"I’d always said I didn’t like slippy places and had done my best to avoid going on the hills in snow. However, when a friend suggested it would make sense to learn some winter skills if only to extend the summer season a bit at both ends I decided to give it a go and we booked a 2 day trip with Gary. Gary has the knack of getting people to do things they’d never imagined they could do and this trip was no exception. By the end of it I was much more confident, at ease with crampons and ice axe, no longer worrying about slipping and thoroughly enjoying myself. In fact it was slightly annoying that the slope on which we practised sliding wasn’t slippy enough. I also realised that it can be much easier to get about on snow than to toil over boggy and heathery ground. And of course the hills look wonderful in the snow. So, as Gary had predicted, like most people who decide to give winter hills a try I’m converted now and looking forward to another trip next year. Thank you Gary."
Kath, February 2014, 2 day winter skills course
"Thank you Gary, for another great trip walking the Scottish hills.This was our third and they’ve all been excellent. Gary chooses interesting routes and combinations of hills to get the maximum out of each day, often suggesting something more challenging than you thought you were capable of. For instance, on my first day I asked to climb Carn Mor Dearg. Once he’d assessed what I could do he suggested carrying on along the arete to Ben Nevis – a wonderful day. We’ve had several other memorable days since such as the long June day spent on Braeriach, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Toul. The weather wasn’t so kind on the last trip, but it was fascinating to watch Gary navigate to all the summits in thick mist.We’ll be back again next May, for a couple of cycling days as well as hill-walking."
Kath, October 2013, 3 days Munro guiding
"Hi Gary. A brilliant day many thanks for the comments I will never forget a perfect day on the Ben; however no matter what range of mountains we looked at from the summit my eyes always landed on one Bidean Nan Bian and I remember vividly a very different day. A day of high winds and horizontal rain when we fought our way up and over Bidean and its Munroes to escape down the gulley leading to hidden valley.Not one bruise or cut from my little tumbly gambol on the way down unbelievable.A great guided walk and good beer at tyhe end super I feel I know the Ben a lot better now and will build my fitness back up. Cheers Roger"
Roger Bullock, September 2013, Ben Nevis
"Hi Gary,Thank you from all of us for looking after us so well and making it a truly memorable couple of days in the mountains. I think we're all agreed it was our best weekend yet - we wouldn't have trusted ourselves to go out in Friday's conditions, nor would we have risked going up on the Breariach ridge, so your skills really made a real difference for us.The photos you took and put on your blog are absolutely stunning - the one of us on the peak with our arms in the air is one to treasure. I'm sure we'll be booking you again in future... you've really given us a taste for developing some more winter skills."
Patrick Bossert group, April 2013, Winter 2 days guiding
"I really enjoyed my 2 day winter skills course. Gary - you were very knowledgeable, patient and had a great calmness about you that helped me to relax when I felt nervous. Your company was good too. Thank you"
Michelle Galloway, February 2013, 2 days winter skills
"Wow another fantastic time in Scotland. Gary your the man. Brilliant. Was blown away with the scenery and the climbs..... People the winter is not over yet, there is still plenty of snow and lots of fun to be had in the Cairngorms. And if yd gonna go then Gary is yr man. Awesome. Have Defo got to get another trip in before the snow goes. ...... Don't think about it. Do it ......."
Jim Needham, February 2013, winter guiding
"Just finished a fantastic winter skills weekend- not much in the way of views but plenty of winter weather! Gary was clear in his instructions, cheerful and very willing to share his huge knowledge of winter skills and the Cairngorm Mountains. Highly recommended- thanks Gary!"
Alan West, February 2013, 2 days winter skills
"Enjoyed an excellent Snow- Holing and Winter Skills course with Gary. I cant thank or recommend Gary at Tarmachan enough, cant wait for the next adventure, thanks"
Neil Beresford, January 2013, Snow hole/winter skills course
"Gary was a fantastic guide and great company for Ben Nevis - would recommend him an instant!"
Mark Wallace January 2013, winter skills/Ben Nevis
"A fantastic day going up Carn Mor Dearg in poor weather. Gary got me up there safely in time to do the Arete and Ben Nevis. The only problem was that you couldn't see Ben Nevis. There will be a next time when the weather is better and I'm not so fat. :-)"
Forbes Hamilton, November 2012, winter guiding
"We had an epic day starting with Ben Macdui and a blizzard before dropping down to the loch side and being rewarded with stunning landscape. Despite extremely adverse weather, we felt very safe in Gary's capable hands. Thanks for a wonderful day."
