The story is really in the pictures, but this wasn't how I expected to spend March 12th 2006. I had an entry for the Inverness Half Marathon, and was all ready and trained up for it. Two other members of Dundee Roadrunners were depending on me for a lift up there. And my son Owen had gone up on the Saturday from Edinburgh, to be there in good time for the event.
However, this was March 2006 - probably the snowiest March in Scotland for many years. There had already been quite a bit of snowfall in NE Scotland and the far north, but we hadn't seen much in Dundee - just a couple of light falls. Then on 11 March the forecaster predicted heavy snow moving through on Saturday night and hanging around on Sunday, with heavy falls in the Central Highlands.
Sure enough, when I awoke on Sunday morning ready for a quick breakfast before picking up my colleagues to drive north, it was snowing heavily and lying thickly on the road. It didn't look promising. A check on the internet confirmed that the snow gates on the A9 were closed at Drumochter, and the road was blocked further north at the Slochd. Owen reported that there was no snow in Inverness itself, but we couldn't get there! After a quick phone-round we decided to abandon the trip, although the race went ahead with those competitors who lived locally or managed to travel up the day before.
So I had to do something instead, and went out for a slow run through the snow, which continued to fall all day. It was the kind of snow we used to get most winters just around New Year, with thick flakes and about 6 inches of lying snow. As usual when everything is is laden with snow, every sound was muffled, and there was just the crunch crunch of each footstep. It's a very special set of sensations which we don't seem to experience often these days.
The branches ot the trees were laden, making for beautiful scenes in the parks, with very few other people venturing out. I particularly like the shots of the people I did see - one passing Reres Park, and a couple huddled up for a walk along the beach under an umbrella.
The Rock Garden, too, looked particularly tranquil laden in snow (see the composite picture below). And the appearance of the beach was weird, with snow lying (unusually) right down to the water's edge, where slush was being washed up onto the sand.
In the afternoon, Maggie and Frances and I made the short walk up to Gillies Park where an artificial hill provided a superb slope for sledging. Lots of others were out as well enjoying themselves, but as the snow kept falling, there was enough for everyone.
Not quite what I'd planned, but a memorable day nevertheless.
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Contributed by Andrew Llanwarne, May 2006
The path through the nature trail beside the railway line
The railway footbridge etched in black and white
Branches laden with snow
Another section of the nature trail
On Bridge Street - not going anywhere in a hurry!
Sledging at Gillies Park