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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Operation Snowdrop

'There's going to be a blizzard.' my father said, and I watched as he brought in extra drinking water and coal and a large shovel. I didn't worry over much. whatever happened my parent were there and they would keep me safe.
The following morning, I woke up to a silent darkness. The house was encased in snow. My father was already tunnelling his way to the byre to tend the animals.
He also tunnelled a path upwards, and once the blue sky could be seen, us children, decked out in wellingtons, hats coats and scarves, clambered out. only the top of the roof and the chimneys were visible.  The large drifts made excellent sledge slopes. We could tunnel in and build caves, then fall back indoors with freezing feet and fingers, desperate to warm up and get outside again. The fact that our snow caves could collapse and bury us never entered out heads. 
When we ran out of water, my father brought in tin pails full of snow and put it on the stove to melt. Several of our sheep wandered over the cliff edge and fell down, sinking in the soft snow. My father tied a rope around his middle and rescued them. Trapped in their freezing bubble, all had survived. 
Unfortunately for us children, being snowed in did not last long. I well remember the disappointment when I woke up one morning and the snow had almost disappeared. 
We perhaps fared better than many of our mainland neighbours, since those who relied on elecricity had to do without. We relied on bottle gas and solid fuel and still had warmth and light.

snow in Caithness

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