SkiBike Tour 2009-10 - Glenshee

Posted: Tuesday, 12 January 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

On my last day in Aviemore I was still to be denied access to its slopes as overnight winds and snow had filled the access road in once again; it badly needs a gondola or even a chairlift to run from the snow gates to the base station.
My plan B was to drive South to Glenshee, effectively shaving an hour off my return journey, I set off around 10am enjoyed an awe inspiring journey down the A9 to Pitlochry and arrived at Glenshee just before noon.

There were very high winds and near blizzard conditions, but there were a few gentler runs open for the daring. As I sat on the chairlift I could only see one or two chairs in front, anything more distant seemed to be erased by the blast of powdery snow. Is this what a polar version of Jacob's Ladder would look like? Or was it the 9th circle of hell from Dante's imagination.
Once again I worked on feeling the terrain through my feet and just bumbled around, not really able to build up speed. Once again the mittens came out of the backpack and also goggles too so as not to be blinded by the wind and snow. I snacked on a couple of muesli bars to try and keep my energy up, I managed a few hours before deciding to call it quits and return to the car park.

I opened the tailgate and sat on the back bumper, the wind swirling around me and filling the car with a rime of frost. I took off my boots, socks and mittens to change for dry items out of my bag. Doing this was taking forever, my hands no longer wanted to cooperate, I was feeling drowsy and light headed, I could just curl up and go to sleep where I was..........Frickin Heck hypothermia was setting in.
I forced myself to get into my dry things as fast as I could, chucked the bike in the back and strode as fast as I could to the cafeteria to get some hot chocolate inside me. At the till I could get my hand in my pockets but couldn't grasp the coinage to pay. 15 minutes later normal sensations had returned and I was able to begin the long drive home, I considered stopping nearby, but in the end got as far as Lockerbie before calling it quits.