Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

The Beast from the East

Cold air from the east is bringing weather mayhem. Or some snow and what we British like to call mayhem. As Bill Bryson once commented, a British blizzard is an American flurry.

Fresh snow is always a chance to view things afresh. It’s a luxurious time for tracking, when even neophytes are spoiled for choice.

But it is also a good time to remind ourselves how the sun behaves and the footprints it leaves on the ground.

My thanks to Gareth Cross for these images from his van.

In the top one we are looking east. Notice how the snow forms a line along the shaded southern side of the track, which is what we should expect. But also how the conifer throws a longer shadow than the hedge and stops the snow from thawing.

In the bottom picture we’re looking west. Notice how sunlight can make it through the gate and thaw the snow there.