Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow stories from around the UK

Car with -18C written on the windscreen in Greater Manchester
Temperatures have plummeted to Arctic lows in much of the UK

Wintry weather has caused problems right across the UK, with schools closing, shops running low on supplies and transport services grinding to a halt.

As well as the big headlines, there have also been many tales of personal struggle, and more positive experiences of coping with - and even enjoying - the snow and ice.

Here is a round-up of some of those stories.

  • The British Red Cross said it was on standby to assist pregnant women on Skye as they reached their due dates and needed to be taken to hospital.
  • A Facebook petition has been set up in Grantown-on-Spey urging local people to refuse to pay their council tax for a month in protest at the perceived lack of snow clearing.
  • Zeb74, on the west coast of Scotland, said on Twitter he had built his "biggest snowman ever", but wished there was enough on the ground to snowboard.
  • Another Twitter user summed up many feelings, writing: "Scotland in the snow... entrancingly beautiful, as long as you don't have to drive."
  • Brian Doolan, in East Kilbride, told the BBC why he thought so many schools had closed. "I think the problem... is mostly down to the inability or lack of confidence in young female teachers to drive on snow."

Snow blocks a road in Peebles, Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders have seen some of the heaviest snowfalls
  • A gritter lorry overturned in Ceredigion and a crane had to be called in to right it.
  • Susie Stockton-Link, in Builth Wells, Powys, told the BBC there were "ice sheets" on the River Wye.
  • Also in Powys, Sue Davies, who has 10 mouths to feed, had to turn away her Tesco order when the supermarket asked if she could meet the driver two miles away. She said: "I had no way of doing this, and having spent most of the morning looking after a stranger who had slid into the hedge outside my house trying to retrieve the car with the help of a local farmer, I was not about to risk life and limb to go and get it."


  • Gritting was forced to stop on Londonderry's Creggan estate after a lorry was attacked by a gang throwing stones. One resident called it "a disgrace".
  • Elsewhere in Derry, in Ballymagroarty, social services began an investigation after an eight-year-old boy was found sitting on the roadside in sub-zero temperatures.
  • On Twitter, Ian described the situation in Coleraine as "pretty mad" and several people complained about the apparent lack of gritting in some areas.
  • One BBC contributor, "Kmckimm" in Belfast, has had a particularly bad time in the icy conditions: "I fell and slipped a disc yesterday and now I'm off work. It's terrible."


  • At Aylesford School Sports College, in Kent, pupils had their coats confiscated despite freezing temperatures because they did not meet uniform regulations
  • While some have been having problems with deliveries, others like Ian, in Lightwater, Surrey, were impressed by their supermarket's perseverance - in his case, Ocado. "The delivery guy arrived early, but I couldn't see his van," he wrote. "He told me he got as far as the end of our road, then pushed a trolley laden with our crates through the snow for half-a-mile!"
  • Joseph Kent, in Woking, Surrey, wrote to the BBC about the impact of school and sixth-form closures: "One of the biggest issues is whether January examinations will be taking place. I assume most sixth-form students are using their time off to revise anyway... when they're not building snow forts, of course!"
  • In Brighton and Hove, members of the public responded to an appeal by the city council for four-wheel drive vehicles to help deliver meals on wheels to vulnerable people.

Snow-covered bin bags in Greater Manchester
Snow has hampered the work of refuse collectors in some areas

  • An eight-year-old boy had to be rescued by helicopter after his family got stuck in the snow in Nottinghamshire while driving him to hospital for a kidney transplant.
  • Two boys who had to be rescued by firefighters after taking a shortcut across a frozen lake were suspended from their Derbyshire school.
  • One man told the BBC he could see a very positive side to the snow in Birmingham: "Walking in the snow yesterday, it was very cheering to be called 'Good morning' to and have some banter with nearly everyone else on foot. Shows how isolating cars are and also how the British generally deal with adversity with good humour."
  • Another BBC correspondent in Nottingham joked that among the schools closed in his area was Sir Edmund Hillary Primary, Worksop - "What would he have made of it?", he asked.


