Despite bringing disruption to large parts of the country this week, the extended wintry weather is proving useful to one group of people learning survival skills on Scotland's hills.
St John Scotland’s Mountain Safety Instructor, Nick Carter, has seized the opportunity brought by the Siberian blast to extend his series of weekend training sessions in the hills with Scotland’s university and college mountaineering clubs.
Nick said: “This winter has been a generally good cold winter with plenty of snow for teaching the skills I’ve wanted to cover. As well as the snowfall, we have also had the all important freeze/thaw cycles that help to consolidate the snow pack and make it safer to travel on.
“This time last year there was no snow at all, so I was teaching rock climbing and scrambling. But with this latest snowfall, there is a good chance that over the next four weekends we’ll be able to continue working on how to stay safe in winter conditions.”
So far this winter, Nick has taught 45 students winter skills including navigation, cramponing, ice axe arrest and avalanche awareness. He’s also taught 24 students advanced mountaineering skills, going into steeper terrain and training students in the use of a rope in an emergency.
Nick takes the courses in some of the country’s most challenging mountain terrain, and this year has led expeditions in the An Teallach area, northern Cairngorms, Glencoe, Creag Meagaidh, the Monadhliaths and Lochaber.
The post of Mountaineering Safety Instructor has been funded since 2015 by St John Scotland. Nick’s work ensures students coming into the sport have the skills and knowledge to stay safe, to ensure that they enjoy time responsibly in the Scottish hills during the potentially treacherous autumn and winter months.
You can follow Nick on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/StJohnScotMSI