Rosa, Angharad & Clare, October 2012, winter guiding
"Thank you Garry so much, me and David had an experience of a life time! Thankyou for the memories, you were absaloutly brilliant.hope to get together soon for another day out."
Robin & David, October 2012 Ben Nevis
"Had a brilliant day up Ben Nevis, guided by Gary. He suggested the Ledge route up the North face, which was more interesting than the standard tourist route up. It was challenging but surprisingly do-able and enjoyable for two people who hadn't done much of that kind of climbing before! We had easterly winds blowing 40 mph gusts inconsistently over the narrow ridge scramble, but with a temporary motto of "don't look down" and Gary's guidance and calming confidence, we made it to the plateau and then onto the summit! Gary was a brilliant guide for the day and we are so pleased we took his advice and went on the Ledge Route. Will definitely be recommending him to others and consider doing a winter course with him.Thank you very much Gary!!"
Pete and Jo, October 2012, Ben Nevis, Ledge Route
"Gary was my guide on my 1st attempt to climb Ben Nevis on the 25/8/12 and I must say he made the journey from Dublin worthwhile.We met at 9am and he simply said "Are you up for a challenge,game for a bit of exertion,and like to avoid the crowds?" What do propose was my reply and he advised driving around to the north side of the mountain to start our ascent by a safe but doable route.Three and half hours later we were at the summit after a great climb with lots of chat and occasional rests. Gary took me along the ledge route whilst ensuring safety and great views.We did some scrambling which for me was the highlight of the day.It was only at the top that we met the crowds who had in the main travelled the "toutist route".We made our decent for a period on the tourist route before diverting away to make it back to the car.The combination of Gary's knowledge of the mountain geography and sensible approach to safety made me feel I had got value for my day and had "climbed Ben Nevis"."
Frank Ormsby, September 2012, Ben Nevis, Ledge Route
"Thank you Gary for a wonderful TMB in July 2012. Our favorite memories are the laughs and Fenetre d'Arpette (what a spectacular view!)"
Michel and Dominique, July 2012, TMB, Alps
"We had a great day in May with Gary , we came off of the Pony track after about an hour and headed for the CMD arete. Gary made us all feel very at ease with his knowledge of the mountain.Will most certainly be heading back up to scotland to attempt the summit in winter conditions! Thanks Gary"
Stuart Hill group, June 2012, Ben Nevis, CMD
"Gary.On behalf of me and the other guys, thanks for a superb day on Ben Nevis.So glad you suggested the North Face scramble too.Your enthusiasm and the knowledge that you passed on to us as we walked was more than we could have hoped for.Regards.Si Owen and "The Splinter Group"."
Si Owen, May 2012, Ledge Route, Ben Nevis
"We had a great day with Gary. Apart from being a top guide, he was really good company. Couldn't recommend him higher (so to speak!)"
Neil Gray, May 2012, Ben Nevis
"I spent a weekend organised by Tarmachan Mountaineering doing a winter skills course and climbing on the Aonach Eagach. I fully enjoyed my weekend and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn some climbing or simply get outdoors; guided by very experienced people I felt safe all the way through. Thank you!"
Raffaella, March 2012, Glencoe guiding
"Gary, thank you for two thoroughly enjoyable days up on the hills. Your unassuming nature and quiet confidence, decision to take groups that know each other (rather than packing as many people on each trip as possible), and thorough knowledge of the area and mountain guiding skills - meant that our group had a great first-experience of learning winter skills. We're keen to get out and practice what we learnt, and expect we might be 'knocking at your door' again next season to improve our navigation skills, and to build on what we have already learnt."
Helen, Dominique, Janet & Ann, February 2012, winter skills
"I spent two days with gary a few days after christmas on the first day the wind was so strong it nearly blew me off my feet the rain was coming in sideways thats all i have to say about that day , 24 hours later things got better, the wind stopped blowing the rain stopped raining the snow fell overnight and it got colder perfect. I had no previous experience of winter walking until gary taught me some winter skills he was very professional experiencied and knowledgeable about the area we were in the north face of ben nevishe was very strict about safety ,made sure I understood the danger of walking on snow and ice i enjoyed learning to walk with crampons on ice , using the axe for safety , gary gave me the confidence to walk up a mountain in winter conditions , I recommend stepping outside your comfort zone take a walk with gary ,your not alonethanks for a great day paul"
Paul Campbell, December 2011, winter skills
"Hi Gary,thanks for guiding me up Ben Nevis on the 15th.I really enjoyed the walk and without your professional guidance it was not possible to try out crampons, ice axe and moreover to return safely from the top amid brief snow/blizzard spell! Many thanks once again and for the photos too!"
