Sunday 31 January 2016

A Very Snowy Day

Midnight. Outside the temperature is -1C. Light snow is falling. Our tracks from an afternoon venture are buried. For twenty-four hours now it has been snowing most of the time. Until a few hours ago this snow came on very strong winds and formed deep drifts in places with others scoured almost bare. Now the wind has dropped and the snow is settling more evenly. Already this is the deepest snow this winter here at 300 metres in Strathspey.

Out in the open the wind and snow blasted across the landscape under a featureless grey sky. The hills were hidden. We soon sought the edge of the forest where we were protected from the north-westerly storm. The trees were plastered with snow on the windward sides. This felt like a northern boreal forest.

There was little sign of wildlife, the animals and birds sheltering from the ferocity of the storm. One set of roe deer tracks crossed our route but, unusually, there were no signs of rabbits. Nothing moved in the sky. We walked with hoods up, jackets fastened tight. Just once there was a brief lull and the snow stopped and the wind eased. Suddenly a little too warm for a short while we could unzip and look round with getting savaged by the wind and snow.

The weather for next week is forecast to be stormy with rapid changes in temperature, just as it has been for the last few months. Maybe the snow will stay this time, maybe it will all be gone this time tomorrow.

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