South of Scotland Ski Club expands with LEADER funding
With thanks to funding from the Lanarkshire LEADER programme, Lowther Hills Ski Club has achieved a key milestone in its development that will allow the social enterprise to grow visitor capacity and meet the recreational needs of local inhabitants both in winter and throughout the year. With a total project cost of £89,000, the LEADER grant award of £49,000 saw the construction of a bespoke mountain lodge that will offer essential year-round shelter for the centre’s visitors as well as much needed storage space for maintenance equipment and machinery. The mountain lodge will serve as a hub for snow sports, mountain biking, hill-walking, roller skiing, paragliding, and a number of sports events such as Lowther Hills Snowball Cycling Sportive and the Scottish Schools Snowsports Association Alpine Series.
Lowther Hills Ski Centre is a community-owned, volunteer based, family friendly club that focusses on promoting winter sports and operates ski tows near to the Lanarkshire village of Leadhills and neighbouring Dumfriesshire’s Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest villages that boast a rich historical curling and skiing heritage. The area’s rich natural, historical and cultural heritage offers visitors an accessible Highland-like experience, close to the Central Belt.
Since its incorporation in 2015, the Club has invested much time and resources resulting in securing financing to support the installation of 1.6 km of snow fencing, and vital maintenance equipment. Complementing this progress, the mountain lodge is seen as a cornerstone for the business’ strategy as a recreational destination which will include a dry ski slope and mountain biking activities.
The LEADER Programme Manager, Kenny Lean said “This project fits well with the Lanarkshire LEADER’s ‘Growing Business Theme’. It complements South Lanarkshire Council’s policy to develop tourism in the Lowther Hills with Leadhills as a place to “…Promote tourism development and outdoor recreational opportunities”. A key element to the successful completion of the project is due to the funding partnership between LEADER and the South Lanarkshire Council Community Benefit Funds, which includes monies generated from the nearby participating Clyde Wind Farm. It is a very interesting enterprise that has demonstrated exciting ambitions for the future, aiming to develop sustainable year-round outdoor recreational facilities as a mountain resort, featuring a dry ski slope, a mountain bike centre and a variety of sports events.