Yasuko, December 2011, Ben Nevis
"Hi Gary,Just wanted to say a quick thanks for taking us out this weekend. We both really enjoyed ourselves and learnt so much in our two days on the mountain. I now feel far more confident in taking to the mountains in the snow and can't wait to get some crampons of my own to do some more routes over the Xmas holidays! Hopefully we'll be able to come back next year to have a go at one of those gullies! Thanks again"
Tom Black, December 2011, winter skills
"Hi Gary,Love the pictures on your Blog they really capture the day. Glad we did the Ledge route it was brilliant !!! The CMD Arete was just breath taking as well, it was a fantastic day and we are still buzzing from the experience!!.Once again a big thank you for your guidance you were superb !! it made it a lasting memory of our fist Scottish Mountains and Munro,s.Best RegardsAndy and Gill Verden."
Tom Andy Veren, September 2011, Ben Nevis, CMD & Ledge Route
"Gary was our guide on a walking tour for Walkaboutscotland this summer. We were so very fortunate to have him lead our group. He's extremely knowledgeable and safety concious as well as kind, flexible and fun to be with! When we return to Scotland, we will definitely be planning a trip with Gary."
Beth and John Benham, August 2011, Highland Walking Week Tour
"Just to say thanks for everything in facilitating our bagging of Ben Nevis! Was a truly great and memorable day for us. Couldn’t have done it without you!"
Giulia Attard Montalto, July 2011, Ben Nevis
"I spent a most enjoyable day recently with Gary Hogsdon, lead guide at Tarmachan Mountaineering. Gary guided me up Ben Nevis via the North Face Ledge Route and down via the CMD Arete. Gary's mix of expert knowledge and calm nature turned something a bit terrifying into an absolute joy. No matter what your skill level, I’m sure Tarmachan Mountaineering has an adventure suitable for you and your friends too."
Michael Gray, June 2011, Ledge Route & CMD , Ben Nevis
"Fantastic day! On 29 March Gary guided us safely to the summit of Ben Nevis; we'd never have made it on our own... A fine early spring day in the valley, by 800m the temperature was below freezing, it was snowing and we couldn't see the path.Is the back of Gary's hand a strange magical map? He guided us slowly and securely to the top, then showed us around, and began our descent by bottom sliding down a couple of hundred metres.My knees played up on the downward trek, but Gary (and Gabe) patiently encouraged me in a sometimes painfully slow descent down the path. But what a sense of achievement for the day! Thanks, Gary, for your patience and wonderful mountain skills. Shame the pub wasn't open on our return, though."
Malcolm & Gabe Stewart, March 2011, Ben Nevis
*"I had a most fantastic day on April 21, walking the CMD approach to Ben Nevis, with a great guide, Gary, who explains a lot of interesting things in the scenery and seems to know every stone on the way by name. He shows a deep passion for the landscape there, so profound, it's almost contagious. Luckily, the weather was very much on my side (as Gary doesn't care much about weather :-)), and after going back on the "tourist path", I found myself very satisfied to have chosen the "alternative" route: Great views onto the north face, a spectacular "1000 peaks view" from the Arete, and the start of the walk leads through a picturesque birch forest. And just after all this you can reward yourself with a fantastic Cairngorm brew at the Nevis Inn. A great event to remember when I'll be sitting in my office again. Surely will look up more of Gary's trips as I've tasted mountain blood...Very nice service that Gary takes photos and sends them by email.5 out of 5 stars ****"
Sylvia van der Horst, GERMANY, April 2011, CMD Ben Nevis
"Hi Gary,Many thanks for a superb insight in to winter skills.I thoroughly enjoyed the course.Your professionalism and friendly nature ensured I had a brilliant and thrilling experience and acquired many skills for my future adventures.It was fantastic to be with a guide who knew his job so well, allowing me to enjoy the route and engage with the experience.Wow!All the best and many thanks for the photographs you sent.Cheers Paul and Jo."
