I joined Scot Mountain Holidays for a 5 day/6 night Winter Skills Course. I booked as the web-site portrayed them as being welcoming, homely, serving good food and, most importantly for me, being knowledgeable mountain guides. During my visit I found all of these to be true and would like to say thank you for a great stay. I also think that the whole package was very good value for money, which included being picked up from Inverness Airport ( I think they also pick up from the station).
I found Andy's navigation instruction to be first class, as well as his knowledge of the history of the surrounding countryside. I was delighted to see my first mountain hare in full winter coat and to survive the rigour of hurling myself head-first down a slippery slope. The trick is to have a an ice-axe as well as a good instructor. There is also nothing quite like having lunch in a snow-hole (particularly if someone else dug it) with the wind blowing outside.
My room was comfortable and warm with en-suite shower, and the meals were all delicious and filling, which you definitely need after a day out. It's also a great idea to be able to make your own sandwiches from ingredients provided, as well as tea/coffee so don't forget to take a flask. Almost forgot the cakes! Good drying room as well.
I think there were two memorable moments. Getting to the top of snowy Sgorr Gaoith and getting tremendous views not only of Gleann Eanaich but far away to the South and East.The other was seeing the Northern Lights from over the road at Fraoch Lodge!
I think if you are considering a trip like this you need to be fit and to have the right equipment. You can hire or provide it yourself, and of course if you hire you can then make an informed decision if and when you come to buy outright.
Operator's comment: Thank you for your kind words. We are delighted that you enjoyed the course so much. We hope to see you up in the area again practising your skills.
Amazing scenery. Our guide really knew the landscape. The accommodation and food was outstanding.
Torridon, mid Septembre 2016, with a Scottish weather, great (and sometimes challenging) walks with Andy, the delicious Rebecca's cooking, friends from the other side of the pond... The whole package is perfect, even a tall stag at the door of our cottage, some golden eagles...
An outstanding four days blessed with wall to wall sunshine. Rebecca and Andy make for a very high quality team, ably supported by wee Gregor's charm and chess-playing prowess (7 years old). I could not have had a better trip: the views were outstanding, it was rewardingly physically challenging, Andy is an ever-patient, modest, encouraging, engaging and professional guide who understands the dignity of risk. Fraoch Lodge was welcoming as ever, full of culinary surprises and delights. Even on our expedition, the home-dessicated risotto, soups and stews were excellent, evidence of real thought, care and a desire to be special. I had a sneaking suspicion that Rebecca might bring the traditional 'cake o'clock' to the mountain when we finished late on the last day and... lo and behold, a large tin of home-baked brownies was in the back of the van for weary walkers - no detail overlooked.
We had a wonderful weekend in the Cairngorms starting with a walk up the piste in Aviemore to ice axe arrest practice and finally building a snow hole where we camped out all night.
The weather was amazing and the food and company delightful.
Andy is an incredible mountain leader,unflappable and seems to live life at a pace far slower than us ordinary nine to fivers. Rebecca's culinary skills are top notch and we had the best camp food ever. The accomodation is welcoming, warm and spacious.
Thanks for the memories.
Perfect stay in a welcoming and warm family
Andy knows wonderfully Scotland, rocks, plants and animals
We already miss Rebecca's cooking and Gregor's chattering
We had good weather and even the opportunity to see a broken specter in the walk to Ben More!
It was a wonderful tour and my first time experience in the mountains. I will definitely go back.
As always with this Company (I've been on 15 of their previous holidays!) the whole experience was superb. The guide is a mine of information not just on the mountain routes, but also on the geology, geography, weather, flora and fauna .... ,which makes for a total mountain experience. Some issues with the transport and the variable weather meant that the itinerary had to be altered slightly, but Andy was very resourceful and, together with Rebecca, kept us well looked after, entertained, fed and watered all the time. The meals, as always were superb! N.B. this holiday was actually billed as "The Far North West" and was further North than the Empty Quarter one stated above.
MaryJane & Josh Shankel
Andy and Rebecca are the most fabulous hosts, they made us feel like we were old friends on a short visit. We packed in really, really full days of hiking and sight-seeing. Being short of time, Andy skillfully managed our wish list of 2 half day hikes, a tour of a Scottish Castle and a trip to a traditional pub. Andy's breadth of knowledge seems unbounded; Scottish history, geology and ecology kept us tuned in to the beautiful landscape and people of Scotland. Topping off the day with Rebecca's wonderful cooking and wandering through their organic garden made the trip a seem like we had found a little piece of heaven. Weeks later we are still talking about it and planning a return trip...a longer one this time!
Andy's extensive experience of the national park, in particular the flora and fauna made for for a great trip