National leisure destination tipped to draw sports enthusiasts to Pentland Hills

SMITH Scott Mullan Associates has submitted a planning application on behalf of Midlothian Council for Destination Hillend, a project tipped to transform the existing Midlothian Snowsports Centre into a multi-activity leisure destination on the Pentland Hills.

The design uses a monolithic volume set within the Pentland Hills landscape. Smith Scott Mullan explained that the volume mimics the ridgeline of the hills beyond the building, whilst highlighting key activities and access points on the facade.

At first floor, the forms are clad in red terracotta tiles referencing the terracotta roof tiles of historic agricultural buildings in the Lothians. The main entrances are picked out with glazed bricks in a pattern described as echoing the local hillside, using greens of the landscape, yellows of gorse flowers, and purples of heather.

The building will create a hub for activities including climbing, soft play, ski-hire, dining, events and retail. A green roof enhances biodiversity and embeds the new forms into the hillside context. Smith Scott Mullan added that the facility also negotiates the steep topography by being built into the hillside and allows users to move from the access road level to the base of the ski slopes and other activities, which will include a zipline, alpine coaster and tubing.

The development is targeting net zero in terms of operational carbon using a fabric-first approach and will utilise renewables for operational energy.

Project manager Paul Campbell said, “We’re hugely excited for this project to turn the snowsports centre into a national, if not international, tourist attraction and to safeguard the future of a facility already well-loved by everyone from Olympians to novice snowboarders.”

The project team includes Pick Everard, Cundall, Thomson Bethune, Hardies Property & Construction Consultants, Wardell Armstrong, and Montague Evans.