Paul and Jo, March 2011, winter skills
"Hi Gary,Thank you so much for a great day out climbing up Ben Nevis last Wednesday. I'm glad you and Tom encouraged me to veer off the path for the last 2 hours of the climb. You were very patient and made me feel very safe as I was quite nervous using the ice axe and crampons for the first time, but it was such good fun. It was very clear that mountaineering was your passion, and what a great way it is to make a living.Perhaps we'll try the North Face next time - we'll be in touch!! All the best, Melissa"
Melissa &Tom Marston, February 2011, Ben Nevis
"Hi Gary,Just a quick note to say a big thank you for the fantastic two days Winter Skills course.After a break of over twenty years from doing serious snowy stuff, you've given me the confidence to go back up again in full winter conditions.The whole course was really well delivered - I found the avalanche assessment particularly interesting and certainly very useful as I'd never considered it properly before.Your very detailed and intimate knowledge of the mountains, the climbing routes and the environment obviously stems from a deep love of the area.Thanks again, and enjoy the rest of this winter you lucky so and so!Best wishes,Bob"
Bob Collier group, February 2011, winter skills
"A fantastic day out learning winter skills in wonderful snow conditions. We learned loads from Gary who was very clear, informative & patient. We would thoroughly recommend him. Our day out has opened up many new opportunities for us for winter walking. Many thanks!"
Debbie & Ali Matthews, February 2011, winter skills
"Thanks for a great day out on The Ben Gary.Never having used ice axe & crampons before it was reassuring to have such an easy going & knowledgaqble guide.Gave me the confidence to tackle a few more hills by myself.Cheers Hope to walk with you again."
Dave Hoare, January 2011, Ben Nevis
"Hi Gary just like to take this opportunity to thank you for your guidance and patience over the last few days, both days were excellent but it's hard to beat the north face of the Ben. Looking forward to next outing.Cheers Ali"
Ali Wilkinson, January 2011, winter guiding
"Hiya Garry just leaving a message to thank you again for a great 2 days on your Winter Skills course. It was an amazing time and your expertise and easy going attitude made the course all the better. I wholeheartedly recommend your excellent courses to anyone who is considering using you and believe I learnt more in 2 days that I would have done on a weeks course in large groups. Your knowledge of the mountains and skill in your role makes you a first class instructor. Good luck with in the future and I look forward to getting up on the hills with you again in the future."
Ric Glynne-Owen, January 200, winter skills
"Just a quick email to say thank you very much for the great day out on theledge route on Ben Nevis 30/10/10, it was a top day out. Me and mark bothenjoyed it immensely, and were grateful for your patience and guiding. Iwould not have been able to tackle a route like that on my own, andespecially when responsible for other people. My navigational skill are notwhat they were, and weren't that great then!"
Steve King, October 2010, Ben Nevis, Ledge Route
"Hi Gary,Really enjoyed my day out on Aonach Beag & Mor with you last week - despite the weather! Looking forward to December, with hopefully some clear blue sky and lots of snow up the Ben.Will definitely come back for the Aonach Eagach in fine weather! Cheers, Rachel"
Rachel, October 2010, guided Munros
"Hi GaryThanks for another great day out on the hills. The weather was outstanding and once again your knowledge of the mountains and surroundings was great.Definitely recommend.See you in the winter.Anil"
Anil Sharma, September 2010, CMD Ben Nevis
"Many thanks for a wonderful couple of days! Your knowledge and love of the outdoors is obvious and certainly rubbed off on us (Terry asking santa for a book on wild flowers!)Once again many thanks for you time and patience... We even tried, with success to navigate up a couple of hills in Glencoe today, no'one around except a herd of deer and a mountain hare! Would highly reccomend this guy for a navigation course and look forward to seeing him again for a winter skills course! Many thanks, Liz & Terry"
Liz & Terry, September 2010, mountain skills
"Hi Gary, love the photos and the story of our day. I have to inform you that this was in fact the highlight of our walking and I would do that day again. The scenery was spectacular and well worth the effort. Perhaps I would just turn the thermastat up a bit!!! I want to thank you Gary for being such a supportive, interesting, positive and fun guide. Would do it all again and hope to at some stage in the future. Leanne"
Leanne & Graham, September 2010, Cairngorms guiding
"Thanks for a great day Gary and I'm glad you had more faith in my abilities than I had! I wasn't at all sure at the time but I'm very glad we took the Arete option now. Tough but well worth while. Your thorough knowledge of the conditions and the area instilled a confidence that I would not have had otherwise. Thanks again."
