Well, after some of the best snow we've had in a long while, this month I ended up going out on a weekend that was positively spring-like. I could have been bivvied in a snow hole at -10 but inevitably spent the snowy week (not very) firmly attached to the boards in order to make the most of what would very likely be the only skiing I'll be doing this season. But; what I did was probably the best Scottish ski touring I'd ever done. My local Ochills had caught a vast amount of snow, with enough wind to blow it into some very useful places.1.5k run with 300m vertical. To be honest, even if I could have got up north I wouldn't have missed this. Compensation for turning 50....The final run. Tree skiing in Scotland is a very rare occurrence as typically the snow only resides where there are no trees. Dropping through birch trees, in a foot of powder, in my local hills is, I suspect, a once in a lifetime experience
It disappeared as fast as it arrived but the weather last weekend was pretty grim so I took a chance on an optimistic forecast for the last weekend in February. And for once the weather delivered. I set off into a cool but fine day, clouds overhead but hints of a nice day in preparation. As usual I had a vague idea of a route but allowed whim to guide me as much as the map. Up through Blairadam, a quick decision to miss out Benarty hill in favour of the Lomonds as the trails showed hints of much drying. The downside was the long push out of Kinesswood and the cloud was down up top. But the trail was amazing - way drier than I'd expected.Still some big snow patches around, even at 300m.
So a fab descent then straight up the flanks of West Lomond. The afternoon was wearing on and most people were away so this often busy place was deserted. Down to Falkland I met a few people finishing their walks but on the way across the Howe of Fife I had the place to myself. On a further whim I decided to find my way a bit more round Ladybank woods. Usually I just burn straight through, just picking up a few bits of singletrack. A bit of nosing found a whole network of single track, perfect in the drying conditions. How had I missed this before?! Road took me to Monimail then up into the hills again, this time the eastern Ochills, the lowest of my favourite bumps.Looking north to the hills of Perthshire. Still a fair bit of snow in evidence but I doubt it will last out the restrictions keeping me away from them. Fair to say a large amount of frustration is in the offing. It's all very well the politicos telling us its nearly over but my naturally conservative (little c!) attitude fully expects this to drag and drag. All the more reason to get out and do normal things, as long as you follow the most important rule - stay the hell away from folk. Funnily enough I tend to do this anyway...
From here it was a fast descent then a bit more road work to Weddersbie forest. I'd thought of stopping here but it was only 6 and a full moon was rising so I figured on my original plan to get to Pitmedden. Typical. It was now dark and as I approached the turn off into the woods, a van which suddenly appeared behind me revealed it self as the Polis. Instant paranoia ensued however I already knew that they weren't remotely interested in people on their own, whatever they were doing, and there lack of a challenge (or in fact any acknowledgment whatsoever) confirmed this. Helicopters also failed to arrive as I ground up the last climb of the day, my way lit by an orange full moon.
My spot was a guess at a place I'd passed by and had a nosy at a few weeks previous. It turned out to be a gem - a level grassy area at the edge of the forest but sheltered in the event of any breeze.Morning world. The dawn chorus had awoken me and its clear the birdies also think its spring as it was deafening. I had a leisurely breakfast then headed home via a fairly usual route out of the forest, picking up a couple of new trails near to Dalqueich.