Sunshine and skills in Scotland

There's nothing more satisfying about my job than getting out of the office and meeting members at events and workshops, getting out in the mountains myself, getting to know new people, finding out what members do with their awards and what aspects of the membership is important to them. These are also great opportunities for me as a Mountain Leader to join in and brush up on my own skills whilst sharing my experiences and learning from others, so a trip to Scotland to join members at Glenmore Lodge was a great way to spend a weekend. Ropework skills Met as always with a welcoming smile from the staff at Glenmore Lodge, I set up the Associations' presence along with Ally from Sherpa Outdoors who kindly supported the event, showcasing their latest products and giving members the opportunity to test them. Nigel Williams, Head of Training had all the logistics in hand, leaving me the easy job of welcoming everyone and deciding which workshops to join in with, tough decision!

I headed out on Saturday with the Mountain Leader ropework refresher group ran by Fiona. It's not uncommon on ropework workshops for qualified Mountain Leaders to feel that because they are qualified they should remeber all the skills, be slick at body belaying or doing a South African abseil. The truth is we are rusty and may have forgotten some aspects, which is perfectly acceptable when you consider that when you take groups out, you have planned well and chosen an appropriate route for your group size and ability, meaning the last time you got your rope out was probably on your assessment. So skill-fade is inevitable and exactly why we offer these types of workshops in the first place, to do what it says on the tin, refresh!

Sunday I chose to go out on the navigation workshop giving me some focused time to work with a Harvey's map, a map I don't use much myself. I find when you spend the majority of your time using a particular map type it takes a while to get your "eye in" on a different one, the scale, new measurements for distance, working out the steepness of ground because the contour lines are spaced differently, so this for me was an ideal opportunity to do just that. Navigation workshop

Saturday evening Keith Millar did a great environmental talk, teaching us to be inquisitive, why does something thrive in a certain place, and how by knowing more about our habitat we can be more aware of impact to the environment. He had even put a short quiz together which occupied many during the evening over a beer. Being so compassionate about this topic, Keith stayed and spent the evening sharing his extensive knowledge- not suprising his workshop was popular on the Sunday.

It was a shame that I didn't get the option to join the other workshops on offer over the weekend which included ideas for teaching navigation, also very popular or the SPA preparation for assessment. I did however get to socialise throughout the weekend and be there at the end to wish everyone a safe journey home. A big thanks to all that attended and thanks for your appreciative comments on departure.

I know we are in the midst of summer, but I am already planning our winter weekend in Scotland taking place on the weekend of 28th and 29th January 2017, so pencil that date in your diary if you are interested.

Thank you for all your feedback. Some is shared here:

The weekend was 1st class. The environmental workshop, starting from 18,000 years BC upto the present day. The route we took ensured nothing was left out. The day was full on with facts, figures and anecdotal info. Superb!! Keith is so at home with the subject and speaks so passionately, making everyone feel at ease. He took time to answer the many questions that came his way, making it easier to understand the complexities of nature to the lay person. The day spent with Keith was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Excellent.
Sandy Thow

Sherpa at Glenmore lodgeIt was good to view maps of a different landscape. I picked up a few great tips along the way. Getting familiar with a different scaled map and brushing up on some plants along the way. Refreshing my rope skills and picking up some extra tips for slickness was all good news.
Virginia Whittle

Just as I would have expected from such experienced instructors. Very considerate and intuitive. I wish the weekend had been three or four days as I could easily have done two more of the workshops. The ideas for teaching navigation workshop was brilliant. I am already reconfiguring our DofE navigation training for 2017 to take account of all the new ideas you gave to us. Thanks again
Graeme Winning.

No surprise that I left with a smile on my face for my long journey home.

Belinda Fear
MTA Development Officer