11 things I learned while night skiing in the Campsie Fells
Having looked out at the bright and sunny weather all day, a night ski tour in the Campsie fells seeemed like the perfect evening adventure.
11 things I discovered on a night ski in the Campsie Fells
1) The British Backcountry Facebook group is great. I already knew it as a good resource for finding routes and asking about kit, but it turns out it is a brilliant place to buddy up with other skiers.
I needed a ski touring pal and with hubby G not available I put a message in the group. Several people said they were planning a night ski tour – and I recognised Magda as someone I had randomly met while walking a Corbett more than a year ago.
She is from Milngavie and was inspired to join me for a short tour to Lecket Hill from Crow Road (B822) above Lennoxtown.
2) The Campsies felt a bit like the Alps. When I turned up in my van at the roadside (there were plenty of safe parking options) I was greeted by a voice saying hello. It was Kirsty, who I know through my tri club.
Then Magda came along and a couple of other people parked nearby and as we all got our kit on to prepare for the ski, the chat made me feel part of a new community of Campsie Fell skiers.
It’s the sort of atmosphere I’ve enjoyed in the Alps and other ski mountain areas but never before in Central Scotland.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had enough snow every winter so that pre and post-work skiing became a thing we “just do”?
3) I found that Magda is fit and a good person to climb a hill on skis with. She managed to chat and ski uphill while I wondered if I would be able to keep up.
She is also a confident hill walker and together we were happy to navigate our way to the top of Lecket Hill in the dark.
4) The white of the snow made the hill seem much brighter at night. We didn’t need our head torches until close to the summit cairn. (The cairn is tiny!).
5) It’s a very small world. On our way uphill, we stopped to chat to a couple who were removing the skins from their skis for a descent. It turned out I have met the man before, once at my friend Ellen’s wedding a long time ago and, more recently, when hubby G and I skied to Earl’s Seat.
Ollie and his partner had chatted to us about skiing and walking on Earl’s Seat but it was only after we skied off that he worked out the connection with me – and his second cousin Ellen.
As we chatted on the snowy slope last night, we talked about his mum, Ellen’s cousin, and where we had met before.
6) There was powder snow. While there were some areas of hard-packed and icy snow, most of the Campsie Fells were covered in the lightest and best snow I have experienced in Scotland for years.
We even found a slope of the most deliciously light, powder dry snow and we whooped as we cut creamy ski turns through it.
7) There are always a few hazards on a Scottish ski tour. I was grateful that someone had reminded me to look out for a fence on the descent. I almost skied right into the barbed wire at the top of the fence. The fence was mostly covered by deep snow and the barbed wire was at ankle height.
8) Skiing by headtorch light is wonderful. You can see only the snow created by your beam and you need to trust that what is ahead will be okay. It felt like I was skiing in my own wee magical world. On this occasion, we became braver the more fluffy snow we discovered until…
9) … we suddenly skied into a burn. We had to take out skis off to cross the water and icy rocks. Straight afterwards, Magda then stepped into another snow-covered burn almost to her waist.
10) There was so much snow that we were able to ski back to our vehicles along the side of the road. It reminded me of foreign ski trips again.
11) Short can be so sweet for a night ski tour. It wasn’t a long outing but it felt just right for a post-work adventure on a cold night.