19 January 2010

After the snow

Here in the west of Scotland, we didn't get as much snow as in some other parts of the UK, but it was very cold and the snow lay for longer - just one day short of 4 weeks.

I have been trying to think of a few pictures that sum up this winter period for me.

First, it has been a fantastic opportunity to get out on cross-country skis, day after day, in some beautiful sunny weather.

Not everything was so easy. There was a national shortage of salt and you could spot where it should have been in the supermarket by the empty shelf. One local retailer managed to get a supply, and advertised it at this roundabout.

The cold weather was not so good for wildlife, and this tiny wren was a victim.

Other birds managed to survive by moving into gardens. Our ducks, normally only with us between April and July, returned in large numbers, mostly at night. Here there are 12 of them on their way to us.

The Lake of Menteith, like many other areas of water, froze to a considerable depth. It was hoped that a "Grand match" or "Bonspiel" could take place. This is a huge curling contest which has not been held for 30 years due to milder weather. Unfortunately logistic problems and a sudden rise in temperature meant that it was cancelled at the last minute. Here a couple are going for a walk on the lake, now covered in a thin layer of water. In the foreground the ice has been marked out for curling. Some matches on a smaller scale were played during the previous weekend.

At the end of the day, the sun caught the Campsies as it set, and turned them gold and red.

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