Develop your Skills

Building your skills is key to your enjoyment of the mountains. Understanding the dangers in the mountain environment and how to deal with them, getting good at navigation, knowing how to use winter gear properly, being aware of avalanche risk, and knowing something about first aid can all help give you the confidence you need to push your boundaries and have some great adventures.

Every year the club arranges a programme of lectures and training events to help members new and old learn and develop these and other skills important for safety in the mountains. All of the topics covered are essential mountaineering skills and could quite possibly be life saving at some point. Remember, whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned mountaineer you will be able to learn something from these excellent sessions. The sessions are not compulsory but attendance is strongly advised, and there is usually a good get together at our usual pub after each lecture. Likewise the training events can be a lot of fun as well as providing you with important skills.

This programme varies from year to year (details are sent out via the club's announcements forum) but typically includes:

Navigation Workshop

Never navigated before? Unsure how to use a map and compass effectively? Skills a bit rusty? Then this is the perfect lecture for you! The Rucksack Club does not have guides or leaders and it is therefore essential that everyone makes the effort to become a competent navigator.

Winter Safety and Skills Lecture

Many of our club meets take place in winter conditions and a our newer members may feel inexperienced in such elements. This lecture covers the major points in winter safety and is thus an important session for new members as well as a good refresher for old hands.

First Aid Lecture / Practical Session

The first aid session covers not only what items you should be carrying in your first aid kit but more importantly how to use them effectively. The focus is on the types of health problems and injuries that you are most likely to encounter when you're out on the hills and how you should handle them.

Avalanche Safety Lecture

Understanding how to assess avalanche risk yourself as well as how to interpret avalanche forecasts is key to safe enjoyment of the hills in winter. This lecture covers both and is very informative.

"Navigation Meet" - navigation practical training day

Every year (often around October/November) the club has a special meet where we focus on sharpening up our navigation skills. This is a great opportunity for inexperienced members to learn and practice the basics for real out on the hill. Knowledge is shared between members new and old and sometimes we even get a qualified mountain guide from the MCoS to provide some professional instruction.

"Winter Experience" - winter skills practical training day

The first club meet in January each year is usually arranged as an opportunity for club members to practice winter mountaineering skills such as use of crampons and ice axes, and digging snowpits to assess avalanche risk. Beginners get to try these things for the first time whilst more experienced members get the opportunity to practice their skills. This is an important trip for all those intending on going on club meets in the second semester, when snowy conditions will be prevalent on the mountains (and its good fun too… playing in the snow followed by Hot Chocolate in Aviemore!)

Other Events

There are usually some additional lectures and events which vary from year to year. For example in recent years we have also had lectures from Tayside Mountain Rescue, and scottish climber Dave MacLeod, in addition to the above programme.

Training Courses

As well as the above programme of events organised by the club, many members have also chosen to attend various training courses covering mountaineering skills and aspects of mountain safety. The opportunities available are summarised on the training courses page.