Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Olympic rings bid for ski slope at Hillend

Hillend dry ski slope (Artist's impression)
Hillend dry ski slope is due to be refurbished in 2012

Midlothian's Provost wants huge Olympic rings mounted on the side of a Pentland Hill beside Britain's longest dry ski slope.

Adam Montgomery has written a letter to Games chief Lord Sebastian Coe offering to host the Olympic rings at Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend.

The rings would be visible from Edinburgh, West Lothian, Fife and East Lothian as well as from planes.

Plans to erect the rings on Edinburgh Castle were thrown out last month.

In the letter, Provost Montgomery has invited Olympic organisers to fix the Games insignia on top of Hillend, which is one of the highest points in Midlothian.

Provost Adam Montgomery said: "Snowsports enthusiasts and the thousands of people who see Hillend on a daily basis will also be eagerly awaiting the response this invitation.

"The Olympic rings at Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend would further raise the profile of this nationally important facility.

"The history of Olympians training at the centre, including Olympic skiers Finlay Mickel and Alain Baxter, make this site so suitable.

"This would be a great way to celebrate the recently announced £500,000 developments at the centre.

"If the invitation were to receive a positive response we would then look at the logistics of bringing this internationally recognised symbol to the slopes."

It comes as the ski slope is set to have a £500,000 revamp including an extra 210 metre piste and a new nursery slope.

It will also have new, safer ski matting at its existing nursery slope, snowtubing runs and two new lifts.

Sportscotland, the national agency for sport, has provided the funding.

The centre had been threatened with closure after Midlothian Council said it could no longer afford to fund it.

However earlier this year Sportscotland and the Scottish government stepped in with £1m of funding to secure the site's future.

The fight to save the centre, also known as the Hillend ski slope, was the focus of an internet campaign supported by more than 27,000 people.

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