Winter began to bite in earnest yesterday with snow blanketing parts of the north and winds up to 60mph causing ferry chaos.
Met Office forecaster Greg Wolverson said up to 3in of snow fell on some parts of the Highlands, with the heaviest showers falling at the Spittal of Glenshee in Aberdeen-shire.
Mr Wolverson said: “The heavy showers were around south of Inverness. The western hills fared pretty well.
“We have put a warning out for some icy patches on Highland roads. Temperatures are around freezing and ground temperatures are lower.”
There were gales in the west, with wind speeds reaching 60mph at Stornoway, causing major disruption to ferry routes. Sailings to North Uist, Harris, Lewis, Iona, Colonsay, Barra, Eriskay and Ardnamurchan were cancelled due to the fierce conditions.
One passenger who had been on an earlier crossing from Ullapool to Stornoway said: “CalMac has cancelled all sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool. No surprise there. Such was the ferocity coming here that the rail you’re asked to hold on when moving about the boat collapsed with someone holding on to it. Rough rough.”
A spokesman for operator CalMac said: “Strong northerly winds gusting up to 60mph has caused major disruption. We regret any inconvenience caused but trust ferry passengers will understand that we will always make their safety our priority.”
Mr Wolverson said last night: “Throughout the day the winds transferred further east.
“Thursday is a gradually improving picture becoming a much more settled condition. The snow showers will continue on high routes throughout the morning but the wind will start to ease. Come afternoon there will be bright sunny spells and the weather will be a bit more pleasant to be out and about in. It will stay settled towards the weekend.”