Thursday, 9 December 2010
It's nearly a week since my last post and it's only now that we've had a let-up in sub-zero temperatures. And this thaw has meant that over the last 24 hours, our snow has been seriously reduced in depth. So now we only have a foot to stand in.
And it can't come soon enough for some of the local wildlife, I'm thinking. I'm seeing signs all over that this cold snap has pushed many of them to their limits.
I've noticed over the past few days, for example, that I can't leave a house or shed door open without some small bird coming in. Rabbits are already chewing bark off trees- but they've got to be getting desperate when they're chewing at a 150 year-old Larch near the house. What few deer that are accessible to us are dour to move unless they're absolutely certain danger approaches.
All these are signs that I've seen before BUT never at this time of year. In the past, it's always been at the end of a long winter. All I can say is that, unless there is a considerable let-up in the weather, I reckon there will be a lot of mortalities amongst the local fauna.
As it transpires, I've been unable to get to the hill over the last few days. I'm looking after our young son while Louise, my wife, is away on a family matter. From what my colleagues are saying, I'm not missing much.
The pics are from a 'quick' jaunt I took yesterday. I went after some hinds while Jack was being baby-sat. What should have taken an hour took 3, with every step a plunge in thigh-deep snow. The result was 3 beasts which had to be dragged 500 metres to the land-rover. That was bad enough but one fell down a bank and into a burn. Hauling it up the 5m bank which was piled deep in drifted snow just about beat me.
By the sound of things this thaw is just a brief respite with more snow and frosts due at the end of next week. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to gird my loins.