Blizzard conditions and heavy snow wreaked havoc across Tayside and Fife last week but things were far worse in 1947. Gayle Ritchie looks back at the most brutal winter since the mid-19th century.
Much of Scotland was hidden under a blanket of snow last week, and the country now faces the “big thaw” and potential flooding.
However, the recent whiteout was nothing compared with the brutal winter of 1947, which meteorologists and climatologists claim was a “standout year” for the UK.
A long succession of snowstorms between late January and mid-March made that winter the snowiest since the mid-19th century.
In some places, the army was called in to free roads and railways of snowdrifts that were up to seven metres deep.
Though skiers lapped up the conditions at Glenshee in January 1947, farms and roads were reported to have flooded across the Tay Valley.
The weather endured until February, with a report in The Courier on the 6th stating that roads in Arbroath and Montrose had been “buried” in snow.
A force of some 800 men kept the streets of Dundee clear.
In Perthshire there were reports of farmers and shepherds hauling provisions through snow on horse-drawn sledges, and the Angus Glens were hit by severe conditions.
The worst of the weather hit Tayside in March.
It was so bad for some in Glenshee that food supplies had to be airdropped down to homes.
On March 13, the “worst traffic block of the winter” was reported in Tayside with only three roads open.
Scotland as a whole was cut off from England by road and rail, while miners in Fife were unable to get to work due to the hazardous conditions.
To make matters worse, a nationwide fuel shortage directly affected millions of people that winter.
Of course the endless snow meant endless fun for children, who enjoyed sledging through mountains of the stuff across Courier Country.
And teams of men got their hands on tough-looking snow vehicles, which looked like a whole lot of fun!
The look of joy on the faces of this group, below, as they trundle through the snowy streets of Forfar, says it all!
Here’s the front page of the Evening Telegraph on February 11 1947. It told of the big freeze, train delays, huge snow drifts and the clearance operation.