Build and then survive in style in an overnight snow-hole and complete a two-day winter expedition climbing Britain’s second highest peak, Ben Macdui (4,295ft/1,309m), as part of a special, Walking With The Wounded team alongside one of our wounded beneficiaries.
Included is a day of personal winter skills training/refreshment in the use of ice axe, crampons, etc plus an ascent of Britain’s 6th highest mountain, Cairngorm (4,085ft/1,245m).
- The snowy wilderness of the Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.
- Meet: Fraoch Lodge, Boat of Garten, Inverness-shire, PH24 3BN.
- Arrive Friday 20th January, depart Tuesday 24th January, 2017
- Arrive Tuesday 7th March, depart Saturday 11th March, 2017
Cost: £475 per person (excludes transport to Scotland)
As the name suggests both of these trips are scheduled to run over or close to a full moon.
To book or register interest please email email@example.com
Have you ever dreamt of taking a short walk amongst a moonlit snowy wonderland? No need for a torch! Imagine reflected flickering candle light giving way to the soft light of a winters dawn as you emerge from your snowy abode. Not a soul about, a vast winter wonderland all to yourself!
Mountain climbing in Scotland in winter can be as demanding as anywhere in the world but, although at times tough and not necessarily for the faint hearted, this isn’t an SAS survival course. The focus is on it being an experience to be enjoyed. The aim is to go deep into the winter mountain wilderness and put the time in to make our communal snow-hole comfortable. Our inspiration isn’t your local rabbit warren but the Sistine Chapel!! Well, almost. Under the guidance of a qualified and experienced guide we construct a snow-hole designed specifically for Scottish conditions. We make it big with a vaulted roof for good ventilation.
Once the hard work is done it’s time to snuggle into your cosy sleeping bag, sit back, relax, and enjoy the camaraderie of the shared experience. Andy, your guide, cooks up a delicious home-prepared 3 course meal for everyone to enjoy together. Who else can boast home-made Carrot and Cardamom soup in a snow-hole!
We are looking to build a team of 7 fit individuals to join this demanding challenge and help raise funds for the charity. You will be joined by qualified mountain leaders as well as one of our beneficiaries, a wounded ex serviceman.
If you’re enquiring as a team (minimum 4) with specific dates in mind please get in touch.
We ask that you undertake some fundraising for the Charity aiming for £200 per team member. As one of our key charity partners we recommend using Virgin Money Giving for your fundraising efforts.
Although team members don’t have to be super fit you should have a good level of endurance fitness that allows a steady walking pace to be maintained carrying a 10 – 15kg pack in what could be some challenging conditions. Please refer to the statistics in the itinerary below. Previous mountain walking experience is required. Anyone who does regular aerobic stamina training e.g. running & cycling should not have a problem (please refer to training plan).
Breaks are taken approximately every 80 mins to maintain energy levels.
- 3 nights accommodation (plus expedition night)
- Full board from evening meal on day of arrival through to breakfast on the day of departure including all expedition food (homemade and dehydrated to save weight)
- Snow-hole digging equipment
- Cake O’clock on our arrival back at our accommodation each day
- 3 days Mountain Guiding/Instruction incl. 1 day of winter skills instruction
- Transport between accommodation and the start of the days route
- Transfers from/to Aviemore Station or Inverness Airport if required
Itinerary: Day/Evening of arrival:
Should you choose to fly (Inverness) or get the train (Aviemore) we will be there to meet you. If possible try to aim to arrive between 5 and 7:30 pm so you have time to settle in and meet the other members of the team before dinner at 8pm. If this doesn’t fit in with your travel plans don’t worry, early and late arrivals can easily be accommodated. After dinner Andy, your tour guide, will let you know how the challenge is organised as well as fitting any boots or crampons that have been hired.
We climb high onto Cairngorm’s high snowy flanks for the necessary instruction/refreshment in winter skills. We make a logical progression through the personal techniques for safe and efficient travel over snow and ice covered mountain terrain. We finish the day by making the final short ascent to Cairngorm’s (1245m) rime encrusted summit. In the soft light of a winter afternoon the views from this point can be extraordinary – a 360 degree panorama past some of Britain’s highest peaks to horizons 60 mile distant. We make a quick descent back down and the prospect of Cake O’clock in front of a roaring fire!
