben Nevis North Face Survey that we started this year (the first of three years) taught us that the rare and delicate plants growing on the north face cliffs need a good cover of snow to protect them in the winter months. The short growing season when they are uncovered by the snow in the summer months also gives them an advantage over other plants as they are so specialised and adapted to this environment.

Dave MacLeod was with us on the survey to film the action. He is putting together the finishing touches to the film now which will be premiered at the Fort William Mountain Festival in February. In the meantime, here's the teaser to whet the appetite.