Out like a lion
Over the past two days March has gone out like a roaring lion. Blizzards have swept Scotland, closing roads, railways and ferry services. Very tragically, a school student was killed in a coach accident at the start of what was to be a recreational Easter trip.
The back of my daughter's hoodie above should really be re-printed as 'We didn't get to Orkney Music Tour 2010'. The school baroque orchestra and chamber choir were due to leave on Tuesday evening, travelling north to Inverness by coach, staying the night in Inverness, then travelling on to Scrabster next day and taking the ferry to Kirkwall. The school decided to cancel the trip on Tuesday afternoon as the weather worsened. Huge disappointment - no concerts in Stromness and Kirwall, no sightseeing of Skara Brae, Scapa Flow, the Ring of Brodgar - but it was a wise decision. The road they would have travelled was blocked by snow in several places. The ferries were only just operating, with many services cancelled and no guarantee that they would be able to cross. And even if they did, the sea conditions were atrocious. Seas 'rough to very rough', winds of gale force 8 to severe gale 9.
In the centre of Edinburgh it was easy to have a false sense of security about the conditions. We had wet snow, with the usual city slush.
But the harbour wall was breached at Leith, and just a few miles outside Edinburgh roads were blocked and the main East Coast line blocked by a landslide. Yes, it was a pity the orchestra and choir missed their trip, but it wouldn't have been worth the risk.