4.30pm and I was frantically swiping my card against the reader to get out of work and get to my car. The forecast was looking good and I wanted to beat the Bank Holiday traffic heading North. Thinking this was feasible was my first error, having a car with only one music cd in was my second. One coffee stop, 6 hours and a lot of repeated songs later, I pulled up to Mike’s house in Kirkcaldy. I hastily wolfed down some food that had been saved for me, looked at some maps and websites and made a plan before crashing into bed.

Early bird catches the snow worm
Early bird catches the snow worm

Arriving at the carpark at 8.30 am on Saturday morning, we donned skins and racedup to find we could have fresh tracks down our choice of routes. We opted to start with Y Gully, skiing down to Loch Avon. Eyeing up Pinnacle Gully, we decided to skin up and make that our next objective, only to see people enjoying the first lines down that on our way up. We quickly changed plans and headed for Castlegates Gully in the hope of being first down there.

Looking down the icy steeps of Castlegate Gully
Tentitively eyeing up the intial steeps of Castlegates

On arrival it looked a little hard/icy, but we set off in hope of skiable snow somewhere in it’s depths. Side sliding and only able to put two turns in before the base we were relieved to find that as the gully widened at it’s base, so too did the deep fresh soft snow come. Not the most amazing ski from the top, but well worth it for the turns at the bottom.

 

Powder at the bottom of Castlegates Gully
Enjoying the powder and turns after the endless ice in the gully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick lunch stop and the skins were on again and we headed for my goal, Aladdin’s Couloir in Corie an t’Sneachda. Although not first down it, we enjoyed plenty of virgin snow and turns before being spat out of the bottom at pace.

Enjoying the powder turns in Aladdin's Couloir
Powder turns in the afternoon sun in Sneachda

We spent the next hour eyeing future objectives and assessing cornices for another weekend hit sometime soon.

Coire an t'Sneachda
Tracks out of Alladin’s on the left and lines for future visits to the right…

Heading back in the car and with some time to reflect, it’s funny to think that the winter season ended in Wengen a couple of weeks ago and yet here we were enjoying some of the best snow and awesome lines that I’d had all winter. All it took was a little bit of driving and a thirst for some adventure. Maybe it’s partly because when climbing in Sneachda a few years back, I had never envisaged that these things could be skied, now here I was, skiing them and boy were they fun.

In the week since, Britain seems to have been in the grasp of some sort of heatwave overdue from the last few summers. That and a need to earn some pennies has put a halt to more Sottish Spring adventures but still, seems the snow has returned to Switzerland now, so one more week of being a slave to the wage and Spring touring and early alpine climbs can begin. Boring jobs and guidebooks make for a very long ‘to do’ list…….

Thanks for the photos and company Mike Birkby.