“Scotland – for skiing? Can you ski in Scotland?” People kept asking me the same question again and again, when I told them that we’ll be leaving for a Skitrip to Scotland.
The Scottish Highlands are a hidden, unknown jewel for ski touring and steep skiing. Nobody knows, except the locals and a few other crazy people including myself. There exists even a Scottish Offpiste Skiing book, written by Kenny Biggin about the skiing possibilities at Nevis Range and Ben Nevis. It is offering a great overview what the Terrain has to offer.
But why would you wanna go to Scotland if you have the Alps in front of the door? Good question. Why not?
Ready for a new adventure. So here we go. 8 days time and motivated to climb and ski Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Great Britain and find some other gullies to climb and ski. That was the aim.
The team – Teresa Brenner, skier and friend and Paul Masukowitz, photographer and friend.
Day 1. We arrived in Edinburgh late in the afternoon and it was pooring. Heavy rain but on the way to the Highlands, we had snow. Lots of snow. Seemed like it but it was late in the evening and dark outside. So we started motivated into the next day.
Day 2. A good weather day and this is how a good weather day in Scotland looks like:
We started our day in the Nevis Range ski resort. Unfortunately when we got to the top station, the wind was already blowing very heavy and the visibility high up was poor. So our plan to ski the Back Corries, the so called “Backside of the Nevis Range area” with some colouir skiing had to be cancelled. No visibility and risk of high avalanche danger. Instead we were searching for snow lower down with some success. At least we had some good visibility there…
So no success today. Maybe tomorrow?
Day 3. Rain and wind. Not what we are looking for. We drive in direction of Glen Nevis car park and start hiking to Stob Ban, sitting in the shadow of Ben Nevis. Some classic gully skiing there? The wind is stronger. After an hour hiking in the rain and still not having snow underneath our feet, we turn around, senseless to go further. We would be blown away.
Day 4. More wind and rain. High winds up at Ben Nevis with up to 180km/hour. You wouldn’t want to be up there. Would you? Maybe to try flying without parachute?
So we make it a sightseeing day. Still impressed of what nature has to offer and how many ski touring options there would be. Just nature is against us. Okay. Accepted.
Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognised castles in Scotland, a Scottish icon and one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands. So we have to go there.
It is truly beautiful. Maybe not on this day though. Rain coming sideways. A quick walk around the castle, back in the car and now up for searching Nessie…
We find the Loch Ness Exhibition Center, feels like in the middle of nowhere. Where is Nessie? Won’t find him or her here. A tourist trap? Back to our home in Glen Nevis.
Day 5. Another rainy, windy day. Sucks. So let’s drink Whisky. Now we know how it gets brewed.
Day 6. Oh wonder. The sun? Really? Just the heavy rain has washed the snow away. But what a nice sunny day to start with our hike to Lochan á Choire. We want to climb and ski Raeburn’s Gully. 6km’s of a hike with heavy load on our back and then we finally touch the snow again. We meet 4 Scottish man on the way. “And what have you been doing today?”, we asked. “Oh we’ve been snowholing. Stayed overnight in a snow cornice….” Wow. Impressed. And the guys are impressed that Paul is accompanied by two good-looking ladies. Hahaaa.
By the time we reach the end of the valley, weather has changed and snow is coming from the side. Heavy winds again.
Nevertheless we start climbing Raeburn’s Gully. Snow is “running” down the colouir like a stream. Firm snow for hiking up though. Just some icy parts inbetween…
Wind isn’t gone.
But we are finally out again, climbing and skiing. Feeling how small we are. Nature is definetely stronger.
Happy to have skied some scottish snow again. A quick look back.
Heavy load again. It’s dark until we get back to the car.
Day 7. Another try in the Nevis Range Ski Resort. We want to ski in the Back Corries. Weather today: not too bad. Just, strong winds again. And the fog doesn’t move away. So again no visibility high up. We wait and wait. Still not better. Without visibility and with the heavy winds – no chance. Bad luck for us. We tried but nature was stronger. We give up, pack our stuff and drive to Edinburgh. Not directly though, as the road signs lead us to Ian Burnetts’ Highland chocolatier. Chocolate. Yes! We deserve this right now!
Back in Edinburgh, sightseeing and strolling around in town. Remembering the good times we’ve spent together. We really have been unlucky with the weather but Scotland is definetely worth visiting! We don’t regret anything! Okay, the weather could have been better but that’s the way it is…
I couldn’t have asked for a better team travelling with me! Thanks Teresa and Paul for the memorable time!