It might only be mid October, but Highland Council is preparing to launch its winter roads plan this week.
The gritting programme will begin tomorrow and carry on through the winter to April 2022.
In this time period, they expect to spread around 50,000 tonnes of salt on Highland roads.
More than 200 members of staff will be involved in the gritting, operating 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and one snowblower between them.
As well as clearing roads, their job also includes topping up more than 1,750 grit bins.
Winter road maintenance as a whole is expected to cost around £5 million.
No concerns for salt stocks
There are no concerns regarding salt stocks for the upcoming winter, and planned deliveries should ensure this is maintained.
Council leader Margaret Davidson has urged people to do their bit to keep their communities moving by applying for a new grit bin if required.
She said: “Our salt stockpiles are in place to ensure we have enough to service as much of the region as possible.
“If people think there is a need for a new grit bin in their area, please don’t wait until it snows or gets icy – please apply now.”
Locals can apply for a new grit bin on the Highland Council website.
As well as checking there are adequate grit bins, locals can take other steps to keep their area safe from slippy roads and pavements.
Like in previous years, snow shovels and pushers, gloves and hi-vis vests and health and safety advice will be given to any volunteers who wish to clear snow and ice themselves.
When will roads be treated?
Gritting services will begin at 6am on all roads from Monday to Friday.
Weekend service includes treatment of all primary routes, strategic secondary routes and difficult other routes.
Trunk roads including the A9 Inverness to Perth, A96 Inverness to Aberdeen, A82 Inverness to Fort William, and A87 Invergarry to Uig are the responsibility of Bear Scotland.
This is much the same as in previous years, as chairwoman of the economy and infrastructure committee Trish Robertson explained: “There have been no changes to this year’s Highland-wide winter policy so service levels throughout the local areas will remain, essentially, unchanged from last year.
“Any variations to service delivery are determined by councillors at area committees to suit local areas.”
The council have warned that gritting services could be impacted by Covid if an outbreak should force staff to isolate, limiting resources.
In this case, services would focus on priority routes and some areas could experience delays until alternative options become available.