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Winter Skills Training Courses

Mountaineering Scotland offers members the opportunity of either a weekend course or a series of one day courses to help improve your skills and confidence for winter walking and mountaineering in Scotland, with our team of qualified and experienced instructors. 

Our winter skills courses are aimed at people who already enjoy walking in the Scottish hills in summer and winter, and wish to improve their competency and learn the necessary skills to enjoy winter in the hills safety.

Fitness grade

Fitness grade depends on course chosen: single day or weekend.

One day course - Grade 2: For people who regularly climb hills/mountains and are fit enough for a 7 hour day in the Scottish winter mountains. These courses are delivered on the mountain, sometimes ‘off-track’ on rough terrain. Max distance 12km, min ascent 600m.

Weekend course - Grade 3: For people who regularly climb hills/mountains who wish to take it to the next level.  The courses are delivered on the mountains sometimes ‘off-track’ and on rough scrambling terrain. Max distance 12km, max ascent 1000m per day.

Our winter skills courses cover the essential skills of hill walking in winter including:

  • Use of ice axe and crampons
  • Ice axe self- arrest
  • Navigation
  • Winter safety
  • Avalanche avoidance 
  • What to do in an emergency and more. 
It will not involve any use of a rope. 

We will aim to cover as much of the above as possible, depending on the snow and weather conditions. The staffing ratio is 1:6. All our courses are staffed with highly experienced mountaineering instructors who hold either their Winter Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor award or Winter Mountain Leader award.

If you have any questions regarding the content of our winter skills courses, or you're not sure if it's right for you, please contact info@mountaineering.scot

It is VITAL that you come prepared for a full day in the winter mountains to ensure that you get the most out of the course - download the kit list below.

  • What's provided: Mountaineering Scotland will provide you with an appropriate map, map case and compass where needed.
  • What you need to bring: You will need to be equipped for a full day in the hills in winter conditions with adequate warm and waterproof outdoor clothing, winter boots, ice axe and crampons, as well as plenty of food and drink (ideally some warm drink) - see the full kit list below. 

Not sure if you have the right boots? Read more about winter boots here

If you have any questions regarding the suitability of your kit or indeed any other questions about the course please contact us in advance.

One-day winter skills courses 

**Please note: Accommodation is NOT included in the course fee** 

  • One-day winter skills course - Cairngorms - Tuesday 3 January 2023 - booking open
  • One-day winter skills course - Cairngorms - Monday 9 January 2023 - booking open
  • One-day winter skills course - Cairngorms - Monday 16 January 2023 - booking open
  • One-day winter skills course - Cairngorms - Monday 30 January 2023 - booking open
  • One-day winter skills course - Glencoe - Monday 6 February 2023 - booking open
  • One-day winter skills course for women - Glencoe - Monday 20 February 2023 - booking open
  • One-day winter skills course - Glencoe - Tuesday 21 February 2023 - booking open

You may wish to combine your one-day winter skills course with our winter navigation courses


Winter Skills two-day weekend courses are based from our hut, Mill Cottage in Glen Feshie and include 2 nights self-catering accommodation at the hut.

  • Winter skills course (two-days) - Cairngorms - 17-18 December 2022 - Booking open
  • Winter skills course (two-days) - Cairngorms - 7-8 January 2023 - Booking open
  • Winter skills course (two-days) - Cairngorms - 25-26 March 2023 - Booking open

To book onto one of our mountain safety courses, you need to be over 18 and a member of Mountaineering Scotland. Your membership fees help us subsidise the costs of our courses and means we offer them at these very affordable rates. Not a member? Click here to join.

One-day courses: £50 (Glencoe £65)

  • The price includes: One full day of instruction only. 
  • It does not include: Kit (see kit list above), accommodation, food or transport. Please be prepared to share your transport with others - for the purposes of car sharing, a list of students will be circulated a couple of weeks prior to the weekend.  If you do not wish to be included in this list, please advise at the time of booking.

Weekend courses: £130

  • The price includes: Two days instruction and 2 nights self catering accommodation at Mill Cottage in Glen Feshie.
  • It does not include: Kit (see kit list above), food or transport - please be prepared to share your transport with others. For the purposes of car sharing, a list of students will be circulated a couple of weeks prior to the weekend.  If you do not wish to be included in this list, please advise at the time of booking.

Pre-booking is essential. Please take a look at our course information and booking and cancellation conditions - by making a booking you are agreeing to these terms. 

  • Mountaineering Scotland members can book and pay easily and quickly online in our members’ web portal
  • If you are not a Mountaineering Scotland member, you can join and book your course at the same time online in our members web portal.

Our cancellation policy:

  • Cancellations 7 days or less before the course date are non refundable and non-transferable.
  • Cancellations less than 4 weeks before a course date - we will only offer a refund or transfer if we find a replacement to take your place (admin fee applies)
  • Cancellations more than 4 weeks before the course date will incur a £10 admin fee per booking to cover admin costs.

If you have any questions please get in touch.

  • Fantastic instructors, well organised course, brilliant accommodation, great helpful staff
  • I've done three courses with MCofS and have really enjoyed each one. They are excellent value and I'm always telling people about them!
  • Heather has a brilliant technique for training. Getting the info across in a fun but professional way. Lots of top tips. I have been on a course previously with Heather as the instructor, and on both occasions thoroughly enjoyed my time & learned a lot.
  • Excellent value course and good content covered given that we only had 1 day
  • The course was fantastic. Demonstration of an evolving avalanche risk by "getting up close" was something I shall never forget.
  • This was an exceptionally good day especially for the money that it cost - it was a great foundation to build on and it means that we can venture out onto the hill in a safer manner which is in the long run a priceless - makes me very happy to be a member of and support the MCofS if that's the sort of thing that is offered. Brilliant.
  • The instructors were great, the accommodation was amazing and it was unbelievably cheap especially considering how great it was.
  • I learned a huge amount and consolidated some of the things I've learned already.  It was also a reminder to be prepared for everything!