Waiting for Winter
Summer has been and gone, and it has been one of the least active in years. Other than my Hebridean trip and the very odd excursion out, I’ve been city bound for a while now. And it’s killing me.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I don’t keep a car, so spontaneous trips are few and far between. It usually involves some kind of organisation, and on top of work commitments over recent weekends it has been even harder.
Visiting my parents at their home, my dad informed me that the air filter on their car had been clogging. They were not running it enough. Could I take it for a lengthy spin? I was asked, of course. There had been some snow recently and maybe a chance for more. Nothing to get excited about, but enough to warrant a little photo excursion and a hike over the weekend. Initially I was thinking Torridon, but Glencoe was more manageable for a weekend trip, so I decided to take a wee hike up Meall a’ Bhuiridh (Glencoe Mountain Resort) and see how things were coming along.
I was in the car park at the ski centre late morning and started the walk up under the chairlift. The chairs themselves had been removed for maintenance so it was a bit weird looking at the empty cable hanging above.
It was a beautiful day, no sign of fresh snow falling after all, but as I ascended the icy path the ground soon became peppered with the previous days snow.
I took the foot path towards the Craig Dubh peak and the ground below became a bit more consistently covered with snow. Not deep, but it was a cosmetic covering, making the landscape sparkle in the sunlight.
I looked across the frozen ponds of water towards the Buachaille. The large face of the mountain lit in relief from the low winter sun.
I spent a bit of time here, getting shots of the mountain and the ski area in particular.
I descended the Craig Dubh summit and crossed the plateau to check out the new chairlift being built. The towers are in place but top and bottom stations have yet to be completed. The access road under the towers made the hike up to the top tower pretty easy. There was a shallow covering of snow all the way up. It looked like the mountain hares were also making use of the track judging by the footprints.
I arrived at the location of the future top station positioned above the corner of Mugs Alley. When completed, this chair will provide access, especially late in the season, when the Plateau has lost cover. Instead of having to walk up to the Cliffhanger chair, the new chairlift will give access to the top of the mountain later in the year. This should allow more people to take advantage of the top of the mountain which often has snow right up till May.
I made my way back down the mountain, this time taking advantage of the red downhill track. A long and winding road, with less chance of slipping on ice, unlike the more direct route under the access chair.
The evening and following day stayed cold so I’m hoping this will bode well for the up coming season and bring healthy visitor numbers for the centre. I canna wait…’mon the snow!