Winter here is behaving like a distant relative who comes to stay but then won’t leave. We expect the usual April showers (which in this part of Scotland means endless curtains of rain), but the return to sleet and snow is a little depressing.
I do love to see snow as much as the next person, and being a skier I welcome it more than many people. However, there is a limit. Some nice warm sunshine about now would be nice.
So in the meantime I will just have to accept the passing snow showers and embrace the re-wintered landscape.
Well what are the chances of this? One of the last, tiny remaining patches of snow left in the garden and it bears the almost perfect print of a pheasant. There were one or two other last vestiges lying under the shade of the trees but this one really stood out. It certainly made me smile for a few minutes.
Well, there is still snow lying in the shadier parts of the forest.
It isn’t all that unusual to have lying snow in Scotland at Easter, but I still think it’s nice to see. In my opinion the Scottish hills eclipse even the Alps for beauty when partially clad in snow yet basking under Spring sunshine. And off piste skiing at this time of year, to the sound of the grouse and ptarmigan in the heather, is an experience not to be missed.
The Spring is welcome, but it is worth reflecting that the winter here does give us some pleasures too.
If it comes in like a lamb it’ll go out like a lion.
So it is often said about March. Okay so we’re actually into April now, but only just.
This post should probably have begun with “Oops, where did the winter go?” to reflect the fact that I had, erm, not been very active with postings. That is true of course; I had been busy with other things and neglected these pages over the winter.
March began mildly and, despite a few chilly days, continued in much the same vein. Then last week we had unseasonably hot weather for over seven days including record-breaking March temperatures of 24 degrees Celsius. Suncream and T-shirts in March, in northern Scotland. Now look at it; snow everywhere.
It’s really hard to over emphasise the contrast. Scorching sunshine (for here) one week, then 15-20 cm (~6 inches) of snow the next. In the open field it was up to the knees in places.
Despite the cold the snow delivered its usual beauty. The forest was transformed back into a giant Christmas card and uneven and unkempt surfaces were smoothed over with a perfect layer of icing sugar. Plus of course the dogs came back from walks spotlessly clean (although carrying saddlebags of snow).
One of the pleasures it brought was watching the snow showers move across the landscape on the bitter wind. The cold Arctic air gave periods of cobalt blue sky followed by intense grey-white curtains of snow that swept across the terrain. It was great to watch the blizzards obliterate a distant farm whilst standing in the sunshine, then scuttling back to the log fire before the next one reached where I was standing unsheltered in the field.
And how I wish I could wield a brush well enough to paint those skies. Maybe one day.