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Aviemore Winter Skills: Kit list & information pack

This pack contains all the information you want, and probably some you won’t. Here’s a good place to find important information.

What’s the plan?

Before Christmas

Winter Skills Lecture at MCC in Basecamp room.

Thursday 29th:

Before 6pm: Leave for the Cairngorms

Friday 30th:

06:30: wake up
07:30: leave bunk house
08:10: leave the carpark
Skills training
14:00: be back at carpark
14:30: back at hut for napping
18:00: onwards food and socialising
20:00: scheming and planning for tomorrow
??? bedtime

Saturday 31:

Plans to be formed the night before

New Years Eve Celebrations

January 1st

Plans to be formed the night before

New Years Day Activities

January 2nd

06:30: wake up
07:30: leave bunk house
08:10: leave the carpark
Do something using new skills
14:00: return to the cars and start driving home

All times are liable to change – but are Tim’s best guess.

Kit and Clothes

One of the challenges of winter activities is a shortage of light. Try to pre-faff.

Below we have 3 lists:

  • stuff you need to have
  • stuff that should readily available for Friday 30th
  • A full packing list and other things you should bring.

Outdoor kit you need to have:

It is winter and there is exposed, cold snowy moorland. This isn’t jeans and trainers country. Here is the basic kit you need for this trip.

If you don’t have any, you may be able to borrow it – if you let Judith know in advance.

  • Boots (full ankle, stiff soled)
  • Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Waterproof overtrousers
  • Gaiters (so that you don’t trip up over your crampons)
  • Several other layers.
  • Even more layers
  • Did I mention extra warm layers?
  • Warm hat or a buff
  • Gloves
  • More gloves
  • Headtorch (freshly charged or including spare batteries)
  • Lots of warm socks
  • Even more gloves
  • Cheapo Ski Goggles (Aldi sells for £9)
  • an old tea-towel or t-shirt that might get some holes in (to wrap your crampons in)
  • thermos (according to Judith, this is important. She’s usually right)

Outdoor packing list:

Stuff for you to wear:

  • Underwear ?
  • some kind of leggings?
  • hiking trousers or tracksuit bottoms that aren’t jeans
  • upper layers
  • more warm upper layers
  • outer warm upper layer
  • boots
  • warm socks

Stuff to pre-pack in your bag:

  • Day rucksack
  • chocolate bars
  • cold and hot drinks
  • waterproof jacket
  • waterproof trousers
  • extra warm layer
  • gaiters
  • cheap ski goggles
  • a pair of spare socks
  • gloves
  • more gloves
  • even more gloves
  • old t-shirt or tea-towel
  • head-torch
  • warm hat or buff

Here’s the full kitlist of everything you should bring:

Here’s a more detailed kitlist including all the things you should bring (and some you might want to consider)

  • a full change of clothes back at the bunkhouse
  • maybe 2 pairs of Outdoor trousers (not denim or jeans of any type)
  • legging to wear underneath?
  • lots of top layers
  • underwear
  • waterproof top and bottom
  • an extra warm layer
  • hiking boots
  • thick socks for hiking in (ideally 3+ pairs – in case one gets wet or you need to wear two pairs at once)
  • warm hat
  • buff / scarf
  • old t-shirt or tea towel for carrying crampons

General outdoor gear

Since the days are shorter, and it’s getting dark early it’s good to be equipped in case we’re outside longer than expected.

  • Small rucksack (25-40 litre)
  • headtorch
  • water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • sunglasses
  • themos flask
  • first aid kit with plasters, hay fever medication, painkillers
  • phone charger and phone cable


  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • toiletries
  • towel
  • all medication you need


All food is included on the trip, but you should bring your own snacks and drinks (alcoholic) and any hot drinks beyond basic tea, coffee and dairy/non-dairy milk.

I don’t need you to point out to me that this is not food, but fireworks are welcome. Cakes (pre-baked!) and other goodies to share are also welcome.

Transport and location information

Where is the bunkhouse?

Granton on Spey. Ideally set your satnav up with this link.

On Arrival

When you start to approach Granton on Spey (maybe 30 mins away), get hold of Tim on Messenger or 01457597007 (a magic mobile number) and he’ll come and guide you into the bunkhouse.

What’s it like?

It’s quite posh by our standards. It’s like a self-catering youth hostel. We may or may not have sole usage of it. We have dorm rooms to ourselves. Bedding provided (no sleeping bag or pillow needed). Plug sockets. Showers. Probably a bunch of other things. There will be mobile signal. There’s a kitchen ‘bouldering’ wall. It’ll be reet.

Do we have to take our stuff with us when we head out on Jan 2nd?


Do we have to do hours of cleaning?

Nope. But try to be reasonably clean and don’t steal anything ?

Where are we driving to on Thursday 30th morning?

Probably Cairngorm Ski Centre carpark.

Any tips for stops on the long drive?

There are services about every 20 minutes, but I usually stop on the M74 (about 3h north of Manchester) at Junction 10 to visit the Tesco with toilets and petrol station.

There are two “posh” services – Cairn Lodge (3 hours from Manchester) and Tebay (1.5 hours). The rest haven’t much to differentiate between them.

The 2 hour section closest to Aviemore has petrol stations that function as services.

Random FAQs

Will walking trainers do?

Walking trainers are great for summer strolls, but we’re going winter mountaineering. This is exactly the time when we need boots with ankle support and stiff soles. Bring your boots along to the winter skills lecture and we can help tell you if your boots are ok.

Do I need ski-goggles?

In short, yes. Sunglasses and scarfs have their place, but cheap ski-goggles are well well worth the money when you need them. Will we need them? We don’t know, but when we do – you will hurt and you will wish you’d paid less than £10 for some cheap ones. Please beg/borrow/steal some cheap ones. 🙂

Why do I need so many pairs of gloves?

Because they get wet and cold faster than you think. You can layer them, they don’t have to be high quality high end gloves (Aldi sell great gloves). A pair of stretchy childrens wool gloves can sometimes make you very very happy.

Why are we starting so early in the morning?

Mornings are universally agreed to be “the worst”. But we are in Scotland in winter, we have to make use of the light. Night falling on the mountain is bad. Let’s get home early and not have epics whilst we’re still learning.

Shall I bring climbing gear?

This is not a climbing trip, but if you have thick gloves, ice screws and technical axes… crack on. Remember to bring a helmet 😉 and gloves!

Shall I bring skis or my board?

Sure – that might be an option one day – the Cairngorm ski centre and Lecht Ski centres may well be open. A snowsports helmet is probably a good shout too.

Though these venues also do offer kit hire as well as day passes.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?


Do I need to bring a towel?


Shall I bring my own Ice Axe and Crampons?

If you have them, tell Tim and Yes. Otherwise no.

When and where is the Winter Skills Lecture?

Manchester Climbing Centre. Date TBC before christmas. 7pm. Basecamp room (ask at front desk where it is if you don’t know and bear in mind you don’t need to pay for climbing if you’re not planning to climb)

What shall I bring to that?

Your boots. Crampons if you have them. Yourself. Some snacks or cake to share?

I can’t make it to Winter Skills Training?

Let Tim know and Tim will be in touch

I want to Nerd-up because I like learning.

Have a watch through this YouTube Playlist. It deliberately doubles up things – and is in priority order.