Pupils from Preston Lodge and North Berwick schools took part in a weekend of ski touring with the Outdoor Learning Service. Driving north on the Friday with 19 degs C having been recorded in Braemar we were ‘optimistic but realistic‘ as to what snow cover we would find for touring in the Cairngorms.
However those that ‘went high’ were rewarded with a world of blue ski, blazing sun and excellent snow above the clouds – on one day at least.
On Saturday we left from the top ski car-park and set out in hope into a thick grey fog.
After skinning up Fiacaille of Corrie Cas for an hour the murk started to thin, and after another hour, and just as we reached the Cairngorm plateau, we broke through to blazing sunshine, a cloudless sky and looked down on the tops of the cloud layer. A perfect cloud inversion.
As we rested and took off the skins the blue sky disappeared and cloud rolled back in just as we left to ski down Corrie Raibert.
Then the blue ski reappeared as we skinned back to the top of Cairngorm.
And the same happened again as we descended into Ciste Mearid and climbed back out to ski back down Corrie Cas! In fact all day we seemed to manage to coincide the great downhill skiing with terrible visibility, and the skinned up hill under a blazing sun! Still a brilliant day, giving these lucky East Lothian school pupils a top intro to ski touring.
They all got to learn new skills and appreciate back-country skiing away from the crowds and in amazing conditions.
The Sunday saw us back on top of Cairngorm, then a great ski down into Corrie Raibert again, linking up the snow patches we had skinned up the day before. After this it was skins on again and we made our way round the back of Corrie Sneachda and Corrie an Lochain. In contrast to the day before though we were ‘in the white’ for all the journey over the plateau.
Each of the team took turns out front and experienced that weird whiteout feeling of no horizon and no way to see if the snow ahead was up, down or flat. Two hours of careful navigation later and we dropped out of the clouds for an excellent spring snow descent down Lurchers gully.
Even the one and a half kms slog back back across heather in boots to the car-park failed to take the smiles off the faces.
Another great day. Given how quickly the white-stuff is going though, unless we get some more snow-fall soon, that will definitely be the last tour of the season from us.
If you are a S4, S5 or S6 pupil, or parent of one and want to participate in next year’s ski touring adventures please contact us. Click here for the gPhotos album of all photos.