January began with the garden and landscape under snow, a situation that continued until the 11th, with the temperature on many days never getting above freezing, and some very hard frosts, with minus 12 degrees C registered one morning, and often minus 5 degrees C by 3 pm in the afternoon as the sun fell away.
These low temperatures came, inevitably, with some clear skies and sunshine, which was a welcome change after the gloom of the latter part of December. Our own records had mirrored the official Met Office report for 2020, that it was both one of the wettest, but also the sunniest year we’ve experienced here. Although this was skewed towards a marvellous sunny spring 2020, and a very wet autumn and winter, as shown by the PV readout for the year. The rainfall total for the year was 2257.4 mm.
The very cold start to January has restricted most activities, save alpine walking and work on the access track, top dressing several sections with 20 mm gravel – we’ve found this is longer lasting than the previously used gravel to dust, or ‘scalpings’, even if a little more expensive.
A secondary significant snowfall on the morning of January 3rd, approaching from the North as the sun rose, created some wonderful light effects, but exacerbated the treacherous state of the local roads.
This didn’t seem to put off many vehicles chancing the hill above our house, in spite of hospitals currently being close to being overwhelmed with Covid cases, and the third national lockdown still being in place, and just extended throughout the whole of the month of January.