What is winter?

A couple of days after the most recent storm and I was back on the train to Edinburgh early this morning. The UK now gives severe storms a name and this one was Clodagh. It led to the cancellation of several towns’ Christmas light switching on celebrations. I got very wet last Friday while doing a Street Pastor shift at our local town’s event but was relieved that I had no need to travel any further than there. It is now December, we have had only one night of frost and night-time temperatures of 10-12 degrees Celsius that we would usually expect at mid-day in the winter. I left in the dark this morning and daylight did not arrive until the train reached Preston. At Lancaster, there was a little frost on top of the carriages sitting in the sidings but many flooded fields north of the city. We caught up with the rain at Oxenholme and it stayed with us as we continued northwards. The Clyde had burst its banks in several places in south Lanarkshire. It was still raining when I arrived in Edinburgh and accompanied by the usual umbrella-inverting wind so I rushed past the Christmas market and all the attractions, straight to my bus stop. It is now dry and the sky is clear.

Approach to Edinburgh Waverley (1 of 1)

Reflecting on climate change and all that it means for people living in for poorer people living in low-lying areas and coping with unseasonal weather is very sobering and I only hope the current climate talks achieve something. I have travelled over remote Himalayan passes which were bare rock while old photographs show the road edged with snow even in mid-summer and have been stranded by flooding there triggered by heavy rain which had not happened in summer for 100 years.

The flood in the gorge

I am currently reading Adam Gopnik’s ‘Winter’, the first chapter of which addresses the romantic notions of it over the ages. My childhood winters in Scotland were snowbound and I am easily seduced by some of the romance as a lover of Hokusai’s snowy Japanese prints. Snow scenes are hugely inspirational to the landscape photographer in me (you might have guessed this by the snowy mountains I have as my header) particularly as I experiment with black and white photography. I am also very keen to try macro shots of snowflakes but as the last significant snow was in 2010, I might have to wait a while. In the meantime, snowflakes are falling on this blog, I am singing about the bleak midwinter with my choir and yearning for the real stuff.Here is one of my photographs from the last real winter.

Snow in the Pentland Hills, Scotland

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