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Glencoe moving into summer mode

Posted 16 March 2012
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Glencoe moving into summer mode
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Over the winter months, Glencoe is in some ways a harsh place, with a number of avalanche-prone mountains and a sense of threat and foreboding as the towering crags of mountains like Buachaille Etive Mor appear even more intimidating.

However, there is also the matter of the Glencoe Ski Resort and although this technically lies outside the valley by the A82 across from King's House and Rannoch Moor, it is an obvious Mecca for ski enthusiasts.

But when the snow has gone and the ski goggles can be packed away for a few months, the ski resort does not go to sleep. The financial survival of Scotland's winter resorts has dictated that they need to innovate and using the mountains for mountain biking and other activities in the summer months is one solution, perhaps best exemplified at the Nevis Range resort on Aonach Mor.

There, the Gondola cable car not only carries people up to the top station so skiers can catch lifts to the snowy slopes above, but also so they can hurtle down the world championship-level mountain bike trail below as it plunges into the Leanachan Forest.

In its latest email, management at the Glencoe resort on the side of Meall a' Bhuiridh commented: "Further snowmelt over this week has left the hill looking more like you would expect in mid May not mid March."

Despite this, it added, there are some sports where skiing can still be enjoyed. But soon enough, mountain biking and archery will be the main facilities on offer at the resort.

And while this keeps the pennies rolling in, the disappearance of snow may lure a few more hikers with their walking boots. Meall a' Bhuiridh is a Munro of 3,615 ft and baggers can tick it off the list on a hike that also includes its 3,609 ft neighbour Creise.

With other Munros including Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach, Beinn Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh - the last two linked by the vertigo-inducing Aonach Eagach ridge - the end of the snow will herald a large increase in the number of climbers adding to their tally.