On letting ourselves be specialists

Clio et cetera

Last Sunday I was back in teacher mode again. I was not a teacher of history, however, but a teacher of winter walking. On a university hillwalking club trip, I took a group up y Gribin on Glyder Fawr, a simple ‘Grade 1’ scramble (think easy rock climb), though it was banked out in snow and plastered in ice making it a rather harder challenge than normal. I had with me several experienced walkers, though several novices, some of whom had never been in the snow or used an ice axe before. As we headed up, I taught a novice as we went how to kick steps, hold an ice axe and arrest a slip. It was a fantastic day out, not least because I could see, as we descended from the summit, that the novice was kicking good steps, holding her axe in the uphill hand and moving with…

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