My new granddaughter, Annabelle, was having her dedication service last Sunday, so we left the island on Thursday amidst weather warnings for the whole of the north of Scotland, going right down the east coast to Edinburgh. This was slap bang in the route we would be taking, but we wanted to be at the service and see the little one and the rest of the family, as we had not seen them in person, apart from Skype, since the summer. There was lots of snow at the side of the road, but the roads were black all the way down, thank goodness.
We went to Glasgow first, to see my father-in-law, who has Alzheimer's. He remembered my name eventually, but could not remember his son at all. It was so sad, as they were really close. We went back over to Penicuik, and despite a bit more snow, we were able to go shopping for party shoes for the girls. The shops were not busy at all, and a lot of them had sales on already. The recession seems to be biting.
Overnight, there was a huge change. When we looked out the hotel window there was at least ten inches of snow, and we did not know if we could get out of the car park! We were supposed to give a lift to my daughter's friends, but we could not get to my daughter's house, so they had to walk down to us. The main roads were not bad, but the side roads were terrible. Seventy people were supposed to attend the dedication, but only fifteen arrived. We had a lovely service and a nice bowl of hot soup and homemade treats afterwards. You can see Annabelle in our heirloom christening gown with the rest of the family. The gown was handsewn by nuns in Madeira and was bought by my grandmother's first husband, who also bought her another gown and her wedding dress there too (I have the skirt of this). Unfortunately he was lost at sea, before they had any children. I am guessing the gowns are about 100 years old.
We were warned by the congregation not to go north, but it was just as well be did, because a lot of the roads closed after we left, and Edinburgh had a dump of snow, thereafter!
The next part of the journey was HORRENDOUS!!!! We were trying to reach Inverness, which usually takes about 3-3.5 hours. We finally made it eight hours later, but how we did, I'll never know! Some of the photos are taken just holding the camera out of the window, but for the most part I was too scared to do anything but look at the snow, driving at the windscreen. The first two photos below show the M9 motorway, heading towards Perth. On our side, there was only one lane open, and it had a two inch crust of solid ice on it. When you stopped, which was every two minutes, the car just slid sideways. If you look carefully at the other side, you will see the cars are completely stopped. There was a fourteen mile tailback (including the snow plough!) and people had been in the queue for so long that they had built five feet high snowmen at the side of the carriageway and walking their dogs - on the motorway!!
We waited in the queue for over thirty minutes and decided to take a diversion to Perth. We just got on that road when some cars got stuck. Fortunately, a snow plough came up and we managed to bypass the worst of the traffic.
We had a hairy drive on the diversion through Aviemore. This road closed soon after. When we got to the hotel in Inverness, we both had a strong drink and collapsed into bed.
I will tell you about us getting home safe and sound tomorrow!