|Hillend Ski Slope in the shadow of the Pentland Hills|
In an earlier comment, Ruth Blades (Kaye) remembered Hillend Ski Slope. For the likes of David Lines, Bryan Rennie, Norman Stewart and me we were very lucky-in our last year at school (P7) we had the chance of attending skiing lessons. We were incredibly excited. This would be the first occasion that a class from the school had been offered this opportunity. Lothian Regional Council had developed an artificial ski slope-the longest in Europe-on the north facing side of the Pentland Hills.
So, each Friday morning for a term or so, we were transported by bus the mile or two up the road to Hillend from Hunters Tryst School. It was a lovely break from school. Unfortunately, I never took to it at all. Wearing heavy and uncomfortable boots it was a bit of a long trudge up the road from the cabin at the Biggar Road entrance to the artificial slope; the weather was poor and we often ended up soaked; and I could never quite master the skis-they felt awkward and cumbersome. Also, I didn't particularly like the Austrian instructor called Hans. On top of that I never had the 'bottle' for going down the slope from the top-even back then when it was at a more intermediate level. Apart from that, it was fine-boy, what a wimp!
A nice surprise was that someone from The Stair who did take to skiing was Iain Hoffmann. Up until then Iain hadn't previously excelled at sport, but did have 'the bottle' to go down from the top-a bit like his diving where, like 'the old boy' (Ken Hoffmann) he was always happy to throw himself from great heights into water-oops, shouldn't have mentioned Ken Hoffmann-I feel another Ken Hoffmann Being Different story coming on!
|Iain ('Jean-Claude Killy') Hoffmann circa 1969 |
(Photograph, Glasgow Herald)
Iain went on to represent the school in a skiing competition-here's a lovely photograph of him (above) that appeared in the Glasgow Herald newspaper at the time-I don't know how the family became aware of the photograph-perhaps someone got the newspaper at my Aunt Heather's office at work? Anyway, it's captured a lovely moment in time.
Most unfortunately, Iain was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last week-it would seem he's had the condition for years, but it's taken until now to identify it as the slow progressing type-he's being very positive about it-hope in a very small way the photie gives you a lift Unc.
And who would have thought it-a school located in Oxgangs offering skiing lessons!