The Mighty Coe

Day one of the inaugural Mighty Coe Festival

You’ll have to bare with me as this will be a photo intensive post. Thanks for the contributions from both Scott Johnston and Stevie McKenna. Thanks again guys.

Day one of the Mighty Coe Festival was finally here. I woke in the car to a pink glow on Buachaille Etive Mòr. And once I’d finished and published the morning video post for the event, I boiled up a coffee and took in the sunrise that was happening in the east.

Sunrise through pine trees
Dawn making an appearance through the pines

What is The Mighty Coe Festival? Well, it’s a new festival of skiing, snowboarding and the Scottish backcountry. There you can discover new kit, new skills and snow sport adventure. as well as on snow activities, you can enjoy, on-hill music, food and drink as well as a film night on the opening night of the rebuilt cafe.

Activities would include backcountry courses and The Planks Super Jam in The Mighty Freestyle Park.

Scott, thanks for your photos
Collette and myself at the festival village
Ailsa checking out the skis on show
Collette’s first time skiing in Scotland

Of the many courses on offer over the weekend, I was luck enough to take part in a tester of Wandering Workshops Guided Backcountry Tours.

Run by three-time Olympic snowboarder, Lesley McKenna and photographer, Hannah Bailey. Wandering Workshops aims to provide a safe space for people to try splitboarding or ski touring for the first time or get more comfortable in the backcountry, whilst also taking part in a photography workshop and meaning-making adventure. 

We started with the basics of avalanche and mountain safety, getting to know the equipment and discussed the tour planning process. Hannah and Lesley also helped to bring some perspective to the surroundings, encouraging us to share our thoughts and the meaning this environment had to us, both in words and visuals.

Wandering Workshops introduction with Lesley McKenna and Hannah Bailey. Photo ©Stevie McKenna.
Myself and Cat taking notes sand listening intently. Photo ©Stevie McKenna.

I had the most amazing, mindful, introspective touring experience with Wandering Workshops and can’t recommend them highly enough for a different backcountry experience. It was very different from your average tour. Very thoughtful and inspiring.

Transitioning for the uphill. Photo ©Stevie McKenna.
Sharing stories is one of the best parts of activities like this. Photo ©Stevie McKenna.
Splitboarder in Scotland
Skins on. Photo ©Stevie McKenna.

I don’t think you get many better locations, to reflect and discuss the landscape you are traveling through. We talked about the lines and creases in the landscape. The corners that are physical in the land and more figuratively in our lives.

Movin’ on up. Photo ©Stevie McKenna.
ski touring and splitboarding in scotland
Skinning up and practicing kick turns. Photo ©Scott Johnston.

The technical aspects of touring were taught also. I was lifting my feet too much. A hangover from using snowshoes I think. I have to get used to shuffling my feet forward, letting the skins do their thing in the snow. Kick turns would also require I worked more on my poise sticking that rear leg out like a figure skater, keeping my weight over the downhill split ski.

Lesley and Cat leading the way. Photo ©Scott Johnston.
Splitboarding in Scotland
Not a bad location for a classroom. Photo ©Scott Johnston.
Olympic medal winner Billy Morgan

Second Olympian of the day, Billy Morgan stopped by at the summit. He’d be giving a chat to festival goers later in the day.

Planks had sponsored the freestyle competition, which took place in the Mighty Freestyle park.

There was freestyle action in the Planks park too. Photo ©Scott Johnston.
A small section of the tented village with lots of hardware to try. Photo ©Scott Johnston

There was a bit of a crossover with another interest of mine as Lauren from Protect Our Winters UK spoke with the audience. Letting them know about the good work being done to combat climate change. Something that everyone there has a vested interest in.

It’s great to see the organisers of The Mighty Coe supporting great causes like POW UK, helping to empower the outdoor community to act and protect the places we live.

Lauren from Protect Our Winters UK spreads the word.

The crowd were then treated to a movie night before shifting into apres mode. It was great to see the smiling faces enjoying the newly opened cafe/bar at Glencoe Mountain.

Had to keep a clear head however as I had another day of the festival to cover tomorrow!