Winter Skills: Sunday, January 20 (Day 2)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALauren writes from Gordonstoun:  On Sunday, instead of going back to the Cairngorms, we drove to a mountain called Ben Rinnes, which can be seen from Gordonstoun on a clear day. The two trail groups split up and my group drove to one side of the mountain while the other group drove to the other side. We then both climbed to the top, and swapped minibus keys at the summit. The weather was a lot nicer than the day before, as there wasn’t very much wind until we were higher up on the mountain. Unfortunately about 20 minutes after we started hiking, Fiona’s injured hip was aggravated and she had to go back to wait at the minibus for the other group to finish.

The temperature was around -5 celsius, but it seemed a lot warmer because there wasn’t much windchill. We took the main footpath up the mountain, and there were clear skies until about halfway up. The path was pretty steep, but overall the climb was enjoyable, especially because the weather was a lot nicer than the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAprevious day and the fact that we weren’t trudging through powder for too much of the time. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the summit. At the top, after taking photos, we had lunch. We all felt really satisfied when we reached the top, and the view was amazing. The other group hadn’t reached the top yet, and after 20 minutes or so, we started down the other side of the peak. Unfortunately, with the way the wind was blowing, all of the powder had piled up on the side we would be taking down the mountain, and the trail was covered. After hiking through the piled snow, we found the other group about 15 minutes later, waiting for us to create footsteps for them to use. It would have been quite a climb for them goin uphill in the fresh snow; it was thigh-deep for a majority of the time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter talking to the other group for a little bit, we started on again, trying to find the trail in the snow. We ended up trailblazing our way down the mountain, which was much more fun going downhill than up. We travelled through the snow, down giant granite slabs and icy slopes, and over frozen rivers until we ended up on the trail again. We took it all the way back to the distillery where the other group parked their minibus.

Overall, the winter skills trip was so much fun. I really enjoyed all of the new things I did. My trail group made my experience all the better.  I want to thank everyone for such a great time.

After hearing about our trip, ten of the exchanges went to ask Mr Park when the next trip was going to be. If I can, I hope to go on the next one. I can already tell that the trip will fill up quickly.