My usual attitude to the snow is very straightforward. I am a great big kid: you can sledge on it, throw it at each other, make it into snowmen and it makes the whole place shiny and white – what’s not to like? Living in Preston we rarely get what I would regard as enough of it anyway so when it is forecast I usually have to be forcibly prevented from peering out of the window every five minutes to see if it has started yet. Even over the last fortnight, as the rest of the UK turned into the Perry Como Christmas Special, nothing in Preston except a few half-hearted flurries.
And yet, today lots of snow was predicted and for probably the first time in my life I was hoping the forecast was wrong. The problem is that we have got to get on with the topographic survey of the New Laund enclosure. We have got the Leica GPS set up and working the way we want it and this Friday was one of a limited number of days we had identified when I didn’t have to give a lecture and Simon wasn’t supposed to be attending one.
Of course, I was aware that there was likely to be quite a lot more snow up in the fells. Yesterday I rang John to get his opinion on the state of the roads out at Whitewell. ‘Well, the milk tanker’s getting in every day’ he said. He thought if we came in through Whitewell on the main roads we would be fine. After the twenty eighth look at the weather on the internet, I seized on the bit where it said that ‘heavy snow’ wouldn’t get to us until about 4.00 and decided that we would try to get most of a day in before the snow hit.
You can guess how this went. It was fine and dry in Preston but as we drove up past Longridge the snow started to swirl around. We pushed on right up to site in the hope that it would clear up again. The fells were white over from all the snow over the last two weeks. By the time we got there driving snow and mist had the visibility down to about 10 metres and it was settling so fast that you couldn’t see the tyre tracks of the car on the road behind us. We stopped, looked at each other, said ‘I don’t think so’ and turned the car round.
It poured with snow all afternoon, even in Preston, but as I write this normal rainy service seems to have been resumed and it is all washing away into the gutters.
Wildlife of the day: by the side of the road on Rock Brow someone has sculpted a life-size snow grizzly bear rearing on its hind legs.