Covid-19: When can we resume guiding activities?

On the 21st of May the Scottish Government issued a road map outlining a phased reduction in coronavirus restrictions.

Phase 1 indicates that exercise and recreational activity may be possible close to home, with minimal travel still advised. While it may be possible to achieve small trips close to home for those lucky enough to live in the mountains, for many travel will remain restricted.

We hope to be able start guiding activities again in Phase 3, which we anticipate to be by late July at the earliest. Until then we do need to be patient, and we will be reviewing our risk assessments in line with advice from the British Mountain Guides (BMG) and Mountaineering Scotland.

In the meantime please feel free to get in touch regarding rock climbing and mountaineering in the summer. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Update 13 June: Currently, we anticipate that this will be from the 15th July onwards. Our first priority will be to reschedule bookings from earlier in the season where we can. In addition we also welcome enquires for climbing and mountaineering activities in Scotland, please feel free to get in touch.

Update 3 July: The Scottish Government has confirmed the relaxation of the travel restrictions for outdoor recreation from the 3 July during Phase 2. The full guidelines can be found in the Phase 2 update 3rd July 2020: Guidance for hill walking and climbing during covid-19 from Mountaineering Scotland.

Mountain Assurance Ltd has also signed up to ‘We’re Good To Go’ a national initiative to demonstrate that we are compliant with the latest government guidance regarding Covid-19. Most importantly, we want to reassure you that we have been working behind the scenes, so that we can head to the mountains responsibly when the time comes. More details about the procedures we have put in place can be found on our Covid-19 page.

For additional information visit: Mountaineering Scotland’s Coronavirus page and our Covid-19 page.

Built to Send X0

Earlier this winter my ‘Built to Send‘ X0 arrived in the post ready for some Scottish winter climbing action. Having admired these British made rucksacks for some time I was eager to put the X0 though it’s paces.

Rarely do you see a product these days that stands out in a crowded market place, even less so when they appear to champion the attributes of ruthless simplicity and durability. Well, BTS have done exactly that, bringing a modern and fresh style to the durability of niche products like Pete O’Donovan’s – POD Sacs of old. Combine such an ethos with space age materials and you have a winning combination.

These packs are simple and subtle, with a myriad of options for load carrying. They come supplied with an “alpine customisation pack” which allows you to add ice axe retainers and a shock cord panel to your specification. Same with the compression straps which are removable.

Most importantly for me the X0 is a comfortable carry and plenty big enough for Scottish winter and alpine climbing, although some might prefer the slightly bigger X1. With a large open top (think haul bag style) these sacs pack like the “TARDIS”, swallowing plenty of kit in a storm, when all you can think about is bailing to the car. The X-Fold, Built to Send’s version of a roll top, works well with the stiff fabric.

Fabric brings me neatly onto durability, and BTS have confidently declared these sacs as “bombproof”. Well, the jury is out slightly given the premature finish to my winter season due to the COVID-19 lockdown, but I have no reason to doubt it! These sacs are at home when making contact with the punishing Cairngorm granite and excel when it comes to negotiating the odd chimney. Having bottled carrying the X0 on the narrow “slanting crack” of ‘Postern’ on Shelter Stone Crag recently I can also say that these sacs are easily hauled by the convenient load bearing grab handle on the back.

Currently retailing at £229.00 the BTS X0 won’t be for everybody, but these excellent sacs should definitely be on the radar of mountaineering instructors, mountain guides and professional users. Not to mention those who like a Scottish winter chimney or two. For those who are destructive with their kit, these sacs will pay their way many times over.