Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Snow sparks surge in sledge sales

Girl sledging. Pic: Claire McKenzie
A young girl sledging in snow in Inverness

A Scottish-based sledge company said it has sold 27,000 since last Monday - with most of them ending up in the south of England.

Bill Wilson, who runs sledges.co.uk in Glenmore, near Inverness, said his website took 8,700 hits in one minute last week.

Sales of sledges were also booming in the Highlands over the weekend.

Paul Kelly, store manager at Howdens Garden Centre in Inverness, said they sold 120 in the past week.

Mr Wilson said inquiries to his website picked up shortly after snow fell on London last Monday.

He told the BBC News Scotland website: "When London got hit by snow things went absolutely bonkers.

"We had 8,700 hits in one minute. The hard drive on the computer burned out."

'Blow-up ones'

The business dispatches the sledges - ranging from the low-cost plastic variety to more sophisticated models made from aluminium and costing 350 - from a warehouse in Kendal, Cumbria.

He said that in previous winters he would expect to sell only about 10 or 12 sledges on a snowy day.

Mr Wilson said: "We've had to deal with a backlog of orders. The staff have been working from four in the morning. I came in today at 2am.

"I would say 85% of our business has come from England and I would say the reason for that is because most people in Scotland have a sledge in the back of the garage."

In Inverness, many people headed for the surrounding hills where the snow was deeper and conditions well suited to sledging.

Mr Kelly, of Howdens, said: "The demand has been phenomenal.

"We've got one of the traditional-style sledges left and a few blow-up ones. In the last week we must have sold about 120.

"We've just about been cleared out. One customer who came in at the weekend said he had been at eight different stores before finding a sledge."

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