Monday, 22 February 2010

A grand day out

At the end of last week I was privileged to have a free day to be able to go skiing at one of Scotland's ski areas, namely Glenshee.

Glenshee offers the largest ski lift system in the United Kingdom; with about forty kilometres of pisted runs spread over three valleys and four mountains, the main mountain being Cairnwell, taking it's name from the Gaelic for "Hill of bags".

On the Thursday evening I loaded up my van with all the necessary, but cumbersome, ski gear, and headed for my friends house in Newport-on-Tay near Dundee. The plan was to stay with Louise that night and then travel together the following morning in her car to the ski area.

The drive to her house takes only about one and a half hours, and I arrived at roughly 7.15pm.
Dinner was taken care of as Louise served up a delicious venison curry, courtesy of our mutual friend Vince. We washed this down with a bottle and a half of some lovely Chilean red wine.

The morning was bright and crisp and we headed out around 7.30. It is only just over an hour to the ski centre, via Blairgowrie, but we took a bit longer in order to pick up ski hire for Louise, but we still made it in good time, arriving at the centre by 9am.

The mountains were magnificent, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.
It was very cold and though the runs were well groomed, some were scraped and polished in the centre and had thus turned to ice. I cared not a jot, and barreled down them quite happily. It had been a while since I had skied , but on such perfectly smooth runs, in very little time the skills returned. We both certainly made good use of our £25 day ticket, reluctant to stop, even for lunch.

By late morning it was clouding over. When we were in the sun there was mostly definitely warmth in its rays, but once it passed behind the clouds it was bitterly cold, and required us to pull our buffs over our chins and nose.
Undeterred we packed in as many runs as our reserves of energy would allow, skiing to the bottom, and straight onto the uplift again, there being no queues. I wondered just how chaotic the weekend would turn out to be with the glorious forecast prediction.

By mid afternoon we had had our fill, and happily packed up to head home, ahead of the crowds.
We stopped at a delightful place on the riverbank in Blairgowrie for coffee, called Cargill's Restaurant. The menu looked terrific for an evening meal there, and maybe one day I shall return to do just that. On this occasion we were contented to tuck into cream scones and coffee. I felt I must tell you about this gastronomic moment, as many of my readers are amused that my writings at some point always mention food! Having owned a deli many years ago it remains a passion of mine.

Picking up my van once we reached Louise's home, I drove the sixty miles back to Edinburgh, and was back home by 6pm, exhausted but very happy.

What a grand day out.

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