Looking forward to the clubhouse on Lowther Hill
Funding applications were submitted to funders in October 2016. We hope 2017 will be the year when snowsports enthusiasts in the South of Scotland start enjoying the comfort of a ski lodge on Lowther Hill.
Those who have been following our progress will remember that one of the first things we did when we started in the 2014/15 season was to sort out Planning permission for a clubhouse on Lowther Hill. The work needed to organise Planning and funding matters is lengthy and onerous, so we got the paperwork started straight away to ensure we would get a suitable, fit-for-purpose shelter on the hill as soon as possible.
Our original Planning application was swiftly approved, and in spring 2015 we put a portacabin on the hill as a temporary clubhouse thanks to a kind donation by Dumfries business Clarks Tracks. We started raising funds towards the building by organising a summer cycling event, the much praised Lowther Hills Sportive.
As we were about to begin the tortuous journey of grant funding, the ski club was offered a unique opportunity to acquire a snow groomer at a price we could afford. The chance to get the piste basher a few years before planned was too good to be missed, so we went back to Planning with an amended application for a larger building which included a garage for the groomer.
A larger building obviously meant a lot more things to consider, organise, and fund. Over the following year hundreds of hours of club work were invested into planning a bigger and better clubhouse -while ensuring that the club could afford it- including working closely with potential funders to tick all the boxes and elaborate a successful proposal.
In the meantime, of course, hundreds of hours of hard work were also taking place on the hill too!
In October 2016 all the required paperwork including over a hundred of pages of supporting documents were finally submitted to two different funders.
The two funding applications are currently being processed. We are now awaiting a hopefully positive outcome to reach us before summer 2017, in a view to have the ski lodge built before the end of the year.
These are very exciting times for Lowther Hills. The clubhouse is the club's key development. For the past three years we have been operating on the open hillside without shelter or comfort from the weather, which has severely restricted accessibility as well as the number of days we were able to open. Our equipment is scattered across several residential properties in the village, causing huge logistical constraints. We could go on and on, but in short: Lowther Hills is the only winter skiing operation in Scotland without a building.
The clubhouse will finally make snowsports on Lowther Hill accessible for all. It will allow to open the tows more regularly, increasing the capacity and the quality of the facilities. Operations will become more efficient thanks to the storage space for slope maintenance equipment. And finally, we'll be able to start developing talent by getting more people into snowsports.
So, thank you everybody for your support over the past years. To the hundreds of Lowther Hills Ski Club members who support skiing in the south of Scotland with their annual membership. To the enthusiastic members who have already started to donate furniture and building materials for the new clubhouse. To those who have already donated towards the snowgroomer that will find a new home in the Lowther Hill building. To the more than a hundred volunteers that since 2014 have made Lowther Hills Scotland's largest volunteer-based ski development since the creation of Scotland's first ski centre (Glencoe) by the Scottish Ski Club in the 1950s. We are indebted to all our fantastic volunteers, club members, and our local community in Leadhills and Wanlockhead for their support of our work to make the Lowther Hills the mountain playground of the south of Scotland.