Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

An icy end to the year

Blue iciclesSince it’s everyone’s favourite subject, I thought I’d end the year on a weather related item.

I’ve been following the the same route for about ten years now, and have the walk to and from the shops reasonably well tamed. I had to head out there today, and found that after the semi-thaw we’d been treated to since I was last obliged to head out had transformed things from a fairly nice tramp through the snow into one of the worst wanders I’ve ever had to endure.

I can’t recall anything similar in the past ten years, and while the roads seemed to be treated, the pavements had been ignored. These usually have salt/grit thrown over by the shovel-load, but apart from a few brown splodges, there was virtually no evidence of treatment. As the snow had been quite deep, when we did have the slight thaw, all that happened was the surface melted, combined with the lying slow, and then refroze on the still cold ground, creating sheets of ice. With no grit to be walked into it, all that earlier walkers had done was consolidate and polish it.

Most of it could be circumvented by walking in the verge or in the road, traffic permitting, but my hour and a half walk was extended by 45 minutes, simply because I couldn’t keep my footing for much of it. The worst was at a big triangular area of block paving across the main road from the Tollcross sport centre. This could have served as a skating rink, with walkers shouting warnings to those approaching it to walk on the road instead – and that’s a busy junction.

There was only one question I would have liked an answer to (and it wasn’t about where the salt or grit that should have been spread there was). Despite the fact that most folk were slipping about all over the place, there were one or two that seemed to be able to walk on this surface with little or no difficulty, and no matter how closely I tried to see what was different about their footwear, they all seemed to be wearing pretty ordinary daytime shoes – not walking boots or the like, and not with anything strapped on the soles either. Most odd.

Hope we don’t see the same next year, or if we do, the council maybe finds some guys with shovels and a few lorryloads of grit they can spare the time to send out on the road. I would have taken a pic of the icy pavements, but it’s not something that shows up well in a pic, you have to be putting your foot on it to realize what it is, and then again, you can’t really take a pic of no grit on the ground either.

On  similar theme, when I did the same walk to the shops last week, the gritters were out gritting the road on the evening before the frost actually hit, so that load was effectively wasted, but they were out the next night, and as it turned out, they spot on as they were really needed that time.

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31/12/2009 - Posted by | Civilian | , , ,

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