Trip report courtesy of Rachel Thomas.
This year, for one day only, the Glenuaig trip lived up to its name. We skied powder and drank Champagne (well, Prosecco).
We travelled from all over Scotland and descended on Glenuaig lodge on Friday night. The last of us arrived in the dark and just in time for a steak pie feast prepared by Alan! The weather forecast had been changing all week but the final report rumoured it would snow over night. Hopeful and well fed, we headed to bed to prepare for an early start.
Over night our dreams came true and we woke up to fresh snow to the door of the lodge! Admittedly not enough to skin or ski from the door enough to get us very excited. We got ready and at 8am we left the hut. Most of us headed up towards Sgurr a Chaorachain while Fiona, Mhairi and Sarah went for a snowy walk up Maoile Lunndaidh.
We carried our skis down to the river, across a bridge and up to the shoulder of Sgurr a Chaorachain where we transitioned to skinning. As we carved fresh tracks in the snow, the sun appeared over the mountain and we were treated to broken spectres and fog bows. While we skinned up the shoulder, we had great views of the lines we planned to ski and plotted our route.
On our way to the summit we split into two groups. Katie and Alan stayed in the bowl, where they skied down to Lochan Gaineamhach and almost all the way to the lodge!? Alan impressed us all with his determination to ski as far as he could, even after the snow ran out! Apparently the best heather ski technique is to just go straight.
Led by Dave Anderson; the king of Scottish gullies, the rest of us headed towards Bidean an Eoin Dearg, where we skied 4 different lines. As we skinned along the ridge, the clouds filled in the glens below creating very atmospheric views of the mountains around. We could even see over to the snow covered Cuillins and inner Hebrides!
The first line we skied was off the North West side of Bidean. The drop-in to the line was very steep and icy at the top and the snow was a mixture of soft powder on an icy but grippy base. We chose a variety of different lines down and the snow in the bowl at the bottom was wonderful fun. Whoops and cheers (mostly from Nick) could be heard across the glen.
Next we skied a line between the two summits with a more Northerly aspect. The snow was so good here we decided to ski it twice! Though admittedly more rocky than expected at the bottom and our skis and boards took a bit of a battering!
Finally, we went to back to the summit and skied from here all the way to Lochan Gaineamhach. The snow was beautiful for the top 2/3 and then we did some adventure skiing through rocks and over (or into, Al) burns until the lochan. Here we transitioned again and skinned back towards the lodge. We skinned as far as we could across the snowy bog before caving in and carrying our skis the rest of the way. As we came over the shoulder we could see the welcoming lights of the lodge in the distance and we walked/stumbled our way back, only needing head torches for the final 20 minutes.
We had another evening of feasting and merriment; drinking Prosecco and eating a three course meal of venison stew, macaroni cheese and cheese cake!
The next day we woke up to 60mph gusts battering the lodge. Some of us opted for a lie in, baths and coffee while others battled the wind and rain outside. They wandered up the glen, one river crossing at a time and returned an hour later drenched but cheerful. The rest of the day was spent peacefully inside with an impromptu yoga class and a fierce but hilarious game of monopoly where Alan was successfully selling streets for £700 (Needless to say Alan was victorious)! Later in the day some of us braved a swim/splash in the river outside which was quicker for some than others. Xav and Lisa put myself and Al to shame by making it look like a nice swim on a summers day while we briefly splashed in the water before running against the wind back to the lodge. On Sunday afternoon, we said goodbye to Fiona, Katie and Mhairi and settled down to another evening of feasting. After dinner we curled up by the fire; drinking whisky and playing cards late into the night.
On Monday, we woke up with the intention of packing up and heading out of the glen early.. only the weather seemed too nice and the chance to have another ski seemed like an opportunity not to miss! The heavy rain from the day before had melted away all of the fresh snow but undeterred, myself, Lisa and Nick trudged through the bog all the way up the shoulder to the summit. Instead of a transition to skins under blue skis, we changed from shoes to ski boots while sheltering from the wind behind a rock. Once on the summit, we found the summit gully down and skied as far as we could, linking up the snow patches and skiing over the burns, laughing and whooping along the way. Then, after the long walk back to the hut, we had one last cup of tea before waiting for our 4×4 lift out!
Yet again, another fantastic club trip in a beautiful location with wonderful company. This time we were even treated by the elusive Scottish powder – here one day, gone the next!