So snow has arrived in Edale and it’s beautiful – for us relative newcomers to the valley, a few inches on the hills is a thrill. But no sooner have we stocked up on tinned goods and battened down the hatches in anticipation of further downfalls, our excitement is inevitably overshone by village tales of snows past. “Wait till you see real snow,” has become something of a catchphrase in Edale, delivered with a raise of the eyebrows to those of us who’ve arrived in the last five, even ten years. What generally follows is an anecdote involving ten foot drifts, tractor-based rescues, schools closed for weeks or Christmas guests remaining stranded until long into the New Year. The couple who sold us our house left us with a shed-full of shovels, boots and snowchains “for the winter”. All remain unused.
As the gritters melt what’s left of the snow on the road over the top of Mam Tor and the sunshine makes the tops sparkle (and thaw), I can’t help but be envious of these epic snowfalls we’ve yet to see, and a little worried that the time for dramatic British winters has passed for good. But it is only the beginning of December. Perhaps the coming months will see us become truly stuck in valley, with only ourselves, our shovels and our tinned goods for company, rueing the day we wished for “proper” snow!
As a quick afterthought, I’ve just found this quote from Sylvia Plath. It’s rather reassuring:
“In London the day after Christmas (Boxing Day), it began to snow: my first snow in England. For five years, I had been tactfully asking, ‘Do you ever have snow at all?’ as I steeled myself to the six months of wet, tepid gray that make up an English winter. ‘Ooo, I do remember snow,’ was the usual reply, ‘when I were a lad.'”