A SCHOOLGIRL from the district has become a national skiing champion during her first year of competition.

Allendale’s Harriet Scoular (11), won the U12 British Outdoor Ski Championship at Stoke Ski Centre, where she excelled on the dry slopes.

The slalom racer negotiated a series of gates in a time of 14.6s to claim victory in a closely contested event.

Her proud father Paul said: “It was a great feeling for Harriet to win a prestigious national title.

“It’s a very fine margin between first, second and third. The top girls in the country are competing at such a high level.

“But for Harriet to do so well in her first first year of racing is absolutely fantastic. She has worked ever so hard and we are very proud.”

The day before her success, last weekend, the former Allendale Primary School pupil finished second in the English Open.

Harriet was introduced to skiing during a family holiday in France, when she was just four or five years old.

A natural talent for the sport, she has made remarkable progress over the past 18 months.

The youngster is a member of the Ravens Tigers Ski Racing and Development Club, based at Silksworth Sports Club and Ski Slope, in Sunderland.

As well as slalom, Harriet also competes in giant slalom events. She has received training at the British Ski Academy in Norwich, and is equally capable on dry slopes and on the snow.

“It has pleasantly surprised us that Harriet has shown a natural ability and a real knack for it, and she is enjoying her skiing.”

Harriet, who started life at Hexham Middle School this week, won her national championship using skis purchased with grant funding from Allendale Co-operative Society.

“We are really grateful for the support of the Co-op,” said Paul, who is a key member of Harriet’s support team, alongside her mum, Kerry Crossley.