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1 Check the weather forecast before you head out.

2 Plan your route carefully. making sure the difficulty level matches your experience.

3 Take warm, wind and waterproof clothing; several thin layers are better than one thick one.

4 Make sure you break your boots in before heading out onto the hills.

5 Take a map and compass and work out how to use them before you go.

6 Have a survival kit with you: water. energy food, torch, whistle, waterproof matches. survival bag, pocket knife and first aid kit.

7 Tell someone where you’re going and an estimated return time.

8 If a problem does arise. six whistle blasts or torch flashes at night is the distress signal.

9 Treat injuries as best as possible and pinpoint your location on the map before going for help. Dial 999 for mountain rescue.

10 Don’t be afraid to turn back.

snowboarding on the .\'evis range. the Snowgoose. 13.45 Feel in awe at the sight of scores of baggy trousered. stylishly windswept professional snowboarders slurrying down the mountain at a rate of knots.

13.46 Mild delight on realising that said baggy trousered. tousled types can wipe out just as convincingly as me. Snow is a great leveller. 13.47 We start a steady. if stuttery. descent. attempting to ease ourselves gently into a run which is easily 9() degrees steeper than our modest training bump.

13.59 Hit an icy patch . . . with my back. ()on 14.44 So all the bits (keep balanced. bum in. arms out. ankles relaxed. look tip) do go together. Gaining speed. balancing. just . . . wheeeeeeeee! . . . look. look someone take a picture. quick! ()migud.’ ()migud.’ ()migml.’ ()Illfrl (‘()IIII‘()()()()()()/.’ 14.45 The board takes a timely turn and 1 career otit of control into a fence.

14.56 More tips from Iain. Then back up. back on. We both modestly. but more confidently. edge our way down feeling the wind in our face.

the sun in our eyes and satisfying crunch of

swathes cut into the fresh snow. Finally seeing what all the fuss is about. Adrenaline and environment in perfect harmony.

15.33 Reach the foot of the slope. .\'ot bloody. battered or particularly ashamed. just exhausted. Didn’t fall over (too much) and was really. really enjoying it. but time is against us. The lifts are closing and won‘t have time for another run. Another day. Definitely.

One-day snowboarding packages start at £33.50 including equipment, and two hours tuition. Monster Activities, Great Glen Water Park, South Laggan, lnverness-shire PH34 4AE. 01809 501340. www.monsteractivities.com.

The List stayed at the Great Glen Water Park. For accommodation enquiries call 01809 501381 .

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How much good clean outdoor fun can a boy have with only a wild man instructor, a friend and some dangerous looking implements for company? Words: Mark Robertson

onster Activities operates out of the Great Glen Water Park on the shores of Loch ()ich and. while in the summer it‘s mainly water bound. the colder months allow the focus to shift to other diverse attractions.

We kick off the day with a spot of heavy weaponry with tornahawk and knife throwing. Dispensing with the spangly ladies on spinning circular boards. this is a wholly more rugged version of the magician's stalwart. Brute force and enthusiasm count for as much as sleight of hand. So no impaled plumed females: a bit more Geronimo than David C opperfreld.

Then it’s axes down and ropes out for that much celebrated practice of climbing down sheer rock faces . . backwards. I still break into a cold sweat when Blackpool Tower is mentioned in polite company (a haunting childhood _ _ memory). but even this modest 40ft drop can still uPSIde induce a wobbly knee or two. The first time down is no stepping out onto the precipice is truly nerve jangling and the very fact that you‘re encouraged to longer sale rest at a near horizontal angle as you descend makes rty f b it all the more dizzying. As with any hazardous o sport. safety is utmost and. perver‘sely. it is more nerve racking peering over from l()ft away than strapped in. hanging over the edge pe ‘ring down into the abyss (well it's a grassy clearing. but that’s not very rock‘n‘roll is it?) After three or four goes you feel hanging upside down is no longer the sole property of bats.

In stark contrast. we head back to base for a double dose of target sports. Shooting tin cans off of a plank may not be big game hunting in Africa but today there is no more satisfying a sound than the rattle of those cans on the ground. Archery. however. is an altogether more

~ graceful proposition. Once the men-in-tights gags have been dispensed with. this incredibly tactile sport has an oddly therapeutic edge. The boing of the bow string and quiet whup of the arrow thunking home belies a latent power harnessed in such a frail-looking device. The density of foam target is the equivalent of human flesh. Which only reinforces how much you wouldn't like to get in the way.

We never quite get round tojet-skiing. clay pigeon shooting. mountain biking. canoeing. orienteering. windsurfing. water-skiing. rock climbing. fishing and. of course. riding Scotland‘s most fierce white water rapids. But we'll save all that for the summer.

Monster Activities, Great Glen Water Park, South Laggan, Inverness-shire PH34 4AE. 01809 501340. www.monsteractivities.com. The List stayed at the Great Glen Water Park. For enquiries call 01809 501381

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