Last week I went on a Introduction to Scottish Winter Mountineering course. Me being me, I wanted to take photos as well as experience the cold temperatures, heavy bag and finest rain Scotland had to offer - sounded easy.
Yes, it was as cold as it looks.
The course was great and well balanced between learning new things and rienforcing them day after day. As well as the ice axe, crampons and rope skills I’d say that there were 3 things that I learned that were either importnat in the mountains or for taking photos.
Control Your Bag
But your bag is on your back, surely its always under control I hear you ask. This isn’t quite what I mean - if you arent careful, winter days can be taken up entirely by faffing. Faffing for food and water, faffing for extra/fewer layers, faffing for camera stuff, faffing for the sake of faffing. So what I mean when I say control your bag is to know ehere everything is, to keep it in a sensible place that you can access quickly even in incliment weather and to never be the last person putting your bag back on!
Have a Snack Department
I found that having the top pocket of my coat lined with a plastic bag full of broken up snack bars was a great idea - I could just reach in and take a single mouthful of food whenever I wanted to or whenever there was a pause in activities. Refer to point 1 for my thoughts on stopping to get food out of a bag rather than doing this!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
This is pretty much the opposite of how I would normally walk or excersise, but there isn’t much of an advantage of always being at the front of the group. Taking things steadly means you won’t tire yourself out as quickly, will retain better balance (important if you are as new to winter walking as me) and will get to savour the views for longer - nice if you like to take photos of said views!