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January training weekend - Winter skills refresh

On the 13th January 2018 members of AMRT assembled at Spittal of Glen Muick to carry out winter skills training and consolidation. The training day started at 0830 with a full team transceiver check followed by the team walking up Clas Rathadan and then on to the Col between Meikle Pap and Lochnagar. At 700 meters visibility deteriorated as we entered cloud and the wind increased from the south, with the terrain frozen and patchy snow cover. The team continued on to the Lochnagar rescue box in low visibility where snow conditions improved.

Here we split into two groups to alternate in carrying out a transceiver search exercise and a probing exercise using a Guidon line. After completion of these exercises the team moved on to an area below Raeburn's Gulley where crampons were fitted to aid travel in the now harder snowpack. Here snow trenches were dug to simulate clearing an area to enable the safe packaging of a casualty on a stretcher, before beginning exercises in digging out casualties buried in avalanche debris. After completion of the digging exercise, snow pack assessments were practiced by team members along with essential winter protection skills incuding belays and moving with ropes.

Whilst training, some individuals were concurrently testing a variety of digital radios to find a contender for potential use within Scottish Mountain Rescue in the near future. Following completion of the training objectives that the conditions allowed, the team enjoyed a kilo of Christmas cake lugged up the hill by an unsuspecting volunteer, then walked back to the Col and descended to the bothy in increasing wind and low visibility. Following a debrief and kit re-organisation, the team departed back to base and home.