Last weekend I went on an ML refresher course at Glenmore Lodge in the Cairngorms. This course was to enable me to have another go at some of the skills that are required as part of the ML award syllabus (and which are initially covered in the ML training course, which I also did at Glenmore Lodge in 2008, see my blog posting ‘Mountain Leader training course‘).
Saturday was spent doing navigation (of which I have been doing a lot recently!) in the hills to the east of the Lodge, walking from the Coire na Ciste car park, over Carn Lochan na Beinne and Stac na h-lolaire (past some unusual steep-sided gullies cut by glacial meltwater at the end of the last ice-age) and back through the Pass of Ryvoan. The weather was suprisingly wintry for May, with a few heavy snow showers and a cold northerly wind. The high areas of the Cairngorms still have an exceptionally large amount of snow cover for this time of year.
Sunday was spent going though some hazard procedures such as dealing with emergency river crossings and techniques for negotiating steep ground (which I find the most difficult part of the whole syllabus). We used some of the steep crags on the east side of Coire na Ciste for this, setting up belays and abseil points.
It was a very worthwhile weekend but it just emphasised the things I still need some practice in before I consider doing the ML assessment course to gain the award.