In a stunning start to winter, it started snowing a week ago – last wednesday, and its been snowing on and off ever since. So for the past week and a half we’ve have been living in a land of snow. At first we were stunned that it was snowing in November, then we were even more amazed that the snow was staying and finally we shocked by the temperatures.
I can’t remember ever seeing weather like this before. I certainly can not remember this much snow this early. Of course i remember the winters of my childhood, where the snow was over 3 feet deep, and we walked to school through deep drifting snow much deeper than it is now, and i can also can recall snow that stayed much longer, but in my memory these snows were always much later.
So how are we coping with these unfamiliar conditions? Well on the whole we seem to be coping better than expected, at least here in the North East.
January’s snow caught us a little off guard, we quickly ran out of grit, then roads went ungritted, and people were unable to make it into work. This time around there’s been a change in attitude, the councils are using a lot less grit and are not bothering to clear the small roads at all, instead they’re using snow plows on the main roads and keeping them clearer more of the time. We’ve abandoned any attempts to keep our street clear of snow, instead taking to leaving the car on the main road, which the snow plows are keeping clear, allowing us to get into work with out too much trouble.
I’ve taken to dressing in my snow boarding gear to travel to work, and invested in a set of snow chains so that i don’t need to rush home at the first sign of snow to avoid getting stuck somewhere in the snow.
One thing that has suffered a bit with the snow strangely has been my running, i’ve still managed to run into work a couple of times a week, although tuesday’s run in look me a good 40 minutes longer than normal. December is usually one of my favourite months for fell running with a couple of outstanding local runs, the Hexhamshire hobble was one of my first races and one i wait for all year and the Simonside Cairns is particularly magical with sections of forest lit with fairy lights and christmas music playing in the trees. But this year they have both been cancelled along with Novembers head torch run, due in part to difficulties getting to the races, but also because with snow drifting to 2-3 feet on the hills they would be practically unrunnable.
Its said that the Eskimo’s have many word to describe snow, but this snow is different to much of the snow i’ve seen before, its remained soft and fluffy since it fell and there isn’t a hard icy top to it, running on in it is much like running on very soft sand.
It hasn’t snowed for 2 days, but the forecast is for more snow tomorrow. So for now it looks like we’ll be living in this winter wonderland a little longer.