SkiBike Tour 2009-10 - The Lecht

Posted: Monday, 11 January 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Giant icicles at Tomintoul
In Aviemore town the day started promisingly, it was bright and clear and almost mild, but Cairngorm range is 8 miles away and the base station is half way up the hill. I drove along the access road, stopping near Coylumbridge to give a lift to a boarder waiting for the bus. He had spent a week with his buddies on the slopes and partying hard. Around the vicinity of Loch Morlich traffic ground to a halt, news filtered back that the access road had been filled in with wind blown snow overnight. The snowplough was attempting to clear a passage through the access road. 30 minutes passed, then news arrived that even if the road opened, the funicular railway was likely to be snowed under for the day.

Luckily, I had plan B up my sleeve and returned to International Starters.

The Lecht was open and around an hours drive away, I set off immediately and drove North along A95 passing the enigmatically named Boat of Garten and turning on to the A939 near Speybridge.

Around Tomintoul I paused as diggers filled an immense container with snow from the High Street. Another  longer wait was necessary by Blairnamarrow where the snow gates remained closed whilst the snow plough cleared a path.

Although visibility had been good on the road, the slight elevation at the Lecht was enough to seriously reduce visibility. The wind blew steadily at around 30mph. I decided that having come this far I would go for it regardless and use the opportunity to hone my Extra Sensory Perception skills. There were only a handful of  runs available so I took it very calmly and for the most part had to feel the change of incline through my feet! I worked at fall line skibiking with lots of short radius turns, in the brief spells of better visibility I explored what where the limits of drifting.

As the light faded around 4pm I repacked the car and headed back to Aviemore. The day had been somewhat disappointing, but I had bagged another of Scotlands ski centres and the only one open that day.

Waiting for the snow plough at Blairnamarrow