Many thanks to the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore for hosting the Mountain Skills talk last night, it was a great crowd and as always the food was exceptional. The talks the last in the series is sponsored by Mountaineering Scotland and the Munro Society and organised by Heather Morning the Mountain Safety Officer. The talk has the offer of a meal before hand and after a grand meal it is a quick turn round and all the tables are removed/cleared nd the projector set up it all seamless. A few of the visitors were amazed by the quick transition organised by Heather and pals.
There were a lot of pals at the talk a audience of all agesit was a busy time my nephew from Ayr was also up he is photographing hares in the Cairngorms. I hope it all went well and I had a few points that people agreed with when I brought them up and chatted to me afterwards.
Glasses on the hills.
As you get older many of us have to wear specs on the hills. I have had to since I was very young and even played football with them on so I know all about the problems. So many pals have taken to wearing them and cannot believe how I coped in the past on the mountains. When its wet and drizzle or snow specs are hard work, may whose eyesight changes did not realise this and have problems. I even have prescription goggles that I wear when the weather is that bad. There are a few things you can do one is accept that your eyesight has changed and carry your specs on the hill. The other is to blow the map up to a bigger scale so any danger areas are easier to see. Also get your mate to check what you’re doing, vanity is nothing from going the wrong way or over a cliff?
In the audience was Ray Sefton one of my old pals from the RAF Mountain Rescue and my boss Team Leader many years ago and he taught me lots. He was involved in the early day of Rescue in Scotland since 1950,s and his knowledge is unique. He was one of my first Team Leaders and one who was always available to advise and help me. During my char last night I was talking about the tragic Avalanche in the Chalamain Gap in February 2013. It was a terrible event that shocked many that such a so-called “benign area” to many could cause 3 deaths. I visited the scene early the next morning after the accident with a very experienced pal whose friend died in the accident and looked round the scene. Later on I spoke to many other experienced Cairngorm mountaineers. Ray mentioned that in the past the RAF Teams had trained in winter skills in this area in the 50’s and 60’s and had problems as it was Avalanche prone and they had a few near missed. This was in the days before the Scottish Avalanche Information Service was formed. Like many things this local knowledge can get lost in time and it is worth reinforcing these so important points?
It is in my view well worth reinforcing the information of these areas and there are many all over. How many do you know about. That event in the Cairngorms in 2013 was awful but do we ever learn from these tragedies? I do not mean blame but surely there must be points to learn from so we can pass on our experiences good and bad. Am I wrong here, is this just me? It is sad that mountaineering seems rarely to learn and share experiences is it due to lack of interest, care or a fear of getting sued.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
All comments welcome. A big thanks to Mountaineering Scotland, The Munro Society and the wonderful Mountain Cafe in Aviemore and all those who attended the Mountain Skills talk.
From Manny Gorman – author of the Corbett Round
“Another smashing lecture tonight delivered by my old pal and mountain RAF MRT legend Heavy David Whalley. The usual great anecdotes and hard messages with mountain craft tips, delivered with gags and a smile from a bloke with a wealth of experience, information and stats in his head. The Aviemore Mountain Cafe provided the fine venue (and food for those of us who weren’t late off the hill!) and it was promoted by The Munro Society and MCofS.” Really appreciated as he is the author of one of my favourite books.