IBSC Mountain Hut

Hut on Invercauld Estate, grid reference NJ179008.  

Inverness Backcountry Snowsports Club would like to construct and run a mountain hut and we would like you to be involved.  

 

  • A hut in a good location for snowsports
  • High quality with facilities for sleeping
  • Environmentally sound
  • Beneficial to club members and others
  • Open to club members and selected others
  • Can you volunteer some time and expertise?
  • No one site has been chosen although some are under consideration


Over the last year or so, the IBSC Committee has been discussing the idea of a dedicated hut for the Club. Various ideas and visions have been discussed and general agreement has been arrived at.

 

We would like to invite Club members to be involved in a dedicated working group that will take the hut project forward. All are welcome and we know that many of you have relevant skills and experience you can bring to the project.  

 

We have not approached any landowners to date and are mindful of the sensitive nature of any discussions. We therefore propose to approach one landowner in particular to ascertain their views on building a hut and following those discussions, proceed as appropriate.   

 

The Inverness Backcountry Snowsports Club emerged out of the club which was originally the Inverness Nordic Ski Club, and has a long history of running trips around the Highlands for enthusiasts of winter sports beyond the piste.  As the normal snow-line through an average Highland winter has risen, opportunities for cross-country skiing from road / valley floor have diminished, but the club has broadened and adapted.  With the improvements of diverse off-piste snowsports equipment (cheaper, lighter and more effective than previously), the club has evolved to include all different types of winter recreational activities, including ski-touring, ski-mountaineering, telemark-skiing, cross-country skiing, snow-kiting, igloo-camping and splitboarding.  Over the past 5 years, the club has had somewhat of a renaissance, with average annual membership climbing to 100+.

 

The club's calendar is full throughout the winter, with trips scheduled fortnightly, sometimes weekly.  Overnight trips have proved peerless for building community out of those with different ideas/plans for winter days out but a shared passion for wild, winter mountain spaces.  Thus far, the club has visited bothies, mountain huts, hostels, stayed in stalking-lodges and camped with tents and full (heavy) winter gear.  Wonderful experiences, but each has inherent challenges which restrict access to the sports / club to a hard-core, committed few.  The club is thankful to those who have facilitated such adventures, such as the MBA, the CIC Hut, wild camping and the estates which have welcomed us.  As the club member grows, interest in off piste skiing grows and the scene develops, it is felt that a dedicated Club hut is a logical and desirable progression which will allow more people to enjoy the snow and wild spaces whilst being a good example of sympathetic and appropriate accommodation in the mountains.

 

IBSC HUT WORKING GROUP - Please support the Club in developing our hut

 

The success of this venture will depend on how well we, as a club, are able to work together and use the skills that our membership has. We intend to set up a dedicated working group which will take forward the hut proposals and to construction and final opening.  

 

We invite you to volunteer your time for this exciting project. We are welcoming anyone with an interest in the project and in particular, those with skills in the following areas:

  • Project management
  • Experience with estates and landowners
  • Planning
  • Public relations
  • Fundraising and finance
  • Environmental matters and waste management
  • Energy - gas and wind turbines
  • Construction
  • Transportation of materials
  • Legal matters

 

The specifics of the hut to be eventually commissioned will depend largely on the new Scottish Government recreational huts guidance, which has recently been released. But even before the details are pinned down, the focus of the project will be on:

• Exceptional insulation, for ease of heating;
• Environmental sensitivity, so as to preserve the pristine nature of the land and to model best-practice in wilderness hutting;
• Robustness, being able to withstand the worst of the elements in a place which "enjoys" some of the most ferocious weather in Scotland
• Visually subtle, such as to have a design which blends in with the landscape when viewed from above (e.g. turf roof, natural materials etc.) whilst still being findable in case of storms;

 

At this stage, two main strands of design are being considered:

• A modular design, built as pre-produced parts, manufactured elsewhere in the Highlands, driven to the ski area, and helicoptered in, to be assembled over a few days at the site;
• A log building, built from 16-inch round logs harvested from local forestry, built off-site and once again helicoptered in for re-construction in situ.

 

Proposed high-level design specifications: Initial considerations / proposals for design include:

• Gas hobs, for clean cooking in the hut;
• Wood-burning stove, for clean and sustainable heating, drying gear etc;
• Sleeping surfaces for 8-12 people, equipped with blankets;
• All rubbish to be carried out – leave no trace, groups responsible for packing out all litter;
• Environmentally friendly toilet, as easy to maintain as possible, and not polluting surroundings;
• Space for drying ski-touring boot liners, jackets, gloves, skins, equipment etc.;
• Storage space and preparation area for food.  

 

A more detail hut proposal document is being developed and will be available soon.  

 

 

   
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