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Schools shut, snowbound roads: Highlands hit by winter weather

The lorry jack-knifed near Newtonmore in snowy conditions
The lorry jack-knifed near Newtonmore in snowy conditions

There was disruption across the Highlands yesterday as hundreds of pupils enjoyed a day off school and snow affected travel.

A spate of accidents on snowbound roads meant delays for many motorists,with a row over gritting erupting.

Forecasters warned of further snow, sub-zero temperatures and 70mph winds before a thaw on Sunday.

Horses feed in the snow  in Newtonmore.
Horses feed in the snow in Newtonmore.

A combination of fierce weather, powercuts and a break in water supply led to the school closures.

Two secondary, 10 primary and three nursery schools were closed, affecting 401 pupils.

It meant an extra day off for youngsters at Altnaharra, Bower, Cromarty, Crossroads, Farr, Kinlochbervie, Kinlochewe, Melvich, Reay and Tongue.

All routes in Badenoch and Strathspey had packed snow and ice. There was also a heavy overnight snowfall in Nairnshire, Caithness and north Sutherland.

Lochaber had snow and hail as did Skye, Lochalsh and southwest Ross.

There were numerous minor accidents in which vehicles slid into ditches but with no serious injuries reported.

In Sutherland, a council gritter broke down on the B869 Drumbeg road. Another skidded off the road landing on its side at Loth near Helmsdale.

East Sutherland and Edderton councillor Deirdre Mackay had numerous complaints that stretches of the A9 had not been gritted. There were two accidents just south of Brora and another near the Trentham Hotel, Dornoch.

Councillor Mackay, who came across one of the accidents, said: “The road was treacherous. It seems it had not been gritted.”

A light dusting of snow on the Struie between Ardross and Ardgay yesterday morning.
A light dusting of snow on the Struie between Ardross and Ardgay yesterday morning.

A spokeswoman for trunk route maintenance firm Bear Scotland said: “Our teams worked round the clock in difficult conditions to treat routes across the north including the A9 near Dornoch.

“Our spreaders carried out salt treatments at 5pm on Wednesday and 4am this (Thursday) morning, as well as continuously monitoring the area, treating and clearing snow as required in between the planned treatments and throughout the day.”

Further south on the A9, a fuel tanker jacknifed at 7.30am at Etteridge, Newtonmore, causing delays.

Highland Council insisted streets in the Cradlehall area of Inverness were gritted despite reports to the contrary in an area that had a spate of minor collisions.

Six coastguard personnel were recruited by Orkney Council to help erect flood prevention barriers at the slipway at St Margaret’s Hope on the eve of Spring tides.

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