The Scottish Student Mountaineering and Rescue training weekend

A weekend of mountaineering, climbing, rescue training and plenty of games in the bar.... sounds like a good weekend to me! The SMART weekend was an awesome couple of days of climbing and mountaineering with the most psyched students from Universities across the country. ClimbScotland RDOs Robert and Calum were at Glenmore Lodge to help and we had just as much fun as the students!


What is SMART?

The training weekend is an ideal opportunity for university and college club members of all abilities to increase their skill levels so they can help support and develop the club.

All student members of the clubs who are new to hill walking, mountaineering or climbing, and wish to 'learn the ropes', are welcome to join in the fun and practice or learn something new that will help them improve their own climbing.

  • Rock climbing experience for beginners
  • Rock climbing experience for improvers
  • Mountain experience days
  • Emergency mountain First Aid
  • Range of talks
  • Evening of fun and games in the bar (I'm still sore)



Rock climbing experience for beginners

Myself and Calum were both tasked with running beginners sessions. These were awesome. It's great being able to work with people who know what they want to learn and really want to learn it.

On the Saturday the students went for a hard-hitting talk about mountain safety and why this weekend started, before meeting the instructors who would take them out. As we split them into small groups I was given four students who were really keen to get out on some real rock. This was tricky as we were meant to be playing about on the various sites at Glenmore Lodge. However a wee birdie told me that there may be some spaces left on a minibus going to Kingussie crag, so I quickly grabbed the crew and we legged it to jump on the bus. Made it!

We had a brilliant few hours playing about on some rock, however soggy some of it might have been! We looked at how to rig top-ropes, before they actually rigged a top-rope and went climbing on it (brave people).

Running 'slightly' over time we bailed back to Glenmore lodge for some dinner before the evening's entertainment of talks and general studentness!

SMART 7 After breakfast on Sunday all the students scattered for their second activity. A new bunch of slightly hungover students crawled out of bed and joined us for the beginners' rock climbing session. This time Calum beat me to the bus and bailed off to Kingussie.

Glenmore Lodge has multiple sites (the climbing wall, the towers, Boulder Mountain) that are great for teaching different parts of climbing. My team wanted to touch on a load of things, so we dotted about each area.

We started in the climbing wall looking at some basic climbing movement and technique before bracing the cold and heading out to Boulder Mountain to place some gear and rig some anchors. Maybe slightly cruelly I asked them to rig a top rope and made one poor lad climb/scramble up the grassy side of Boulder Mountain. It worked: nobody died and we avoided grass stains - win!

The Towers at the Lodge are free-standing towers of blocks cemented together. They use these for practicing gear placements and dry tooling. Not the most glamorous, but very effective. We decided to do a traverse (low level) round the tower, placing gear as we went and finishing with a hanging belay. Going from scrambling about on Boulder Mountain placing gear to actually placing gear while climbing and rigging an anchor is a whole different ball game, but my crew were awesome and cruised it.

Evening Entertainment


SMART 10Saturday evening entertainment was... entertaining!

"What I’ll take away from the weekend is how creative climbers can get when the bar is expensive" - Singh Anvir (Strathclyde University)

After Gregor Gray's, 'A Risky Business', talk about his encounter with a loose block and his recovery since (great talk), everyone broke for some dinner. Some fuel and beer later everyone descended on the lecture theatre for a talk by the two most important people of the weekend, Robert and Calum from ClimbScotland ;).

Our talk 'Growing up is optional', about the main things we have learnt from climbing, included some funny photos and video and some scary stories, and went down pretty well, but we didn't want to bore everyone for too long so we ended it with a climbing pub quiz with beer for prizes. What's not to love?

The evening continued into the bar where many a game was suggested, all of which I thought were stupid and ridiculous, but in the spirit of 'Growing up is optional' tried them anyway. I have some severe inner thigh bruising to show for my efforts on the table traverse!

I'm not even going to try and explain what happened here >



Brilliant weekend. Awesome climbing, fun sessions, cool people and some games. Can't wait for next year. Cheers guys!

Thank you to Mountaineering Scotland, Association of Mountaineering Instructors, Glenmore Lodge and Herald & Times Group for supporting this weekend and making it all happen.

Massive thank you to our glorious leader, Heather Morning, for organising and running everything. Great success, well done Heather.

Biggest thanks to all the students who came to the weekend, for making it so much fun for all of us there. And to the student clubs who support these events and get all these awesome people climbing.

SMART 12Round off with some photos from the weekend :)


  • Ignas Cyvas. Trying to locate Loch Morlich on the map.
  • Bottle stretch, by Ignas Cyvas.
  • Compass, by Mackenzie Blair
  • Climbing the corner, by Harry Mulligan
  • Into the corrie, by Oonagh Thin
  • Climber contortionists, by Lyla Moncrieff
  • With the casualty, by Chris Brown
  • Who won the toss!, by Tahnee Mackensen
  • Corrie in the cloud, by Angus Hawkins
  • Are we going in there? By Anna Bushe
  • Through the overhangs at Huntly’s Cave, by Heather Walton
  • Checking the protection, by Jenny Taylor
  • It’s grim out there! By Jenny Taylor

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