Can there be too much snow??
Driving north with a car rammed to the gunnels with all manner of toys - snowboard, skis, ice axes, crampons and enough baselayers to clothe an army, we had our fingers crossed the snow would last.
4hrs later and still not at Perth, we were less impressed with closed roads and snowdrifts. We'd stopped in what Neil assumed to be a layby, albeit under several feet of snow. Before I could say anything about it being a silly idea to stop there (well, I assumed he knew that), we were stuck and spent the next hour digging the car out. Watching the 4x4s drive past I wondered whether their not stopping to help was because they were city-slickers who didn't know how to drive, they were just plain mean or they were too scared to stop for the crazy maniac using an ice axe to dig out the tyres! Eventually, someone came to help tow us out and gained some of our Hogmanay beer for their troubles. Surprisingly, the road from Perth over Glenshee and the Lecht road were clear with just a little bit of sliding on the hill down to Tomintoul. We made it to our cottage to enjoy the cosy warmth, spread out the maps and start planning the week ahead.
There are just so many options around that part of the world for running, skiing and biking but little did we expect the fresh snow that would fall every day, smothering the path to our front door, reaching up to touch the icicles dangling from the roof and making the roads pretty much impassable. We managed a day of skiing at the Lecht - so much easier on the body than snowboarding as you're not getting mauled by every button tow or having to sit in the cold snow turning your bum to ice while strapping in your second foot at the top of the lift. If only I'd had some snowshoes or cross country skis the rest of my week would have been a bit more suited to the freak weather.
I dragged myself out for a few runs over the week, really in a desperate bid to justify the pringle munching and wine drinking of the rest of the trip. I even made a cake one afternoon. With feet sliding back and into the snow at every step and having to cover my face with my buff to escape the biting cold, running felt really tough but it was really beautiful and so silent - a far cry from running round Glasgow. Running off road proved completely impossible - I thought that the hip-height snow would lead to hypothermia well before I got going and even the roads that the snow plough hadn't been down were pretty hard going (and hard to find!).
Sadly no biking over the holidays and I'm not sure whether I'm quite ready to risk venturing out on the sheet ice now I'm back home either. Maybe a bit more indoor climbing and swimming for a while. Not that you'd know the wall at Ibrox is indoors with the amount of down clothing people have to wear to climb, never mind belay there!
Who'd have though I'd ever complain about too much snow? If only I had some snow shoes and cross country skis...