Malcolm Watson, September 2010, CMD Ben Nevis
"MANY THANKS Gary for an amazing day out on the Ben Nevis arete. Your knowledge of the route made me feel comfortable & re-assured. Your humour made the whole day so relaxed & enjoyable too!I will definitely be back this summer, and will be recommending your services to all 'The Summiteers' back home. Cheers!"
Paul Tait, September 2010, CMD Ben Nevis
"Thank you for another superb day walking the Artemis Quadrathlon route, this time with my team mate Paul. You are great company, and an inspiring/ motivating/ highly knowlegable guide for the day: you clearly absolutely love what you do, and are a great "peoples person" and it shines through. We loved the day and look forward to coming on another route with you soon. Can not recommend you highly enough."
Simon Read, May 2010, Navigation & challenge training
"A very big Thank You to Gary for guiding me up Ben Nevis last saturday it was a fantastic day with great conditions and as well as being a very good guide and very knowlegable about the surroundings Gary was also great company and i would highly recommend him. I hope to see you later this year for a winter skills course. Once again MANY THANKS GARY."
Glenn Seymour, May 2010, Ben Nevis
"Thank you for a superb guided walk of the Artemis Kindrochit Quadrathlon route, a wonderful day one of the best walks we have ever done and we could not have hoped for a better guide. I cannot recommend you to others highly enough: you went out of your way to make the day really great: we had fun, learnt a great deal and will be returning in a month.. a terrific birthday celebration for louise! Many thanks, and 5 star recommendation.Simon and Louise."
Simon and Louise Read, April 2010, Navigation course
"Thank you Gary for our guided winter walk at Ben Nevis...what an Amazing day! We haven't pushed ourselves that hard for a while and we thoroughly enjoyed the challenge! Your experience and skills are outstanding, however, your positive attitude and warm personality made our experience an even more memorable one!Thanks again Gary, hope to see you in the SummerLou & Jo"
Louise Scullion, April 2010, Ben Nevis
"Hi Gary.Thank you for an exellent 5 days of training, top notch instructor and to be be highly recomended,I have learned a great deal on a 1 to 1 basis.Good company good instructor what more can I sayTake care.Charlie Currie"
Charlie Currie, February 2010, winter guiding
"Thanks for a great day day out!Everyone enjoyed 'pushing their limits' on the winter skills weekend.It was smiles all round as we headed off home tired but very happy ! Hi Gary,We've both been telling everyone what a great time we had and that you are a really good instructor. Thank you for a really enjoyable couple of days. We're planning on coming up again this time next year to do the north face of Ben Nevis with you, or something a bit less challenging."
John Roberts, February 2010, winter skills
"Hi GaryJust to say a big thank you. We had a fantastic, informative andexciting couple of days. Your knowledge, professionalism andencouragement has boosted our confidence and raised our aspirations inthe mountains."
Linda & Chris, February 2010, winter skills
"Initially I was worried that I would hold Neil back andthat he could get more from it but you managed to adapt it so that weboth felt challenged but completely safe at all times"
Amanda & Neil, February 2010, winter skills
"We had an amazing weekend with Gary in Scotland, we learned loads of essential skills and had great fun. The conditions were not great, but it did not dampen the day. Gary is a fantastic guide, I'm going back next year"
Emily & Group, 2 day winter skills, Feb 2010
"2 day winter skills, March 2010What a valuable day! Having had mountain experience I thought the winter skills day might be a little dull, but I was so wrong! Every 5 minutes we were taught a new skill to make life easier/safer/more enjoyable. The summit and views were an added bonus to a stellar first day in the Scottish Highlands."
Ryan, March 2010, Winter skills & CMD Ben Nevis
"Cheers Gary, I had a really good day learning winter skills and preparing for the CMD Arete and Ben Nevis climb from the North Face. Was really pleased that you and Ian as our guides managed to balance professionalism, safety and fun all the way"
Nick S. Brecon. 2 day winter skills, March 2010
"Hello Gary.Thanks for the picure, and most of all, thanks for all the support you gave me!You gave me the most entertaining time I could have with all that snow!Lots of Kisses, Cintia"
Cintia, Brazil. 4 day winter skills, Dec 2009