Memories of Snow – Sledging and Skiing in Herefordshire   4 comments

Sitting here on a cold and very wet Sunday, my thoughts drift back 3 weeks to a time when the white stuff was all around and there was fun to be had. After a heavy dump of snow on the Friday it was only right and proper that we took the kids out for some sledging.

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

I live in a pretty much countour-less world around my village but a short 20 minute drive takes us to Ewyas Harold on the Welsh border where there is a top-notch sledging site that you can park at the bottom of. Perfectly sculpted, the slope is steep and long enough for some pretty fast rides with a decent run off at the bottom so you don’t come an unfortunate cropper if you run out of control (other than a strategically placed metal water trough for the sheep and cows but that’s by the by). It’s local popularity ensured that the slopes were well polished by the time we got there ensuring some very swift descents

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Needless to say the kids had a great time and so did the adults.

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

A few photos and a nifty little  video below courtesy of my HD Headcam to get the vibe.

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

Alas the camera wasn’t able to capture the highlight of the afternoon. TBF took a ride and headed straight for a ramp that the braver kids had made. She hit it at maximum velocity and bounced a good couple of feet into the air before landing in a most undignified manner in the snow. It was the funniest thing I’d seen in a while and the kids were in hysterics, mainly due to the fact it was so unexpected. She survived the incident without major injury I should add. If only I’d had the camera on.

Ewyas Harold, Sledging

The next day it was time to try some skiing. The weather was pretty dreary and my previous experience of skiing in the Brecon Beacons wasn’t great. Loose unconsolidated snow on heather and tussocks does not make for great downhill skiing. What I needed was close-cropped grass and Hergest Hill possesses plenty so it was off to Kington. You can drive pretty much to the top but I figured the road would be undriveable so I parked up in town with a view to walking or skiing up (I have touring skis and skins to climb hills). Have to admit I felt somewhat conspicuous walking through the town in ski boots with skis strapped to my pack, gathering curious looks as I went. Luckily there was enough snow on the side and middle of the road to ski on so I was able to get the skis off my pack and skin up the narrow road, gaining more quizzical looks as I went. Once on the open hillside  I was in proper touring mode and apart from a few brave sledging souls (the weather was pretty grey and grim) I had Hergest Hill to myself.

Hergest Ridge, Ski Touring, Kington, Gladestry

Passing the usual Monkey Puzzle tree markers on the summit I decided to try and ski down the other side of the long ridge to Gladestry.

Hergest Ridge, Ski Touring, Kington, Gladestry

It was at this point I was reminded that what feels like a hill on foot is not quite the same as a hill on skis. The slopes down to Gladestry were nothing like steep enough for any white knuckle adrenaline and I just gently cruised down, barely putting a turn in. Someone else had been up here on skis and I followed their tracks down. After a brief pause above the village (the final slopes are steep and covered in gorse) I simply retraced my steps back over the top, another gentle and unexciting trundle although it was good to be out on skis.

Hergest Ridge, Ski Touring, Kington, Gladestry

The top section of the road was steep enough for a few turns and little more excitement but there were cars skating around on the lower slopes so I cut across the fields back to Kington. There were some pretty decent little runs across the fields, although the right of way traversed far too many stiles for my liking (I haven’t yet worked out a technique to ski over a stile). Trying to ski down a narrow rutted farm track was an interesting sensation! The last run of the day was the best, a steep private driveway that no-one had cleared gave a nice few turns in some decent powder to finish. In truth there was enough snow on the pavement on Kington to ski on, but I figured trying ski down a narrow pavement next to a busy road probably wasn’t all that smart. Not exactly ski-mountaineering but a fun afternoon out in the snow. Good practice for my proper skiing trip to France the following week

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4 responses to “Memories of Snow – Sledging and Skiing in Herefordshire

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  1. We were supposed to have had another good dumping of snow today, but it’s all coming down as rain……..

    Like

  2. Skiing over stiles? Surely a combination of great speed and a sufficiently big leap? Somebody somewhere must surely have perfected the technique and, if not, I think you’re the man for the job.

    Like

    beatingthebounds

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