Lowther Hills

A ski tour from Wanlockhead to Elvanfoot

Waiting out the weather

The day's weather was constantly changing. Better visibility meant better and safer routes.

Into the bowl

Some aspects were wind-loaded, some were stripped bare. Safe and satisfying route choices included ridges and bowls.


Nice snow but poorly defined, Scottish skiing often requires ski by feel. Use the Force, Luke !

Way down

A steep bowl runs out to grass and heather. We ski one at a time to help stay safe.

In the white room

Poor definition but great snow.

Wide open skiing

Many of the leeside aspects were well covered and offered ample route choices.

Burn crossings

What goes down, must go up ... plenty of soggy and precarious crossings of waterways, and not always a snow bridge to help out.

Avalanche crown wall

Standing on the grass above a 2-3 metre depth avalanche crown wall.The avalanche's crown wall was around 600m ASL, and its run-off was hundreds of metres long.

Southern Uplands avalanche

One of the biggest Scottish avalanches I've seen close up.

Avalanche run-off

We estimated he crown wall at 50 metres wide, the run-off went several hundred metres and the 2.5 metre probe didn't touch bottom. Winter travel in the Southern Uplands shouldn't be taken lightly.

After lunch.

After scooby snacks, a rare moment of visibiity to take it all in.

Touring transition

Skins on, skins off, on again, off. The order of the day, the descents were often short, but so thankfully were the climbs.

Which way now

On another col between little tops, choosing the best way to the next waypoint en route.

Lousie Wood Law

The ridge at the eastern end of the Lowther Hills descends gently but it's exposed and the snow cover was thin.

Skiing by headtorch

After dark, and nearing the end of our tour, picking our way through the moist snow en route to the parked car.

Elvanfoot approach

The lights of cars on the M74 motorway near Crawford and Elvanfoot as we approach journey's end.