The last patch of snow on the slopes at Lowther Hill finally melted last weekend (picture taken a couple of weeks ago). It has been a good season with 30 days of operations and about 90 days of snow on the hill. If you haven't already, do check the Snow Report section on our website, or our facebook and twitter to see a few videos and photos of the past season. Worth checking also this enthusiastic mention of Lowther Hills as one of "Europe's best-kept secret ski resorts in 2018". All this is happening thanks to your support, members, friends, and followers. And of course special thanks to our hard working volunteers who keep the lifts and the club running.
Spring is that time of the year where there is a fair bit of admin and tidying up work going on in the background. We are still dealing with the end-of-season paperwork, but have -mostly- finished the biannual, time consuming, packing up and shuffling, organising, reshuffling and reorganising of all the ski club equipment from one location to the other. As the club doesn't have yet a lease to build a clubhouse on the hill, we continue relying on the generosity of our many supporters in Leadhills and Wanlockhead for our storage needs. To all of you who have or had given us some space in your garage, attic, shed, driveway or bedroom, our most sincere thank you.
Clubhouse updateUnfortunately there has been insufficient progress on the lease with Hopetoun estate. As you know, this has a knock on effect on practically every other ski club project, including current club resources.
Over the past year we have been liaising regularly with the funders to ensure we don't lose the funding for the building as a result of not having a lease. Several days had to be spent updating some grant paperwork, but we remain grateful for the understanding shown so far by the funders concerning our situation. We are also thankful to our very patient builder, as we had initially booked him to start construction in Autumn last year, and then again, unsuccessfully, in April this year.
Besides our ongoing communication with our supportive local representatives and MSPs, the Scottish Land Commission has also been made aware of some of the issues which have prevented sustainable progress at Lowther Hill over the past decade. We understand the estate has now a better understanding of the aspirations of the local community, and therefore we are confident that purposeful discussions regarding the lease will be progressed in the months ahead. We'll keep you posted.
Trees for the Lowther HillsAs part of wider community-led plans in Leadhills and Wanlockhead for the environmental regeneration of the area, Lowther Hills Ski Club has received a donation of 1,000 native trees from The Conservation Volunteers.
While in the past the estate hasn't given us permission to plant trees on the ski slopes and clubhouse area, we continue pressing the landowner to allow environmental and landscaping improvements within the ski club's proposed leased area.
In the meantime, we have donated 700 of those trees to other community groups in Leadhills and Wanlockhead, which have made good use of the trees while we couldn't. We have however kept 300 of the most altitude-resilient trees (Rowans, Aspens, Alders, and Downy Birches) in an improvised tree nursery area at village level and away from the sheep. The plan is to relocate them to Lowther Hill as soon as we are given permission to plant trees on the ski slope and clubhouse area.
More on this to follow in due course, but if you'd like to see more trees on Lowther Hill and you'd be able to help getting more trees, then please do get in touch.