A SCOTS ski fan travelled 1,000 miles and spent £1,500 to get his hands on a piece of personal sporting history.
Ski instructor Andy McKenzie learned learned his sport as a child at Glenshee in the Highlands, accessing the slopes on an old chair lift system.
When the ski resort decided to auction the 50-year-old chairs last weekend, Andy, now living in Weston Super Mare, Somerset, couldn’t resist acting on impulse.
He hitched a trailer to his car and took the 1,000 mile round trip to Braemar, returning two days later with a pair of chairs – one for wife and one for him as a birthday present.
Andy had hoped to pick up one chair for as little as £100 but spent £600 each, plus almost £300 on fuel.
And the 48-year-old admits he is not sure what to do with chairs while insisting he does not regret the purchase.
Andy grew up in Pitlochry – about 30 miles from Glenshee – but joined the RAF and eventually settled in Somerset where he works as a business communications manager and teaches kids to ski in his spare time.
He and wife, Eleanor, 52, originally from Cowdenbeath, Fife, phoned before travelling and were advised there was a good chance of getting one of 45 Tiger run chairs for £100-£200.
But demand was so high the chairs went for an average of well over £500, with one fetching £750.
Andy said: “I skied in Glenshee a lot. I learnt to ski in the early 80s so felt like it was part of my life.
“I was in the RAF for many years and we skied all over the world but when people are talking about going to all these resorts abroad I’m like, ‘You do realise there’s the three valleys up north in Scotland don’t you?’
“Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the conditions aren’t the best, but when you get a good day in Scotland, well it’s a great day.”
He added: “When the bidding started they ended up going for £600 each so I waited for a few chairs to be sold thinking the price would start to lower.
“Then after a while I realised, ‘This isn’t going to go away and I thought to myself, I can’t go back with nothing now.
“I won the bid for seat number 9 and as I went away to try and process the fact that I had spent so much, my wife then bid on a second one for my birthday.
“I was just in a daze driving home thinking about how much we can just spent but it’s a piece of history isn’t it and they are worth as much as people are willing to pay for them.”
Over £22,000 was raised from the auction which will be split between Scotland’s Charity Air ambulance and Disability Snow Sports Scotland, with the other half going to the ski centre itself.
Andy said his children, Ross and Kirsty, “think I’m mad”.
The family plan to return to Glenshee when the ski centre reopens for the winter season and unveils their new three seater chair lift.
He said: “I will definitely be back through to use the new lift when the snow comes.
“We would love to move back one day in the future too.
“As a Scot living in England, you always sees Scotland as home.”
Glenshee is one of five ski resorts in Scotland and comprises of 36 runs and 22 lifts.
Having opened in 1962, the ski centre was originally developed and centred around the Tiger lift.
The Tiger run seats were removed in preparation for a £2.4m upgrade by the Scottish Government.