Motorists caused chaos on one of the north’s busiest roads yesterday as thousands flocked to the slopes to make the most of perfect skiing conditions.
Police were called to the A82 Fort William-Glasgow road at Glencoe after scores of drivers parked their cars on the verge of the trunk route, causing a hazard to large vehicles trying to pass.
Officers were seen walking up and down the lines of cars yesterday afternoon, taking down the registration numbers of the offending vehicles.
The weekend rush to the hills came as forecasters predicted temperatures would plummet to as low as -15C in some places overnight, making it the coldest night of the year.
Snowsports fans enjoyed blue skies and fresh snow at centres across the north and north-east yesterday.
Glencoe Mountain Resort, which was marking World Snow Day, said it had stopped selling tickets because its car park was full by early afternoon. A spokeswoman described the ski centre as “mobbed”.
However, problems began after determined skiers decided to park on the verge of the busy A82, effectively turning the trunk road into a single carriageway.
One man who was caught up in the chaos said: “It’s ridiculous that they have parked here.
“There’s no room for lorries to get past.”
The police confirmed that they had been asked to attend and were directing traffic in the area.
Despite the parking problems, 1,600 people enjoyed skiing at the resort in what the spokeswoman said were “fantastic conditions”.
The Lochaber centre was not the only one affected by problems on the roads.
Glenshee Ski Centre was cut off for most of the day due to an accident on the A93 Aberdeen-Blairgowrie road at Bridge of Gairn.
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a learner driver in the accident on Royal Deeside between Ballater and Braemar.
The road reopened at 3pm after police investigations.
Snow and ice meant the road from the south was also impassable to most and only a few made it to the Glenshee resort, which could only open a handful of runs on the lower levels because of high winds.
Overnight snow at Cairngorm Mountain also blocked its access road yesterday morning.
Keen visitors formed queues several miles long along the road from Glenmore towards Coylumbridge.
In another incident, a skier was airlifted from CairnGorm Mountain after colliding with a snow blower.
The air ambulance landed at CairnGorm Mountain around midday after an earlier accident on the pistes.
It is understood a young male skier was taken to Raigmore Hospital with a suspected fractures.
Janette Jansson, general manager at CairnGorm Mountain Ltd, said that the skier had gone slightly off piste.
She said that conditions were perfect yesterday, adding that 2,000 visited on Saturday and 1,700 yesterday.
The resort’s top runs were closed because of poor conditions.
At Nevis Range, there were 3,000 people over the two days, including 1,800 who enjoyed top-to bottom skiing yesterday.
The Met Office yesterday issued a yellow “be aware” warning for snow and ice overnight and into this morning.
The warning covers the eastern coastline of the Highlands, including Caithness, Sutherland, Easter Ross, Inverness and Nairnshire.
Moray and Aberdeenshire are also covered by the warning.
Motorists are being advised that driving conditions could be tricky, with the possibility that rain could turn to ice on freezing, untreated surfaces.
Meteorologist Graeme Whipps said that around two inches of snow was expected, although the winds would lighten.
He added: “At low levels, there could be problems with freezing roads. Rain could wash away the treatment.
“It will be a very cold night. When you have snow cover and light winds and clear skies, it is a recipe for a cold night.
“I think we could see around -15C. It could be the coldest this season.”