When Winter was Wintry


Winter 2010

There was a time when the seasons were predictable – they were the staging posts of the year. The choreography was reliable, you knew what to expect and when it would happen. Winters were wintry in general. That meant the temperatures were overall low-ish. There was occasional snow and frosty nights. Days of wind and rain. Grey days and sunny days. The weather was variable, but overall a winter was predictable (that may sound like a contradiction) – but it was as expected a bit of this and a bit of that and you planned accordingly. The other seasons were predictable too. Daffodils arrived in time for Easter not in January or even December as has happened this winter in some sheltered places.

There is always something very reassuring about predictability. It’s like a safe pair of hands. Nowadays, the script has been thrown out of the window. The weather has become more extreme: it blows hot or cold, flood or drought and more often than not gets stuck in a rut. It won’t or can’t change. It’s like a gramophone record that’s got stuck in a groove.

This December is proving to be one of the warmest (if not the warmest) on record. And the warmth is accompanied by storm after storm battering the north-west of England and Scotland with flood after flood. People up north are having a truly awful month.

I feel like shouting: ‘Enough! Change the record.’ But no-one’s listening, except that it is just possible in the medium to long-term that the recent climate conference in Paris might see some action to prevent the situation getting any worse, but I’m not holding my breath.


Icicles on Christmas Day 2010

Five years ago, December was notable for it’s persistent extreme cold. On Christmas Day we walked through the village admiring the curtains of icicles hanging from the guttering of buildings.


Icicles on Christmas Day 2010

No icicles this year, but the Ice Cream purveyors might be quite popular as people wander around in their shirt sleeves and shorts.

And it is not just the UK that is over-warm. Much of Northern Europe is suffering the same fate and ski resorts are in desperate need of snow. As yet we have no ski trip booked but having missed a summer holiday this year we are desperate for an escape to the mountains. But for the time being we are just watching and waiting for the snow to arrive.


The Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc from Col de Balme in 2005.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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15 Responses to When Winter was Wintry

  1. hmunro says:

    We’re also still waiting for winter across the pond here in Minnesota, where we seem to be stuck in an EP version of fall. I’m not a cold-weather girl, so I don’t mind — though I can’t help wondering what it portends for the long-term. But in the short-term I’m at least content to look at your beautiful images and join you in reminiscing about when winter used to be winter.


  2. Have a wonderful holiday Andy. It feels like spring in Toronto today. Just crazy!


  3. shoreacres says:

    Well, I’m one of those who still refuses to panic over the weather. I think part of it’s because I live in hurricane country, and every year we watch computer projections fall apart in front of us. Computer models don’t do well five days out for hurricanes, so I’m not going to start twitching over a model that’s projecting fifty years out.

    Beyond that, we’ve surely had our cycles. Twenty five years ago, we went through a period where every Christmas meant a sail on the bay — often in tee shirts. Just a few years ago, at the edge of that same bay, I was building a snowman on Christmas day. So, now it’s warm. The world is alive, and does as it will. Supporting reasonable human changes and admiring what the “new” seasons bring is the better part of wisdom, I think.


  4. ShimonZ says:

    Really enjoy those beautiful icicle pictures… and as for the weather, I prefer to take nothing for granted. There were ice ages and hot periods long before man started heating up the atmosphere. I wonder sometimes if we don’t take ourselves a bit too seriously.


  5. theaterwiz says:

    A mild 58 here in Ohio today, just crazy, Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  6. Len says:

    After last year’s terrible winter in the northeastern US, I was tempted to move south to warmer climates. We didn’t but it seems, like you, the warmer weather has moved to us. Hope that trend continues for a while at least.


    • LensScaper says:

      All the best for 2016, Len. The mild weather is on the wane here I think but the rains in the north of the UK are still causing widespread havoc and flooding. Seems we can’t have warmth without undesirable consequences


  7. Chillbrook says:

    I do miss the frosts and those cold misty mornings Andy! Hoping for some snow in the Alps for you!


    • LensScaper says:

      We will be off to the Alps in March this year – time for the snow to arrive in quantities. If the forecasters are to be believed they are saying that the end of winter will be cold – that should be good for the ski slopes. All the best for the starts of the New Year to you, Adrian


  8. Chillbrook says:

    I should say that Iceland is having a really bad time with snow this year in that they’ve go so much.. plenty of good skiing in Akureyri Andy! 🙂


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