THEY may have a reputation as being among the most graceful and elegant birds, but this swan found the going tough yesterday after Linlithgow Loch turned into an ice rink overnight.
Temperatures plummeted across the country, with some places dipping to as low as -10C, as the UK experienced one the coldest nights of the winter so far.
Last night, drivers were being told to be on their guard for widespread freezing fog and icy conditions as the chill continued.
Scotland was the coldest part of the UK overnight into yesterday, with the mercury dipping to -10.5C at Tulloch Bridge, and Braemar in Aberdeenshire not far behind with -10.1C.
Parts of northern England also shivered. Areas in Cumbria dropped to as low as -6C, while many others parts of the country hovered around -1C and -2C.
John Lee, forecaster at the MeteoGroup, said yesterday: “Across the board there was a very widespread frost – only a few coastal areas escaped the worst of it.”
The cold snap looked set to continue for much of the rest of the week, Mr Lee said, predicting a cold start today.
He said: “It is turning unsettled from Thursday night onwards, but for the next couple of days at least it’s going to stay very cold.
“Wednesday night there’s a fairly sharp frost. At the moment it looks like -4C and -5C is possible for some parts.”
The Met Office issued weather warnings at the start of the week as it predicted a severe cold snap bringing freezing fog and snow showers as the front moves in from Russia.
In England, an amber cold weather alert was still in place last night, with warnings that the icy conditions would be slow to clear during the day,
The weather front causing the plunge in temperatures across the UK has been dubbed the “Beast from the East”.
The freezing weather has prompted bookmakers William Hill to cut the odds that the UK will suffer its coldest winter yet from 14/1 to 8/1. It is 30 years since the lowest ever UK temperature was recorded, when the mercury plunged to -27.2C in Aberdeenshire.
William Hill also reduced the odds on the chances of a white Christmas, with Aberdeen seen as the most likely, at 2/1, just ahead of Edinburgh and Glasgow, at 5/2.