2200ft (675m) of ascent and 4.5 miles (7 km) on snow covered mountain paths and open mountain terrain with some steep but mainly gentle and moderate gradients. Approx walking time subject to conditions and excluding breaks and training: 3:30 hrs
After breakfast you are briefed on the likely snow and weather conditions for the expedition and hence the chosen route and snow-hole site for the night. We also go through the planned design for the snow-hole and construction techniques. The communal kit and food is then divvied up with time given to allow you to pack your ruck-sack. We then head off for the start of the days route. Our usual starting point is at 600m with us making a steady climb over the next 90mins or so to the plateau rim at about 1100m. With the majority of the climbing done for the day the gradient eases back and you are left to enjoy the breath taking views.
Once we reach the snow-holing site it’s time to put an extra layer on and have a bite to eat whilst your guide checks the site for snow depth, safety and marks out the doorways. Armed with snow shovels and snow saws it’s time to pair up and get stuck-in to building our communal snow-hole. Your guide is on hand to give advice on efficient removal of the snow and good snow-hole design. Its warm work so it’s important to shed a layer or so to avoid getting too damp.
As the snow-hole comes to completion the floor is levelled, the walls are squared off, storage and candle alcoves are created and the apex ceiling is added. The doorways are reduced and covered with the tarps. The difference between the outside conditions and the inside of a snow-hole can be remarkable. With air movement at zero and sound muffled, you can become completely oblivious to goings on outside. The last but not least addition is the ventilation holes at the high points of the apex so things don’t get too warm!
It’s time to get your sleeping mat laid out and retreat into your cosy sleeping bag. The cooking area is created and the stoves fired up and we are away. Starting with a warm drink we move on to home prepared Carrot and Cardamom soup – always a winner! This is then followed by Chorizo and vegetable casserole with Cous Cous (always a vegetarian option) to be finished off with apricots and custard!
2150ft (655m) of ascent and 4 miles (6 km) on snow covered mountain paths and open mountain terrain with some steep but mainly gentle and moderate gradients. Approx walking time subject to conditions and excluding breaks and training: 3:00 hrs along with 4 + hours digging (paced).
You are woken by the roar of the stove and a hot drink. If it’s a glorious day we may have breakfast outside in the sun on the “terrace”! Porridge is served (or cereal if you prefer) before we pack everything up to climb the remaining 200m to the summit of Britain’s second highest mountain, Ben Macdui. From here it’s a panorama of peaks with views across the dramatic trough of the Lairig Ghru to our 3rd, 4th and 5th highest mountains. In the other direction is the 6th highest peak and one you will now be familiar with, Cairngorm. You are left in no doubt about the grandeur of Britain’s largest National Park.
We start back with the descent down to the great expanse of the high plateau. With a gentle drop you can soak up the views before a short climb up to the plateau rim and the beginning of the main but steady descent to our start point. The prospect of Cake o’clock in front of a roaring fire beckons before we then sort out all the kit. The trip is then rounded off with one of Rebecca’s delicious evening meals and a chance to enjoy the camaraderie and kinship that often comes with such a remarkable experience!
995ft (3,03m) of ascent and 6 miles (10 km) on snow covered mountain paths and open mountain terrain on gentle and moderate gradients. Approx walking time subject to conditions and excluding breaks and training: 4:30 hrs
Day of Departure:
Most guests depart after breakfast but should you have a plane or train to catch we will make sure you we get you there in good time.
“Porridge with whisky at 9am whilst warm & dry in my sleeping bag has never tasted better!” – Ric Taylor, Bristol.
“Enjoyed Andy’s Keith Floyd style catering in the snow hole.” – Ian Thorpe, Stockport.
“An excellent & memorable experience that combined the raw wild grandeur of the Cairngorms in full on winter conditions with excellent food & accommodation. Andy’s ability to knock up a three course meal in a snow hole while conditions deteriorated outside was most impressive.” – Bob Dudley, Kenilworth.
To book please email firstname.lastname@example.org