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May Training Weekend - Bivvy

Over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of May, members of AMRT attended a training weekend in the Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon area. There were two main goals to this month's training. The first was to increase team members' knowledge of the area and cover ground that some of the team have not been on before, helping to prepare for any potential future call outs. The second was testing members' abilities to function as part of an extended expedition. This was done by finding an area to bivouac and spending the night up the mountain.
 
The weekend started with a drop off in the 'Fairy Glen' and with members being asked if they'd ever found the 'Secret Howff'. Those of us that hadn't were then promptly sent to go and try to find it! After a good deal of searching we finally found what we were looking for and were all impressed with this fantastic piece of Cairngorm climbing history. After meeting back up with the rest of the team we continued further on to the base of Beinn a' Bhuird and began testing our navigational skills in the poor visibility by climbing and descended various routes to its tops and coires. After completing the next task of finding the Smith-Winram stone built bivouac, we scrambled back to the plateau to make our way across to Stob an t-sluichd to locate the eerie site of a crashed World War Two bomber, its engines and some structure still lying on the hillside. After this we made our way to Cnap a' Chlerich to set up our 'accommodation' for the night. After grabbing a bite to eat, team members settled down into their bivy bags for the next few hours to enjoy the soothing sounds of howling wind, pouring rain and the relaxing feeling of being continually slapped in the face by a cold, wet group shelter! 
 
Not long after first light, the team emerged from their shelters slightly cold but morale still intact, packed up and headed for our next objective, the cloudy and windy summit of Ben Avon. Here we were treated to an enlightening 6am brief on Cairngorm Smoky Quartz by Billy before continuing on to Linn of Avon and a Landrover pickup to the nearest bacon and egg sandwich. A great weekend in the mountains was had with lots of useful knowledge gained.
 
Words by John Rathbone