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All my clients are invited to review their experience of James Orpwood Mountaineering on my Facebook page. Here’s what they have to say...


"I had a fantastic experience doing the weekend winter skills course. James went at our pace and adapted to weather conditions and our existing skills. we benefitted from being in a small group. I've come away feeling confident and equipped to take on some winter hills.

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend that has inspired me endlessly!"

Pippa Lobban, February 2024


"I just went on the 2 day winter skills course provided by James. I found the whole weekend excellent including the weather!

James spent day one introducing slope awareness and avalanche risks, use of ice axe and crampons (and when maybe not to use them...) and we practised all the flavours of ice axe arrests. We continued the avalanche awareness theme in the cafe where I became familar with the circular aspect vs height avalanche risk charts and translated that to which areas on a map might be ones to avoid on any given day.

Day two was spent on navigation skills on the plateau areas around Carn Gorm. Despite James's obvious disappointment at not having 3 metre visibility and a 50 mph cross wind to properly test my navigating skills ( ), we did enough for me to remember long forgotten skills (taking accurate bearings and following them) and learning new ones (using the hill contours a lot more to understand where you are, navigating to a line, box detours and using pacing to estimate distance).

He's a nice guy, he knows his stuff and I can thoroughly recommend his services."

Tim Wynn, February 2024


"Just finished a 2 day winter skills course with James up in the Cairngorms. Great time and learnt lots - basic skills with crampons and ice axe on Day one and putting that into practice on Day 2 along side Nav work and some on Cairngorm and around. James is a lovely guy, he tailored the days to my experience and the weather conditions (- kind of windy on the first day!) and adapted on the go to fit what was needed. Explanations broken down and well made - have lots to practice and play with now! Thanks James!"

Ali Johnston, February 2024


"We had a fantastic day at Cairngorms with James! James is extremely knowledgeable and through in lots of history about the area too. Highly recommend James to anyone, from beginners to experts, James is your man! Thank you James for a brilliant time"

Luke Packer, June 2023


"James was positively encouraging while getting me to the top of Ben Nevis. It was a really fun day and and James is very knowledgeable about the local area and snow buntings Thanks for a great day James Orpwood"

Tammie White, April 2023


"Had an amazing experience with James on Ben Nevis! Lots of wind and snow at the summit and definitely wouldn’t have made it up without him. So thankfully that he helped me conquer this challenge."

Katie Johnson, March 2023


"Completed a one day winter skills course with James in March 2023. James showed us the basics of using crampons and an ice axe, explained what additional equipment is needed for a winter day in the hills and spent plenty of time helping us hone our winter navigation skills. I would highly recommend James Orpwood Mountaineering to anyone looking for guidance in the outdoors!"

Adam Nealis, March 2023


"I've just returned from a 2 day winter skills course in the cairngorms with James and I can't recommend him highly enough. We started day 1 with an excersise in navigation basics, then put this into practice up in the hills where I was tasked with navigating us around for the majority of the day, including walking on a bearing &, pacing. Ending the day with a brew and some avalanche awareness.
Day 2 we used the decent snow in a gulley and followed that to the top of Cairngorm.
along the way we practiced ice axe techniques, crampon use and emergency procedures.
James is knowledgeable, patient and has a nice relaxed & friendly approach when it comes to working. A keen mountaineer at heart and that shows in his training.
100% recommend 5*
Thanks James!"

Ryan Hayes, January 2023


"Todays day on Cairngorm Mountain with James Orpwood , James has been invaluable in my Mountain / Outdoor training over the last year, his guidance has helped me do some things I never thought I would be capable of , he has been patient and encouraging at all times in building my skills and confidence, to lead to some further mountain training, thank you very much James i have enjoyed our time in the hills i wouldn't hesitate to recommend James Orpwood Mountaineering to anyone looking to gain some essential Mountain skills"

Derek Lamb, May 2022


"Had a fantastic day with James on Ben Nevis yesterday. He was patient and encouraging. I must have said “just to that next big rock” 100 times and each time James was there to encourage me when I was ready to call it a day! Cannot thank you enough for helping me get to the top James!"

Michelle Taylor, April 2022


"Excellent weekend learning new skills and to experiencing the Cairngorms in winter. The Winter Skills course provided by James is definitely recommended. James’ easy nature makes learning fun and you do not feel under any pressure if something is difficult. Everything is done at a comfortable pace and in safe conditions to learn and gain confidence. 5 stars and a must for anyone wanting to get out in the mountains during the winter."

Gary Bendell, January 2022


"James led us on a great full day walk on Thursday. He is supremely confident, clearly skilled in mountain craft, very knowledgeable on flora fauna, history and geology and has a pleasant, easy, engaging manner. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company even though we’d never met till today. Our walk was particularly arduous given six hours of mist, rain and high winds but we felt very confident at all times. The hills offer adventure and challenge - even on fine days- but it really is good to know that the guy leading knows the way and works the trails in all weathers. James is that man! Highly recommended."

Judy Banks, July 2021


"I can’t recommend highly enough a day out with James. Not only is he a super chap and a congenial walking companion but his teaching skills are excellent. He breaks down navigational skills into component parts that are easy to understand and practice. When put together, they are a very powerful aid to keeping safe in the mountains. I found some of the walking hard but with James’s calm encouragement I achieved way more than I would have thought possible. I can’t wait to have another day out with him!"

