Saturday 20 January 2024

Images And Some Words From A Week Of Snow

The snow started to fall a week ago. Today a slow thaw started. For the previous six days the temperature has never risen above freezing and the snow lay thick. Not as deep as sometimes but enough to make walking a little difficult and enough for a ski tour, the first of the winter.

The snow soon made the estate track to the house impassable at the steepest spot. I’ve failed to get up that section and had to slide back down, sometimes ending up in a ditch and having to be pulled out, too many times in the past. It’s easier just to leave the car at the bottom by the road.

That single track road has been icy and slippery too. I only ventured out in the car twice, to drive the five miles into Grantown-on-Spey to collect the post from the sorting office – no deliveries in this weather – and buy groceries, which I then hauled up the track on a very old plastic sledge.

With snow falling most days, sometime heavily, and road conditions variable I didn’t want to drive beyond town in case I ended up stuck somewhere. Driving on snowy and icy roads isn’t pleasant anyway.

It’s been a week of local walks (and one ski tour) then. This is always fine, especially when there’s snow as it changes the landscape so much. The woods feel more mysterious, more other worldly. The snow clouds wreath thick patterns over the white hills. The light glows ethereally.

There hasn’t been much sunshine, just the occasional burst, sometimes blinding the eyes, sometimes making a distant peak shine. Underfoot the snow crunches.

In the fields rabbits have been digging through the snow for patches of frozen reeds or grass. Those in the garden eat peanuts and sunflower seeds. Red squirrels come to the rapidly emptying feeders, scaring away the birds, of which there are many. Coal tits and chaffinches are the greatest in number, as usual. There’ve been more blackbirds than ever before, with as many as ten at a time. Great spotted woodpeckers, siskins, greenfinches, house sparrows, robins, dunnocks, sparrowhawks. The garden is alive with life.

Now the snow is wet, heavy, and thawing. By tomorrow most will probably have gone. Then comes high winds and heavy rain with Storm Isha.

Once the weather settles I’ll be heading for the hills. I hope. Unless the snow returns.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures and a lovely description of how one's life is impacted by weather in the countryside.