Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the Autumn for a month or so

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, 26 February 2010

Going nowhere fast ...

I have hardly been blogging here recently, largely because I simply have not had the time. Personal family matters have been preoccupying me as have preparations for my imminent departure for Spain, not to mention occasional bursts of high activity related to maintaining a community's website in Spain. The fact I am not actually in Spain is irrelevant as one of the wonders of the internet age is that it makes the two-way flow of information both fast and cheap.

The title of this little article, however, refers to something quite different. I mentioned above my 'imminent departure for Spain' - well if I was due to be leaving today (which fortunately I am not), it simply would not be happening. A small matter of the main road from here in the north of Scotland to the south (the A9) being closed in at least two places. The main railway south line is also closed. I think the local airport is open, though. Sleety snow and a howling gale is the reason. Yesterday I was on a small length of the A9 going north and it was not at all ppleasant either - a wet, slushy snow, mixed with grit and salt covered the whole road surface, making a mucky and treacherous surface. I was glad to get back home after my afternoon's excursion to visit my mother in her nursing home.

I closed all the blinds and curtains just before it became dark, because it was really cold, with the howling north gale and sleety snow coming in off the sea less than 100 metres from where I live - the gas central heating, supplemented by an electic fire, took until after 10 pm to reach a reasonably-comfortable temperature; I live in a modern and well-insulated building, but the weather conditions are very severe. We had a brief power-cut around midnight, but we are very lucky compared to the (reportedly) 4,500 households in Perthshire and slightly south of there who are without power at present - much down from the ten-fold greater number who were without power yesterday (wet and heavy snow having brought down overhead power cables and the difficulty of getting repair-crews in overnight to repair them in their remote locations well off the road, themselves passable only with difficulty even with snow-ploughs), not to mention motorists on the A9, some of whom were blocked by snowdrifts for 17 hours yesterday and during the night.

In theory I am scheduled to depart here early-ish next Thursday to begin the first part of my journey south to Portsmouth for the Portsmouth-Bilbao ferry on Friday evening. In theory I will be spending a night near Kendal in the southern Lake District of Cumbria, but I am thinking of leaving here a day earlier (on Wednesday) to try and get south as far as say Stirling for a night there - one of the blockages yesterday was at Dunblane, just north of there. Hopefully the road network will become passable again in the next few days, making my journey possible. Otherwise, quite simply, I shall be going nowhere fast ... (to be updated in later instalments)

2 comments - please add your own:

Fitaloon said...

Weather here in Tarland is very bad. I tried to get to work this AM but had to turn back, I didn't even try yesterday. In our area only main roads are passable and then even barely. Stopped snowing for about an hour today after 2 1/2 days. God knows what it is like on the higher up areas.
Brother-in-law in Aviemore said they were completely cut-off and very little snow clearing going on.

Never mind BBC tell me they've had some rain down south.

Hope your journey goes well. It should have melted by then, maybe...

Bill said...

I can imagine it must be very bad at altitude and off main roads. I looked at the BBC digital text earlier this afternoon and A9 seems to be open again - although I expect it is still 'dodgy'. 5-day forecast to Tuesday looks reasonably hopeful, but by Sunday will get a better idea what it's going to be like later in the week.

It really has been a very long hard winter - my central heating is only barely coping with the gales coming in off the sea.

I hope it clears up for you soon.

Cheers!