stuck in a snowdrift

Last night I slept in a snowdrift, I loved it.

It was a bit of a contrast to the rest of the day the Heritage Crafts Association held our annual conference at the V&A in London. There was me in my best suit and Jeremy West shoes on the podium, after a long but inspiring day I took the train homewards to Macclesfield where there was no snow at all. As I climbed further into the hills the snow got deeper and deeper.

There was no turning back by this point and I finally got stuck for the night. Handy to have a camper van, shame I didn’t have a sleeping bag. I was woken at 10.30pm by some police who were very keen that I should not spend the night there in case I died, not only did I have half a tank of diesel and a heater, I had gas and cooker, there was also a house 250 yards away, when they had gone I brewed up hot chocolate before crashing out again. It was cold and I didn’t have enough insulating material so I slept 2 hours, ran the engine for 20 minutes  to warm up then slept 2 hours all night. At 9 in the morning a JCB and snowplough arrived digging the road out. I have to confess to being slightly disappointed  the night before I had been told there had been a JCB fast track with a snow blower on the front clearing the road and I was really looking forward to seeing it blast it’s way through.

Backing out, it was pretty deep by UK in late March standards.

I headed back to Macclesfield and after trying all the lower routes and finding every road toward Edale was blocked I drove to New Mills dumped the van and got the train. Edale itself is pretty snowy too. This is the road outside my house.

What I find interesting is that having heard about this most folks reaction is “Oh no how terrible”. Yet to me direct experience of the natural environment is one of the things I crave and miss most, the whole thing was a wonderful adventure, at no stage was I ever in the slightest danger and only marginal discomfort.

5 Responses to stuck in a snowdrift

  1. Ronnie (RR) March 25, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Looks horrible, you had more than us. Snow looks nice in photos but I def wouldn't want to be struck in it, unless I was in my lorry this the woodburner.

  2. Stuart Chignell March 25, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Like you I would consider this an adventure. I used to regularly camp in the snow and on the mountains and always make sure that I have a bag of appropriate gear in the car. Unfortunately the son of a fiend of mine died this week caught in the snow because he wasn't prepared. People forget that the environment that we are so familiar with can turn against us when the weather turns.

  3. Robin Wood March 25, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    That's very sad news Stuart. Unless you are in somewhere really pretty remote death or serious injury are often a result of poor understanding of the real risks. Just tunneling into a snowdrift whilst not pleasant will get you enough shelter from the wind chill to stop you dying. If you have poor clothing and lack of food you can be stuffed though. Terrible news for the friend they must be devastated.

  4. David Veale March 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Couldn't agree more with your assessment of this adventure. If you're not filling your life with memorable experiences, you're already dead!

  5. Stuart Chignell March 26, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    We don't know the circumstances because my friend is here in Australia and his Son was caught in the same lot of weather you were in the UK. It appears that there was some sort of accident as well and the police were not able to tell straight away if he had died of the cold or other another injury which did not look too serious apparently.Around here though I am constantly amazed at the number of people who don't treat the elements with respect. Going into areas of wilderness alone and without the right gear to be safe. The two most memorable recent incidents. Were our State Victorian Water Minister getting lost in the Alpine National Park and a number (multiple cars) getting lost in the desert in Western Victoria :