Tuesday to Thursday. After the brief excursion into temperatures just above zero on Monday, the weather reverted to type with the next three days providing consistent light to moderate SE’lys, temperatures consistently below zero and the site in cloud. The only variation to this theme was some more generally light snow on Tuesday and overnight Wednesday/Thursday. A phone call to Josephine on Thursday, manfully (or should that be womanfully) maintaining the office services (See picture below), revealed that she had parked her car on the road near the visitor centre and had been transported from there to the club byAndy Parish in his Land Rover.
The metalled part of the route was considered passable with care by 2 wheel drive vehicles but the club access road was definitely not. Armed with this knowledge, I set off through the murk, with light levels getting significantly higher as I neared the top of Sutton Bank. However, on cresting the top the visibility returned to being very poor and remained so for the rest of the journey. Turning cautiously off the A170, I found the first 50 yards of the the metalled access road very icy, but beyond there, the driving surface was packed snow, with some evidence of the road having been ploughed. The laden, all terrain logging lorry that emerged from the gloom as I drove up the road, was able to drive round me, and my journey up the rest of the road was not a problem, although the compacted drifts just before the right hand bend provided an undulating ride. On arriving at the entrance to the club road I initially drove just past and tried to back in but this proved impossible, so I backed up and drove in frontwards, the snow here being firm and packed down.
Once arrived on site, I found the snow levels had barely changed, but the lying snow had developed a frozen crust which occasionally was strong enough to support your weight. Andy had got out the ex Carlton tractor with the bucket and had attempted to start to clear the snow from in front of the hangar. However, a lack of grip foiled this attempt, as the photo shows.
However, with two of us now on site, we took the red tractor round behind the trailer park where its bucket resided and, after connecting the two, spent a profitable and very enjoyable time clearing the car park of the worst of its snow cover, as shown below. You pay a fortune at Digger Land for this sort of entertainment.
With the car park now cleared of the majority of its snow cover, and the light starting to fade, we put the tractor back in its shed and Andy returned to the office to do some more admin. I returned to the car down the rutted club access road.
I had an uneventful ride home, although I did manage to see some blue sky and sunshine through a wave slot just downwind of the ridge north of Gormire, as a descended Sutton Bank. For all you YGC glider pilots suffering withdrawal symptoms, I include below a photo of the some of the toys snug in one of the hangars.