Some eighteen members were milling about at Chisholm’s Bridge on a grey Sunday morning rubbing their eyes, quite unable to believe the blanket of snow. For once we could avoid the slog up the track and skin from our vehicles. The ease of access certainly impressed the new members.
For some three kilometres we went like a crocodile’s tail past the picture-postcard pinewood and into the broader reaches of Gleann nam Fiadh, and then up and to the west of Allt a’ Choire Odhar, a great snow-holding burn. A disparity of fitness manifested itself on the skin up, one member talking casually of cycling 250km every week, another recovering from a wine-soaked evening, and so two distinct groups began to materialise.
The wind rose and it started to snow from the southwest. The leading group disappeared into the mist, and by all accounts they had a great ski and board, though in challenging and, by now, white-out conditions. The smaller group of Jan, Monika, Sonya, Howard, and myself reached about 900 metres and turned for home. Goggled against the driving snow and skiing blind, we nonetheless encountered some fantastic snow conditions.
Jan and Monika went down in graceful curves whilst one of our party on telemarks regularly catapulted himself into drifts. Loose bindings were suspected. Duly tightened he put in some stylist turns that almost caused an outbreak of tele-envy among the alpinistas. Almost. The final three kilometres pole-planting schuss to the cars will be long remembered.
By Mike Cawthorne.