A great start to this winter’s skiing!

Jon Mellor and Alan Mitcham managed some great skiing on Monday 29th November. Storm Arwen brought damaging winds to the northeast and also persistent heavy snow. Tan Hill hit the news when 50 people were trapped in England’s highest pub. Not far away, the Durham Dales, above Weardale, were getting the benefit of the same snow. Conditions on Bolt’s Law were as good as they ever get in November. The strong winds had blown lots of snow into the tracks and hollows, so we had mostly continuous good snow without having to flounder in the heather.

Jon was out on his skis the previous day. First Loiper out skiing in the Pennines this winter (beating usual suspects John Dark and Tim Elliott)! He proposed an early start from near Stanhope – from there we drove in his 4WD vehicle near to the chimneys on the Stanhope-Blanchland road. It was still below freezing.

One hour later we were on the top of Bolt’s Law and stopped for coffee and a photo by the trig point. Then we took a circular route out to the west above Rookhope, eventually swinging around to the top of Bolt’s Law Incline and thence alongside the old wagonway and across to rejoin our outward route. The sun was breaking through the cloud for the last half hour as we headed down towards the car.

We skied about 8km in 2.5 hours, both of us on Nordic touring skis with fishscales (non-waxing bases). The snow was still quite cold and fresh – waxing skis would probably have worked better and given more glide especially on the downhill.

Neil and David set out later in the day skiing from Allenheads towards Kilhope Law – but failed to reach the summit – possibly because the snow was then starting to warm up, or because David had a technical problem with his skis!