We were off to fetch home one of the kids from Uni yesterday so the dogs were treated to a nice early walk. There was a bit of wind blowing about, there was a covering of cumulus that had been a mist earlier in the morning and it was cold. Almost immediately I noticed the odd flake of smow - not the big ones that accumulate in no time, it was the very small nearly hard ones that are almost but not quite hailstones. The ground was frozen from frost the night before, so even though it was an inconsequential amount of snow it was actually able to accumulate.
We slipped and slid over the Bridge of Food, which lived up to its name today by having half of a small chocolate bar lying there in full view. We steered Holly (and the other two mutts for that matter) away from this tempting poisonous treat. Then it was down the final slope, which was not fun as there was a noticeable sheet of ice across the path. Cath let Holly wander down off the lead but there was no way R&A would abide by that little agreement so I had to put both leads in one hand and gingerly make my way down the slope with one hand hovering over the handrail, just in case.
As we were going we saw a woman and her dog wandering along the path below us. We know this pair quite well. The woman is nervous and not very talkative. Her dog is about Holly's height but much slimmer and it always had a muzzle on and as far as I am aware it is never allowed off the lead. Cath says that she has talked to her when she has walked the dogs without me, so I'm obviously too scary to speak to. By he time we got off the bridge they had got a fair way ahead along a different path to us, so that was the dogs only interaction with other dogs today.
The Dene was a little sombre on its winter colours. The odd snowflake continued to fall through the trees and here and there enough snow had accumulated to for isolated patches of grey-white. I jokingly sang a line or two from "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" but Cath didn't pick up on the sarcasm. I guess she was too worried about snow actually building up and causing delays on our trip to Leicester. Still the snow did add to the problem of getting up the path from the bottom of he Dene. The frost was bad enough but there was enough snow to cause additional slippage. Cath ended up walking on the grass to get a bit of traction but I managed to stay on the path with a little bit of care and concentration.
The Council did some work to help the drainage on one section of the path south of the Dene. Every winter this bit of path has become a large puddle which has frozen up in the winter and been a bit of a challenge. The work involved cutting three drainage channels through the tarmac, filling them with stones and covering them over with a layer of tarmac. They accumulated large amounts of pebbles and gravel on either side and dug a channel for the water to flow away from. This meant a slip free section here, although there was still a tiny patch of ice where water has flowed down from another path and it had frozen as it flowed across our path. Seems to be a job well done!
The return leg went particularly smoothly today - R&A appeared from their little hunting trip before we had a chance to call them, meaning that we were not waiting around for them for ages. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it is a nice little bonus. We headed back, avoiding the little bit of chocolate on the Bridge of Food, and got the dogs back just before the tiny flutter of snow began to turn into something a little more like snowfall, with a scattering of big flakes.