Sandra Dick: It's cold and wet . . but it can be fun

With the Capital buried in the biggest snowfall since 1963, Sandra Dick provides some top tips on enjoying the winter weather

IT won't have escaped the attention of many that there has been some rather chilly weather of late, leaving the Capital crippled by a frozen white blanket of snow.

Amidst all the gloom and doom however it is worth remembering that there's no point sitting about complaining when what's really happened is that Mother Nature has provided us with a glorious wintry playground.

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If we've got to be stuck with it, then we might as well make the best of it.

So throw on your winter warm woollies, put extra thick socks under your welly boots, be brave and head outside. Who knows? It might even turn out to be fun.


There's more than enough snow out there to make as many snowmen - or women - as you like, and the bigger and more creative the better.

Ice sculpture specialist Phillip Hughes says there is a degree of technique involved in ensuring your snowman beats the neighbours' efforts.

"A lot depends on the snow - if it's too slushy or too icy it's going to be more difficult. It's important to make sure you snowman is solid and big enough on the bottom to take whatever you put on top. Start the traditional way with a snowball and roll it into a big, round ball."

A smaller shape on top, and then you can set about making the fine detail using spades, chisels, even saws.

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Decorate your snowman with a wig, a hat or even slip a bikini across his snowy frame.


How hard can it be? Sit on something flat, point yourself downhill and off you go.

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It's crucial to sit properly on your sledge. For a round sledge, sit cross-legged, for a long one, sit with legs out in front or lie on your back. The Royal Society for the Prevent of Accidents recommends not sledging downhill head first for fairly obvious reasons.

Don't forget that sledging can be dangerous. It might be tempting to go "urban sledging" - throwing yourself down snow covered city streets - but high speeds combined with various random pieces of street furniture do not make for a safe sport. So choose a clear, gentle hill without any obstacles, that sweeps down to a naturally flat plateau.


According to Brian McDonald, senior editor at website, a number of key factors make up the perfect snow missile.

"The ideal temperature should be right around freezing. Scoop out the snow from underneath the surface because it's already been gently packed. Scoop enough snow to fill your cupped hands. Close your hands together and begin rotating them as if you were trying to trap an insect without killing it.

"When you feel that the gradual pressure is met with some resistance, withdraw a hand from the snowball. Round out the oval into a true sphere, and begin pressing again in the same fashion. Repeat until you have the perfect snowball." And then … throw.


Experienced skiers and snowboarders have never had it so good. Since the snow started falling, hundreds have taken to the slopes at Midlothian Snowsports Centre.

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The centre is open for business for skiers and snowboarders, access roads are clear and, if you don't have your own equipment, there's plenty of quality boots, boards and skis to hire - just bring identification with you.


Fed up shovelling snow and getting nowhere? Well just eat it instead.

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Make snow ice cream using 250ml milk, 125ml sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Add in around five to seven cups of snow - enough to make it thick - and tuck in.

Or try making slushy drinks: pack some snow into plastic cups and pour over fruit juice such as apple, orange, grape or tropical. Decorate the garden with some outdoor lights, wrap up warm and have a snow party.


There's nothing like a wintry hell to revive some old fashioned community spirit.

If you've barely said two words to the neighbours, now's the time to head out, shovel in hand, and pitch in. Clearing up driveways, making footpaths safe and checking to see if anyone needs anything from the corner shop doesn't take up too much time and the rewards could outweigh the effort.

Who knows, with a bit of extra effort, this wintry nightmare could actually turn out to be not that bad after all.


Some good spots for sledging

1 Blackford Hill

2 Craighouse Hill, Morningside

3 Starbank Park, Newhaven

4 Braidburn Valley

5 Swanston Golf Course

6 Figgate Park, Duddingston

7 Corstorphine Hill

8 Lochend Park

9 Bonaly Country Park

Popular spots for snowmen etc

10 Harrison Gardens

11 The Meadows