South Scotland

Storm Desmond setback for Lowther Hills Ski Club

Temporary clubhouse destroyed Image copyright Ross Dolder
Image caption The temporary clubhouse was destroyed during Storm Desmond

A south of Scotland ski club is facing a major setback after its temporary clubhouse was destroyed by Storm Desmond.

The building was damaged on Saturday night when much of the region was hit by strong winds and heavy rain.

Anjo Abelaira, the chairman of Lowther Hills Ski Club, said the hut was used for storage and as a shelter.

Its destruction will affect the number of days the ski tow can be opened on the hill this winter, he added.

He added: "For safety reasons, we will be less inclined to have people skiing on Lowther Hill if the weather forecast is not kind, as there will be no place to shelter in an emergency."

The ski club wants to build permanent snowsport facilities on the Lowther Hill.

The temporary building was donated to the club and installed by volunteers, while they sought funding for a permanent clubhouse.

The club has ambitions to develop the area around Wanlockhead and Leadhills as the outdoor capital of the south of Scotland.

Image copyright Ross Dolder
Image caption The temporary building was put in place by volunteers
Image copyright Ross Dolder
Image caption The Lowther Hills Ski Club wants to build permanent snowsports facilities on the hill

Mr Abelaira said: "Storm Desmond's razing of the building also adds further pressure on our already very tight schedule of works for this season."

He added: "There are many other exciting jobs that we could be doing at the next work party, for example, building the first metres of our brand new, permanent, post and rail snow fencing but we will need to prioritise clearing the debris of the building off the hill first.

"We could also be finalising a number of ongoing admin jobs, including the funding applications for the new clubhouse. Instead, we are currently organising the logistics of removal, storage and disposal of the debris."

He said the set back has galvanised efforts to improve snowsports facilities in the Lowther Hills.

"Our skiing facilities should be able to operate in an extreme weather environment that often sees hurricane force winds and extremely wet and cold conditions," he added.

"It is not the first time that we have suffered weather damage and it will not be the last and we are prepared to deal with it. But the timing of this incident just before the start of the season is particularly disappointing."

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