Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Monday, 23 March 2015

Spring snow in Scotland

This winter one of my goals has been to improve my skiing. I've learnt to ski in the last year, but I'm not totally sure what I'm doing well, and what I'm doing badly. 

Contemplating the steep drop into the back Corries at Nevis!

Nico's drop in

To me this is steep terrain!!
Therefore it seemed logical to get some good instruction. I'd read lots of positive stuff about Off Piste Performance and their course in Scotland seemed like a great idea to try and move my skills forward. 

Nico shredding the Corrie

Gillian leading the way

A break in the back Corries, the Braveheart Chair was running, which is rare I'm told
Wow!! What an amazing 2 days skiing in Scotland! The weather was great, which was a bonus, but going on this course is the best decision I could have made. We spent the first day at the Nevis Range, basking in the sun working on piste before dropping into the back Corries (exhilarating/terrifying!) to work on other skills on the slightly steeper and more varied terrain. 

Glen Coe

Sunday at Glencoe was equally fun/amazing, and included some great skiing 'playing' with the varied terrain. I have learnt so much from Gillian and this course, and feel my understanding of skiing, and my 'tool box' of skills has massively improved/expanded. I'd recommend it to any skier/mountaineer who wants to improve their skiing ability, and help them get out into the mountains. I write this with 2 heavy tired legs, but still a smile on my face. 

Checking the views (it was meant to be bad weather)

Dropping into Spring time

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A tad windy on the Walna Scar road

Today's weather forecasts promised a great improvement after midday, including a lowering of the high wind speed and even sunshine, so with this in mind I decided to head on one of the highest mountain bike routes I know in the Lake District. 

Grey and windy on Coniston Water
The Walna Scar road is a rough track (old road) built to link Coniston to the Duddon Valley and provide access to the old slate quarries on both sides. Its a pretty high and exposed route (600m) and courted controversy a good few years back when it was closed to motorised vehicles/4x4's (but this doesn't seem to stop dirt bikers!). 

The famous Walna Scar road
When I set off the wind speeds were very high even in the valley. I cycled past Torver alongside Coniston Water and dawdled thinking its going to be hard work battling the wind high up. As I got off the road and onto the rough track beyond the high car park luckily the wind didn't seem too problematic. 

Still a long way to go
Its a beautiful ride as you gradually gain height (I admit I had to push a good few bits), with fantastic views of the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag. Even though I'm sure I've been over it before on my bike I couldn't remember it, and it went on for much further (and higher) than I thought! 

Sensible sheep sheltering in the old mine ruins (I was too!)
As I reached the top/pass there were some old snow patches, but I didn't linger as the wind was fierce! Dropping steeply down towards the Duddon Valley I had to lean about 45 degree's into the wind so I wasn't blown off the track. 

Playing in the sunny forest
It got more pleasant as I turned South off the Walna Scar road at the old mine workings and spoil heaps to take the brilliant bridleway to the forests that start at Natty Bridge, where finally the sun came out and I enjoyed the views, and last half an hour sheltered from the earlier wind.