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Winter skills for the hills

Many of the particular skills required for safe winter walking are better demonstrated than described. The winter skills videos below have been prepared by Glenmore Lodge and offer a useful introduction to the equipment and skills required for heading to the Scottish mountains in winter:

Moving over snow can be both exhausting and precarious. This video explains how what you wear on your feet and how you move can make progress both easier and more secure.

A neglected art, cutting steps using your ice axe can be hugely useful if you just have a short stretch where cutting steps isn't secure enough but it's not quite time for crampons. A very useful skill, but one simple to learn.

Like reaching a traffic island in the middle of a road, cutting a stance can provide an island of security if you need to pause on a steep slope

There's nothing natural about walking around with big spikes on your feet - but there comes a stage they're essential. This video explains how to put them on and how to move with them so that they're a help rather than a hindrance.

Everyone knows you can use an ice-axe to stop a fall on a snowy hillside, but this video on self belay shows you how to stop that initial slip from becoming a fall.

The classic use of the ice-axe: to stop yourself when sliding down a steep hillside. Learn how it's done - no matter which way up you're falling - and then go off and practice.

There are many ways to learn winter mountaineering skills. More experienced friends can give advice, and many people use the collective knowledge accessible through joining a walking or climbing club. A very reliable way to gain essential skills is through courses run by qualified instructors. There are many commercial courses available, as well as subsidised safety and skills courses from Mountaineering Scotland, and a wide range of courses provided by Glenmore Lodge, the National Outdoor Training Centre near Aviemore.

Mountaineering Scotland safety and skills courses

Glenmore Lodge courses