This week has been very cold - I doubt that the temperature has been higher than 1°C all week and morning temperatures have been as low as -5°C. This has meant that although we have had no significant snow since Tuesday, there is still a substantial covering everywhere, and the footpaths are covered in treacherous trodden snow.
The immediate impact is obviously the outward journey. Rover and Amazon are always very keen to get to the point of the walk where they are allowed off the leash, so they see it as their job to get us all to that point as soon as possible - stopping for a sniff aside. I can curb the worst of it, but in icy conditions this has serious implications if I need to pull them in at the same time as I step on a friction free surface.
Thankfully the upper bridge has been gritted this time, which makes a nice change. Even the section on the far side that gets no sunlight is passable with care. Quite what prompted this gritting is unknown, as it is unprecedented. Although I would like to think that it was gritted by someone involved in the maintenance of the bridge, I think it may be a private act by someone as sick of risking their neck on the bridge as I am.
In the Dene, the walk has been transformed. A good covering of snow brings a more mature, but still very excited response from the dogs. I was watching a documentary about wolves some time ago and remember them saying that it was with the coming of snow that wolves' hunting success increases. Watching Rover and Amazon in the snow makes me believe that something of this has passed down in the genetics of dogs, for they were looking for rabbits with especial interest today, scouting out all of the likely places. Rover would occasionally peel off to run around in circles, and he even jumped up at me, which he usually does not bother to do, so he caught me off guard.
There were few other dogs around today. There was a bull dog that wanted to come when I whistled for R & A (which is more than they did) and I saw twice (at a distance) an Old English sheep dog who is a regular.
As I was turning for home, the sunshine that I had been enjoying all morning was darkened by a rather pregnant cloud which was coming in from the east, and I expected a resumption of the snow (it has been forecast, although it is mostly expected to hit the south, the Midlands and Wales. As it turned out, the cloud passed over and the day is again bright.
Very glad to get back home and put the kettle on!