By Helen Rennie. This was to be a ‘Member’s Choice’ trip, but nobody sent in any suggestions, so by Friday evening, with no news of a tour, our Facebook page had a few posts asking if a trip was going to take place. Fortunately, we have a very dedicated committee, and in just over an hour Donald had made the decision to head to Fionn Bheinn by Achnasheen with a very civilised departure time of 9.00am.
By the back of 10.00 six of us were at Achnasheen station enjoying the luxury of a covered porch to assemble out kit in and clean heated toilets. Ok guys, might not matter much to you, but for us girls it does make life easier!
We set off with even some blue sky showing!
After just over half an hour of walking we were able to take the skis off our backs…
…and John began his experiment to see if his old straight telemark skins would work on his new alpine touring skis.
Sadly the experiment didn’t last long and our group diminished to five with John returning to buy new skins!
The snow was soft and grippy and with Fiona leading the way were soon making progress and discovering that the forecast of strong winds increasing with height was extremely accurate!
The sun did break through at times though and we were able to get stunning views of Slioch.
As we gained height the grassy tussocks became less pronounced, and the snow more powdery although there were scoured icy areas.
We had originally thought of skiing down the east side and Donald and Fiona approached the summit round the corrie edge to have a look to see what the cover was like.
It was similar to what we had skinned up on and as it was becoming quite a struggle to stay upright in the gusts, we decided to just go back by the way Harry and Rose had approached. Getting the skins off and packed away was challenging to say the least and I don’t think I was the only one that was glad to get the skis back on and head away from the edge.
Just below the summit was grippy ice.
Then we had the joys of beautiful powder.
Before we were engulfed in a near whiteout!
Lower down though the wind dropped, the visibility improved and Harry led us on a twisting course around the tussocks. Great fun!
More lines of snow kept appearing so downwards we continued. Eventually Rose, Fiona and Harry called it a day but Donald and I decided to get right to the gate, although by that time there had been no snow under our skis for quite some distance!
We were back at the cars in less than 5 hours and with all the tussock negotiation had enjoyed at least 5kms of downhill skiing which more than made up for the less than perfect weather and wet kit .
We decided a coffee and a snack would be welcome as we hadn’t really managed to eat much on the mountain, so headed to Ledgowan Lodge hotel – to be greeted by a sign ‘Closed till February’ ! Plan B was hatched – to head to the Garve hotel – only to be greeted with another ‘Closed ‘ sign! However Tarvie Services came to our rescue with great coffee, hot chocolate and chips with cheese, where we all agreed it had been a great day out.
Thanks Donald for making it happen, and hopefully you might have some suggestions for 22nd February 2015 – Club members choice.