Intro Winter Skills: Female Instructors Q&A

By Glenmore Lodge

Every year, our Intro to Winter Skills course is the first experience of winter in the hills for many people, and often the first step in discovering a whole new way to enjoy the unique challenges and adventures that it has to offer.

We want everyone to feel welcome to come to Glenmore Lodge to learn new skills and build their confidence in the outdoors, which is why we endeavour for our courses are delivered by experienced and friendly Instructors. Given that the outdoors can sometimes feel male-dominated, we want to highlight the course dates for our Intro to Winter Skills course where female instructors are guaranteed to be available for those who would prefer to learn from them (3rd-4th February & 2nd-3rd March).

To help you get to know a couple of these amazing female instructors, we asked them some questions about why they love winter and what it’s like enabling others to experience it for themselves.

Charlie chambers:

What do you love about winter?

I have always loved an adventure and winter for me is all about that! Being in the mountains, full immersion into the environment along with occasionally frozen eyelashes make it a really magical time of the year for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bluebird days too but there is definitely something about those really harsh wintery days that is just brilliant! 

What’s it like teaching others the skills and helping them build the confidence to enjoy independent winter adventures?

I love teaching in winter. I really enjoy seeing people grow in confidence as they build their knowledge and skills and move towards becoming independent. Creating an environment that supports people to develop and progress their skills along with confidence in their own decision making and most importantly having fun along the way is something that I love doing.

Tell us a bit about one of your most memorable winter adventures:

Recent winter adventure, there are so many to choose from! One of my favourites most recently was a day of mountaineering on Ben Nevis via the CMD arete with my friends Zoe and EJ. With some atmospheric conditions adding to the adventure (misty rimeing up your goggles and freezing any exposed hair type of weather) we enjoyed some icy techy terrain along the ridge followed by a brief moment of the clouds lifting as we reached the summit…shortly before white out conditions returned requiring some careful navigation and focus to take us down. We finished our walk out under the stars dreaming of pizza! It was Zoe and EJ’s first big winter day out which added to the experience and the adventure, they were both well and truly hooked after this! 🙂

Heather Tuffs

What do I love about winter?

Winter adds another level of beauty to the Scottish hills and an increased level of challenge – physically, mentally and technically. As with so much in life, the greater the challenge, the greater the reward and I rank my days spent amongst the wintery Scottish mountains (both solo and sharing the magic with others), as some of my very best on this planet! The blue-sky days are ones of immense natural beauty; the not so blue days are ones of great satisfaction at having battled the elements and returned safely with that wind burnt face feeling to appreciate a warm shower, good food and bed!

What’s it like teaching others…

It’s a great privilege to be in a position to inspire and pass on skills that hopefully allow others to safely have their own magical days in the wintery hills. Sharing knowledge and empowering others (especially women) with the knowledge that they actually know far more than they think is particularly rewarding. In all my instructing work with both adults and young people, I know that it’s frequently lack of confidence that holds people back and I love helping to build that self-belief that allows others to embark on their own mountainous adventures…

Memorable Winter Adventures:

My Winter Mountain Leader Assessment still ranks very highly on my Scottish winter adventures list. Waking in our hand-crafted snow hole for two days in a row to that beautiful muffled stillness that only a landscape covered in snow can bring, emerging into a pristine winter wonderland for another blue-sky day surrounded by a sea of sparkling white peaks and not a sight or sound of civilisation… It is life at its simplest and unmaterialistic best and provides me with an inexplicable feeling of great happiness! (I also know that not everyone experiences such perfect alpine conditions on their Winter ML Assessment!) You also can’t beat a good wintery Scottish Ridge… The classics of Liathach, Aonach Eagach, Beinn Alligin, Ring of Steall & The CMD Arete on perfect winter days are some of the best of my life!

Find out more:

Check out the full details of the Intro to Winter Skills course. On the 3rd/4th February and 2nd/3rd of March, we can guarantee that there’ll be female instructors available for those who would prefer to learn from them. The most of our course dates are staffed by both male and female instructors, but we will usually randomly allocate you to an Instructor.

Or have a look at our NEW one-day Discover Winter Skills experience.

Read about an experience of our Intro to Winter Skills course from someone completely new to winter hillwalking HERE.

(Header photo taken by Fi Chappell when delivering our 2023 Women’s Intro Winter skills course)