Early morning snowfall wreaked havoc for residents across the north yesterday as schools were closed and trees were blown over at numerous locations.
The biggest hindrance occurred in the morning as motorists travelling north on the A9 faced disruption, with the road closed in both directions at Slochd and police alerting travellers that even snow ploughs were even struggling with the treacherous conditions.
Police officers could be seen assisting motorists at the scene of the closures before it was passable around 9.30am.
Numerous transport links across the north were disrupted due to the elements, cutting off vital links to communities.
Ferries out of Mallaig to the Small Isles and Uist were cancelled for the duration of the day, as was the Ullapool to Stornoway, Oban to Colonsay and Oban to Barra CalMac-operated services because of the adverse conditions.
The scheduled North Link ferries from Stromness and Scrabster were axed yesterday morning, with the 6.45am CityLink service bus from Inverness to Edinburgh delayed by 80 minutes on the A9 at Slochd.
Winter also returned with a vengeance in parts of the north-east and Moray yesterday as freezing cold conditions swept across the region, bringing snow gate closures and major travel issues.
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Staff at the Cairngorm Mountain Snowsports centre reported more than 16 inches of snowfall at its base station, which lies 2,066ft above sea level.
The snow gates on the B974 Cairn O’ Mount road, between Banchory and Fettercairn, were shut as blizzards piled snow high on the route, causing major delays for drivers.
The A93 Braemar to Spittal of Glenshee snow gate was also shut in both directions due to the treacherous conditions.
One part of the north-east which welcomed the April snowstorms was the Lecht ski centre on the A939 between Cockbridge and Tomintoul.
The slopes were coated in snowfall, and yesterday the centre’s management said they hoped it would continue for a weekend of snowboarding and skiing.
Fallen trees in Golspie and Drumnadrochit brought slight delays to motorists, with short road closures put in place whilst the trees were dealt with.
In total, 476 pupils were handed the day off as bad weather closed Kingussie High School, with both Strathdearn Primary and Nursery closed due to the loss of water, heating and power.
Nine pupils at Scoraig Primary and Nursery were sent home after the school closed due to travel issues caused by adverse weather.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “Scoraig Primary School was closed today because of weather conditions affecting staff and pupil travel in getting to school safely.”
Highland League football also took the strain of the unfavourable weather with the Northern Derby tie between Wick Academy and nearby Brora Rangers postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.