Welcome to our new trainees

Class of 2011.

Class of 2011.

We had a fantastic response to the course advert for the 2011 Path Skills Training Course with over 230 application forms sent out giving us the near impossible task of narrowing it down to the 8 places on offer. We invited 45 candidates to be interviewed over 3 days at the Aviemore Mountain Resort resulting in and then selected 8 Trainees.

The Trainees started their SVQ Path Skills Training Course on the 18th April with an induction day at Badaguish, going over of what the course was going to consist of and what would be expected of them. Thanks to Bob Grant from The CNPA who came along and gave a talk on the National Park which the Trainees found very interesting.

We then had 3 days of maintenance on Carn Ban Mhor which consisted of cleaning out ditches, waterbars and cross drains which was completed to a very good standard and was a great chance for the trainees to be able to get to know each other a little better. It was also a chance for myself to see how they interacted with each other and to see how they managed to cope with the physical side of working out on the hill.

On the 27thApril the trainees had an outdoor first aid training course (1 Day) with Osprey Adventures which was very worthwhile and the guys learnt a lot from this.

The trainees started work on Creag Bheag on Monday 25th of April and made fantastic progress on the training side of the Course and on the path itself as well and the work being produced is of a very high standard in my opinion. The trainees have been working in 2 groups of 4 and also working in 4 pairs of 2 giving them the opportunity to work and to get to know their work colleagues. So far they’ve been shown the core skills of path building consisting of building water bars, cross drains, path construction( i.e.Digging tray, filling with hardcore, digging burrow pits for surfacing then bucketing the surfacing down to the path, landscaping, and also boulder pitching. They’ve  been learning these skills as a group and have coped very well but the next phase will be for them to start working a bit by themselves especially in the construction of the cross drains and waterbars. We have completed the first training site on Creag Bheag and have also worked on the Kingussie golf course circular for 2 weeks.

The next stage of the training course is going to take the trainees onto the Cairngorms  and onto Windy Ridge where work will be starting from the the first week in August and going through to the first week in October, in this time the trainees will have the opportunity of working by themselves more and also be open to the extreme weather conditions that will face them on windy ridge.

The Path Skills Training Course initiative is part of the Cairngorms Mountain Heritage Project funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, European Regional Development Fund, SNH, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, RSPB, Scottish Mountaineering Trust.