Snow Covered Orkney of March 1946

In early March 1946 deep snow covered the north of Scotland and Orkney.

The council cleared some roads with snow ploughs to allow a few vehicles to get about but for youngsters the sledge became the mode of transport.

East Road, Clay Loan and School Place were very popular for sledging down.

The snow drifted to several feet deep. In Eday horses pulled sleighs when roads became impassable.

In Stromness funeral sledges were used to convey the departed to their last resting place in the Kirkyard.

Army transport struggled with the conditions with many of them being ditched at the wayside.

For some the snow brought a delight of colours and sparkle as conveyed by ‘Islandman’ in his ‘Island Diary, Orkney Herald and Advertiser 5th March 1946’:

As I write, snow, pure, deep and dazzling covers everything in Orkney. The weather could hardly be more perfect. The sky is of that lovely tender blue which is only seen at this time of year, and the sun blazes like a diamond all day. The air is cold and sweet.

I must say I like this weather which is so pure and strange, and reigns for only one week out of fifty two. But in this bad world we pay for everything good, and the prospect of the thaw fills me with dread. An Orkney thaw is a terrible thing. It is sticky and dirty and a fearsome nuisance to ‘gangrel bodies.’

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