Yad Moss: Decent snow cover but Arctic conditions hit Yad Moss !

  Posted by Stuart on 12/02/2009 @ 18:16
Resort / Country: Yad Moss, UK - England | Visited 5199 times
We had been down to Alston and drove past Yad Moss in January but as it was windy and overcast we decided to leave the boards in the car roof box and go for lunch at the Angel Inn at Alston instead.
Since visiting one of Englands other "Ski resorts" ,Raise before Xmas I had become quite interested in the other areas that offer snowsports in the North of England. We have been down to Allenheads, drove past Swinhope and heard about Harwood. The drive from Dumfries down to Yad Moss is a short 65 Miles, with most of the journey being on the A75 or M74 and with not a great deal of traffic about it takes us around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
So with Craig dropped off at his nursery this morning Jill and I set out for the North Pennines....
We had light snow falling from Brampton and when we got to Alston and onto the B6277 road over the moors it became quite heavy. There were decent drifts at the roadside and it was easy to see that there had been significant snowfall in the area over the past couple of weeks. I had phoned up yesterday and was told the lift would probably not start turning until a bit later than usual as there was a bit of maintenance work to be done beforehand. We parked at the side of the road just after 10.30am and after getting our gear together we set out on the short walk up to the lift. Its 40 metres in height that has to be gained over a distance of about 250m from the road to the lift but its ideal for getting warmed up.
Arrived at the ticket office and paid £15 each for our day tickets which were handed out by friendly local volunteers. By now there were around 40-50 people snowboarding and skiing on the fell and from the top of the relatively fast poma lift it was easy to see all the way down to the bottom. Had a couple of nice easy runs down and we were met with packed powder, some scraped hard areas,a few windswept bare areas and some nice powder pockets, in other words over a run of about 700m we had a bit of everything.
The Poma lift is 560m in length and the uplift track was in fine condition, the tow travels pretty quickly and at the top there are a variety of runs down from either side.
We had about 4 or 5 runs then headed to the daylodge to eat our packed lunch and open the thermos flask. This is a modern building where underneath houses the two Kassbohrer Piste bashers and up above there are toilet facilities and a heated area with tables and seats where you can escape the outside elements and eat your packed lunch.
It was great to sit in here, looking out towards the tow and watching skiers and boarders being transported back to the top for another run. We listened to people chatting and heard a couple of older gentlemen talk about Skiing in the 60s,70s and 80s in the Pennines, in the old days the tows would be running virtually every weekend from January through to April...times have changed but at least us "younger ones" should be able to look back on an epic Winter/Spring that was 2008/9.
When Jill and I did venture back outsde the weather had certainly deteriorated....visibility had certainly got worse and the wind speed had increased a fair bit. Being hardy Scots we headed back to the Poma for another drag to the top. This time the uplift track had changed, the wind was blowing hard from the South, there were fresh little snowdrifts and driving snow was making it difficult to open the eyes. By the time we reached the top it was certainly like the worst Scottish Highland conditions if not quite an Arctic whiteout.
Had a slow windswept run back to the bottom of the lift where we only had to look at each other once and the easy decision was made to call it a day.
We rode back down to the roadside and in a short time we were back in the warmth of the car, kit packed away and heading back North.
We maybe only had a couple of hours on the snow and maybe the weather was not the kindest but I still had a good feeling as we drove back though the lovely market town of Alston and back towards the Scottish border.
It was certainly no Glencoe or Cairngorm but it was a friendly place that had a good feel about it and is run by good hearted, friendly people who do a damn fine job and who deserve good snow to blow onto their Fells from now until late Spring.
Looking forward to going back....but maybe as I get older I will plan my next day when the sun makes an appearance.Click to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full image
Comments (1)  
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 Bods (13/02/2009 @ 11:21)
Excellent report Stuart - looks cracking up there - one place that I want to say I've ridden at in the near future. Very near future...
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