Day 8: 2017/18

Glencoe Mountain resort

The forecast for Glencoe Mountain Resort ran true and the day was cold and dry, maybe just below zero, but warm in the sun. No wind to speak of. Sun shone all day with morning light hitting the East Ridge then moving around the back the mountain during the day.

The snow was hard-packed and wind-packed and good cover across all of the mountain except for the car-park run which has lost its cover.

Loch Ba on Rqnnoch Moor

Fighting fit

So, since my last visit, two weeks before, I’d been experimenting with knee supports of different varieties. Having breakfast of ibuprofen every day and praying my knee would be strong enough to get me back up the hill. The weekend in-between had been stormed off and I was kind of glad in a selfish way. However, on the Friday previous to this visit, I came off my bike when I hit some black ice on my commute to work. I come crashing down on my already injured knee and slid unceremoniously across the entrance to the office, like a fleshy curling stone. Cut and bruised I couldn’t tell if it had been further injured, but Sunday had looked good for most of the week and I had a planned hangover for Saturday morning. So as far as I was concerned Sunday was the day to try out my knee.

state of my knee
Left, my knee after coming off my bike. Middle, the hinged brace I used. Right, my leg after a day on the slopes.

Tiny Tim Takes to the slopes

It was clear on the roads, and I’d left in good time. Arriving at Glencoe Mountain Resort around 8:00am, I strapped on the latest knee support. This one looked medical grade and had hinged support to prevent lateral movement of my gammy knee. Fastening the velcro tight, it felt good and my knee was relatively pain-free.

I got the access chair and on the mountain just before 9:00am.

The access Poma was easy despite a bad leg and I arrived at the top with a little trepidation. I didn’t want to do the Bambi splits on the firm snow.

Taking old mugs Alley down to the Cliffhanger chair, I was at last relieved to feel that I could ride my board. I had a light niggle and wouldn’t be ‘popping’ any ollies just yet, but all was good.

Feeling on top of the world

While the knee was good, it wasn’t100%, I took the lifts to the summit of Meall a’ Bhùiridh,  and went for a faster cruise down Happy Valley.

As always, at Glencoe, the views on a clear day are just stunning. Flying down the runs with the sunlit Buachaille on your left and views towards Ben Nevis ahead. I got several laps in of the main Basin and Happy Valley. The Steeper slopes, I would leave till another day, and besides, the Flypaper was still closed. Since it was hardpack snow, I’d also forget about Etive Glades for the day.

Views to the South The Atlantic beyond

I broke up the summit laps with a walk to the top of the mountain and took in the epic scenery to the South and the West.

With a slight inversion, the clouds poked up between the mountains separating them like 2 dimensional backdrops from a stage production. Far to the West, you could even make out the Atlantic beyond the Isle of Mull.

That went down well

I extended my run down to Mugs Alley via Ski Tow Gully and made a bee-line for the Plateau Cafe for a lunchtime pie and a coffee. It was busy with lots of visitors in good spirits, taking in the sunshine. It really was a cracking Sunday.

Busy at the Plateau Cafe

So once I’d eaten, I joined the Cliffy queue for a run down Mugs Alley and on to the wall T-bar one again for more laps at the top.

There was a really good vibe about the day, talking with fellow T-bar travellers all were having a great day.

Looking ahead

Was really chuffed that my knee held up. It even felt like the day helped as afterward it felt a lot looser. Just need to be careful and build the strength around it.

The latter half of the following week is looking like it will bring cold temperatures and further blizzards. So not sure if I’ll get up the following weekend, but even if I don’t it looks like more snow is on the way.

I’m also still contemplating a last-minute holiday to Europe. It’s been a while and they are getting a ton of snow this season. Record levels by all accounts. We’ll see if I get there.

The Buachaille

Sunshine on Lomondside
The sun strikes Loch Lomondside on the drive home.

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