Andrew Doig, June 2021 


"Myself and my friend spent a fantastic day yesterday doing a private Introduction to Navigation course with James. James is very experienced and full of knowledge and he tailored the day perfectly to suit our experience and the weather conditions. He has a relaxed and friendly style of teaching and is very patient. We have loads to go away and practice now and I would recommend James to anyone interested in learning how to navigate safely in the mountains."

Tracey Gill, September 2020


"I attended James’s One Day ‘Introduction to Mountain Navigation’ course along with a friend today. The course was very informative and has given me the confidence to apply the skills I’ve learned, and go hiking myself using a map and compass. James is a wealth of knowledge and has so much patience to explain things until you understand. I highly recommend James Orpwood Mountaineering to beginners, and to those with basic navigation experience to help with their mountain adventures. I’ll definitely be booking further courses once I’ve practiced what I learned today."

Kerry Vass, September 2020


"Great day with James who was extremely patient with me and taught me heaps of mountain navigation skills so I have more confidence. A real nice guy; exercises were well explained and very practical. Additionally we had an amazing day in wonderful weather. Would highly recommend James to anyone wanting to brush up on or learn vital nav or hill walking skills"

Anne Keogh, September 2020


"James is without doubt one of the nicest chaps I have come across and has been an absolute pleasure to spend the last two days with. He listened to all that I sought to achieve in the two days I was with him, and delivered without compromise.

James is the consummate professional who has an evident passion for his job. His knowledge, wisdom and skills will put you at ease instantly. I felt incredibly safe, I trusted him implicitly, and he taught me all the skills I would need to climb a Munro on my own. He is so incredibly patient and it is very clear that he wants to share his knowledge with those he works with to empower them to become independent explorers. I now feel confident, capable and competent to continue my Munro bagging adventures on my own.

There is absolutely no way I would have achieved what I have done in the last two days without James. I would strongly recommend two days with him. One day is all well and good, but when he said to me on the second day that he wanted me to lead the trek it gave me the best opportunity to show him I had learnt what he had taught me. It also allowed me to iron out any mistakes I may have made.

I would without hesitation, recommend James Orpwood to anyone who either wants to bag a Munro, walk up a Corbett, do any form of hillwalking, see the best of Scottish landscapes, see and learn about the local landscape and learn invaluable navigation and mountaineering skills. You will not be disappointed. Thank you so, so much James. I don’t want to explore the rest of the Munro’s on my own, I’d rather go with you!"

Paul Stephen, August 2020


"I asked James to take us somewhere different in Cairngorms but other than that little direction. He came up with a cracking day and I enjoyed it a great deal. I have always found hiring a guide to help in a place like cairngorms is a good idea and after my experience I am sure ill be calling James again in the future. Thanks James."

Mark Neil, August 2020


"Fantastic day navigating across Cairn Gorm under James’s tuition today. We covered a number of aspects of map and compass navigation including pacing, planning a route following contour lines and compass bearings and also slope aspects. I would certainly recommend James to all future clients. Summiting my second Munro and seeing my first mountain hare was definitely a bonus"

Alex Scurrah-Price, July 2020


"James took me and my partner our on an introduction to winter walking day. He was helpful before we got there answering lots of questions and giving us tips about kit and local advice about Aviemore. When we met him he was knowledgable and friendly and tailored the day to suit our level of ability as well as our goals as we particularly wanted to learn winter walking skills including using crampons and ice-axes and staying safe in winter conditions. We had a great day and would recommend James! Great company and great guide."

Freya Wallis, March 2020


"We had two days winter skills course with James this week. We had a great experience of winter walking, even though the first day was tough, wind was strong, snow was quite deep, but we enjoyed it immensely. James’s knowledge of Cairngorm mountains & practice teachings, fulfilled our expectations of this course. Definitely recommend for any one who are looking for learning more about mountaineering."

Aimin Liu, February 2020


"Having just returned from a two day winter skills course I can honestly say if you are thinking of booking a course like this then you won't go wrong with James! He is clearly an expert in the hills, and great company to boot. The course covered all critical skills, crampon footwork and movement, ice axe skills, navigation, weather and route planning, avalanche safety, choosing equipment and so so much more. A great balance of practical and theory as well, after two days of expert (and patient) teaching I feel confident enough in my winter skills to head out alone in such conditions. I should have done this year's ago, so if you're thinking about it, just book it!! many thanks again James, all the best."

Nick Holmes, January 2020


"We had a great day with James battling the weather of the Cairngorms. James was flexible with our plans and ensured we got a lot out of the day despite the conditions! He was super helpful throughout booking and ensured we had all the equipment novices wouldn't have (crampons, ice axes etc). Would highly recommend!"

Ruth Wildman, December 2019


"I had a fantastic day. James really listened to what I wanted to get out of the day and picked the perfect route for me. He helped me brush up on my map reading skills & has a great way of explaining things. James has excellent local knowledge and is a great person to spend time with in the hills. I Wouldn't hesitate to recommend him."

Lee Pope, May 2019


"Great hike to Ben Macdui, excellent tour guide, plenty of knowledge of the area, a pleasure to hike with. We would definately recommend James!"

Jeroen Nieuwenhuis, April 2019


"Friendly, affordable and learnt so much. James made sure the experience was tailored to me and gave me choices en route which made it a really enjoyable experience. James let me take my time to stop and take photos and even took a few for me. Great customer service, advised me over email during the run up to the day to make sure I had all the kit I needed. I had an ace day."

Ruth Davis, February 2019

Thank you!

Photo credit: Christian Howell (Ben Nevis summit).

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