24th May forecast was for sunny spells but with chances of hail showers and thunder. Graeme and my self decided to go ahead and hike up the Glencoe ski area after it had closed for the season at the beginning of May.
The start was an early one. I had my gear ready and got the train down to Cardross. My usual boots need repaired and I had to head to mum and dads to pick up my old (but little used) boots from around 2003. Luckily they were ok condition and Graeme picked me up from Cardross and we head up the A82 toward Coe. The weather was fine. It was also bank holiday weekend but traffic was light, until… Pulpit rock. The single track road still had works going on to widen it and the tail back had us waiting for around an hour. Still there was no real rush as there were no lifts to catch.
There was a buzz of activity around Glencoe Mountain Resort as the mountain bike trails were now open and there plenty of paragliders and hang-gliders floating above the car-park.
We started the ascent under the chairlift with packs loaded with boards and the rest of the paraphernalia needed, cameras etc.
Weather was warmer than expected and a sweated and puffed my way up to the plateau are where the going is much easier along the path toward the closed cafe.
We took some photos around the bottom of the Cliffhanger chairlift. We then head over to the foot of “The Wall” where we could follow the snowless path to the summit.
Just as we make the snow line we meet two snowboarders who had the same idea and had just completed their run down “Main Basin” and “The Wall”. I asked how it was and she responded excitedly on how great the snow was.
We continued upward through a mix of soggy hillside and rocky outcrops, a bit further up into “Happy Valley” a path becomes a bit more obvious. This zig-zags all the way to the summit. At the top there was stunning views of Creise, Clach Leathad and beyond to the Ross of Mull and the Atlantic in the distance.
We had a bite to eat then hiked across the summit to the top of “Main Basin” where the lifts hung in silence. We donned helmets, gloves and turned on the Contour camera and started our descent. The snow was wet and slushy as would be expected, but this was great for lazy turns and soggy sprays. We took a short walk back up “Main Basin” then continued down, crossing over to the top of “The Wall”. This being a little steeper was even more fun, and the fact that the sun had come out made this a stunning run, well worth the two-hour hike. Before reaching the bottom we took another short walk up the wall for the final run. I put the camera away so I could enjoy my last few turns even more. Just as the sun went behind the clouds we took our last turns of the day as we ran out of snow.
Well earned turns and smiles at the end of a great day. The walk across the plateau was easy, then we hiked back down under the access chair, not always easy in stiff snowboard boots, but quicker than the hike up. We reached the car park a round six and the sun was shining its spotlight on the surrounding hills.
This was my twelfth snowboarding day of the season and I’m hoping to attempt it again on mid-summer if conditions allow. Make sure you check back for that.
You can watch the short film here.