  • Scott, in Woolwich, told the BBC: "I have been stuck at work since Wednesday. I am on crutches and cannot walk on the snow and ice. I decided last night to spend the night in the office as I felt it was too dangerous to venture out in the city."
  • Ricky Cooper, in Edmonton, said: "I couldn't go to the cemetery on Wednesday to visit my dad on what would have been his 49th birthday as there was not a single grain of grit anywhere in sight. Instead I had to stay home feeling guilty while taking down my Christmas decorations."
  • Travellers suffered at Heathrow airport when bad weather forced cancellations and long delays. Darragh Cullen waited on the runway for seven hours before finally being told his trip to Los Angeles had been scrapped.
  • Carlaparry wrote on Twitter: "Just had a snow break on Hampstead Heath & saw 2 grown men sledging using 2 kids' rubber rings & a plastic sheet. Amazingly it worked."

Man drags his shopping home on a sledge in Bristol
Some stores have experienced shortages of fresh products

  • CH, a teacher from Tidworth in Wiltshire, told the BBC: "I attempted to make my way into school yesterday but was involved in a collision on icy, snowy roads, seconds away from school. While I am keen to get to school and carry on as normal, I do not feel it is worth risking my own safety to satisfy parents' calls for school openings."
  • Farmer Gladys Crossman, from Plush Hay Farm near Tiverton, was forced to throw away 4,000 litres of milk on Wednesday and the same amount again on Thursday - worth about £500 a day - because collections had been abandoned in the snow and ice.
  • Plymouth Ski Centre at Marsh Mills was forced to close on Wednesday due to the icy conditions.
  • Sainsbury's in Arnos Vale, Bristol, said it had sold out of table salt, apparently due to people taking gritting matters into their own hands.

  • Jill, in the Wirral, said her 12-year-old daughter was left stranded six miles from her house in a blizzard when her school closed early, but the buses to take children home stopped running. "Nobody could get to her to pick her up as the roads were impassable. We had to phone the police in the end who were great in going to find her. I fully support any school not opening in these conditions."
  • Andrew Hetherington, from near Carlisle in Cumbria, told the BBC: "I have not seen a piece of green grass since 18 December, and we have had less than 24 hours since 12 December when the temp has risen above freezing. This is a proper winter."
  • Police officers in Lancashire were praised for their efforts in the tough conditions. Their good deeds included finding and rescuing a 62-year-old man, from Poulton, after he went missing for nine hours wearing only his pyjamas and a fleece.


  • John Hunter, in Shipley, West Yorkshire, told the BBC that steeper roads in his area had been closed by police. "Every side road is piled high with snow and impossible to get out of. No refuse wagon has made it here in two weeks so we have to additional problems of overflowing bins and bin bags piling up everywhere."


  • Jane Addison, in Middleton, County Durham, told the BBC: "I broke my ankle a month ago and since then I've been housebound. The views from my bedroom window as I watch the countryside change and familiar landmarks disappear under the snow is something I will remember for years to come."
  • Police were called to Durham Tees Valley Airport after passengers aboard a plane grounded by snow became "disruptive" when they were not allowed to disembark for two-and-a-half hours.
  • An angler died after the cliff face he was standing on collapsed in Northumberland - extreme snowfalls, ice and high winds are thought to have made the rock unstable.
  • Staff at LD Mountain Centre, an outdoor clothing and equipment shop in Newcastle, turned the snow-covered city centre street outside into a makeshift ski slope.
  • Richard Betton, a farmer near Barnard Castle, in County Durham, said he feared for his 300 pedigree Swaledale sheep in the snow. "It is so deep the sheep cannot graze. My biggest worry at the moment is in keeping these sheep alive for the next month."


  • Peta, in Bedfordshire, wrote to the BBC querying the closure of her local school: "70% of the children live on the RAF camp next to the school, most of the staff live locally, the roads are clear. The road outside the school is an A road and is gritted, so why isn't the school open?"

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