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- August 2014
UUJMC End of Year Trip 2014 + AGM Results
   Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:52 am

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Scotland 2014

Permanent Linkby rockaroller on Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:51 am

Gareth Brown
Alistair McCoy
Conor Begley
John Geary
Jonathan Graham
Laura Witherspoon
Stephanie McKenna

Winter walking skills
Ice climbing (indoor + outdoor)
Rock climbing (routes + bouldering)

The annual Scottish Winter Mountaineering Trip started earlier for some than others. Alistair, Conor and myself (Gareth) headed over to the rugged highlands of Scotland several days early, to take full advantage of the skiing to be had during the winter conditions. Our party of three had quite different levels of ability and experience from complete beginner to fairly experienced.

We started our expedition from the shores of Ireland at Belfast’s Stenaline where Alistair kindly volunteered to drive. With playlists at the ready after disembarking from the ferry terminal we all got settled into the 5h drive across Scotland to the Cairngorms. At Aviemore we picked up ski hire and food for the bunkhouse which is situated just 20 minutes away in a nice village called Grantown-on-Spey. The accommodation was equally as cosy and off the beaten track overlooking the mountain range (perfect for a daily spot of morning night navigation).

Day One, Aviemore Ski Centre (Closed - Due to too much snow and high winds) typical. We checked the other ski resorts and Glenshee was open, so off we headed for a 2h drive. Glenshee is at a slightly lower altitude, out of the wind but consequently less snow. As me and Conor shook off some cob webs, Alistair took his first tentative steps on snow with skis, and through him in at the deep end down a blue run. After enjoying that a second blue was in order which was a bit of a baptism of fire for our beginner accomplice. After several falls later we made it back to the lift where the rest of the day was spent honing our skills.

Day Two, Aviemore Ski Centre - Partially Open, great news. The second we all really started getting back into the groove, pulling some tricks, 360’s, jumps and skiing backwards etc.
Day three, our final day of skiing. After two days of the most challenging skiing conditions I have ever skied in, the third day was a welcome relief with blue skies and low winds. This is what skiing is all about. We where all progressing nicely and started videoing each other.

Upon driving back from a full days skiing, John brought the rest of the club over during the day and we met up in Aviemore where they followed us back to the the bunkhouse. After a good feed back ‘home’ and everyone got unpacked everyone was ready for bed. The next morning saw the start of the winter skills with our guides again in fairly harsh conditions. John and Jonny went off with Jonny Par for mixed route and anchor systems, while the rest of us where with Liam going over winter walking, Ice axe arrest and snowing.

The following day brought even worst conditions in the morning with heavy rain and snow until around 10am, from which it started to clear up. Alistair and Myself went with Ian to do an amazing ice climb called Anvil Gully with first time neve placements. While everyone else where with Jonny Par doing more winter skills.

The last day of mountaineering was an easy call, we had to abandon ship and took refuge in the Ice climbing venue of the Ice Factor. This was a great call as none of us had ever been at an indoor ice wall before. I for sure thoroughly enjoyed myself and am totally psyched for hard indoor ice climbs now. There is also and large indoor rock climbing venue at Ice Factor which got us all nicely warmed.

Home time. The last day we all where feeling tired, especially the drivers. On our way home we called into the Climbing Academy which is a dedicated bouldering wall where we spent several hours ‘de-stressing’ and enjoying our final days in Scotland.

I would like to thank the Sports Union for all your help and to everyone on the trip for coming together to make a fantastic holiday after our exams.

Last edited by rockaroller on Mon May 05, 2014 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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