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January 2010

1st (Friday) -2.2 C to 0.6 C / trace / 3.0 hours
A cold and bright day with the odd snow flurry at times, this giving a slight dusting on the lawn and flower beds. Remaining largely clear overnight, with some further snow flurries at times.

2nd (Saturday) -2.1 C to 1.4 C / 4.4 mm / 2.2 hours
A cold and bright start to the day, with a dusting of snow on the ground again. Remaining bright for most of the day, but cloud increased by dusk with a short period of heavy snow around 5 pm, this giving a covering of about 3 cm. Soon clearing and cloud breaking up overnight, this allowing temperatures to fall away to about -3 C.

3rd (Sunday) -3.0 C to 1.4 C / trace / 1.3 hours
A cold and bright start again, the snow from last night hard and crunchy on the ground. A few further flurries of snow during the morning, with bright spells in between. Remaining bright into the afternoon, though a lot of thin cloud made the sunshine quite hazy. Clearing overnight, allowing a decent frost to develop again, down as low as -4 C.

Huggatewold & Millingtondale
Another snowy walk on the high Wolds, after some snow yesterday evening. The snow from December had largely thawed, though many of the drifts, as well as snow in shady valleys, had survived to this current fall of fresh snow. Depths were about 3 cm, though in some areas the snow was about 10 cm, and on top of the drifts the depth was often in excess of 30 cm. Road conditions were quite slippery, especially on the Huggate-Wayrham road, but again our Jeep coped wonderfully with the tricky conditions. However towards the end of our walk we had to come to the assistance of a couple who had got stuck near the top of Millingtondale. With some grit and a bit of a push we soon got them going again.

Apart from this drama it was largely a fine and quiet morning, with hardly anyone seen away from the Wayrham road. The wood was beautiful in the snow, with the trees plastered in snow and a nice shallow covering on the woodland floor. It was very slippery mind, with a lot of ice under the lying snow. Wildlife wise the morning was notable for a lot of Hares in the valleys and fields, with at least twenty seen through the morning, and we also saw a Stoat, and plenty of evidence of many more in the snow. Birdwise we saw Buzzards, and winter thrushes, including one beautiful Redwing whose red flanks glowed against the snowy background. A wonderful winter walk again on the high, snowbound Wolds.

4th (Monday) -4.0 C to -0.1 C / 1.0 mm / 3.3 hours
A clear and cold morning, and remaining bright into the afternoon, though there was increasing amounts of high, thin cloud which made the sunshine hazy. Cold all day, the temperature failing to rise above freezing. Variable cloud overnight, but thickening by the end of the night with a spell of snow moving in shortly before dawn.

5th (Tuesday) -3.5 C to 1.8 C / 4.3 mm / sunless
A spell of steady moderate snow during the morning, this adding about 2 cm to the already lying snow (which now lies at about 5 cm). Becoming drier by the afternoon, but remaining grey and overcast, with still some occasional outbreaks of snow at times. Mostly cloudy overnight, but the breeze freshening as it moved around to the north east, this bringing some flurries of snow pellets later.

6th (Wednesday) -0.6 C to 2.7 C / 0.5 mm / 3.5 hours
A bright day by and large, with occasional flurries of snow or snow pellets coming in off the sea on a moderate north easterly breeze. Dying out overnight and becoming largely clear with a decent frost, though the moderate north easterly breeze prevented temperatures dropping very low.

A skein of Grey Geese were seen heading north east today, probably just feral Greylags.

7th (Thursday) -3.9 C to 1.9 C / 2.8 mm / 4.4 hours
A clear and cold start, but snow and snow pellet showers moved in by mid morning, though they were nothing of any great significance. Dying out in the afternoon and becoming largely sunny and crisp, this indeed making for a beautiful winters day. Clear spells at first overnight, but heavy snow showers moved in around midnight, adding another 3 cm to the already lying snow, and giving everything a fresh covering of white. Clearing by dawn.

8th (Friday) -4.0 C to 1.9 C / 4.9 mm / 1.3 hours
A cold and bright start, with about 8 cm of lying snow across the local borough. Remaining bright and sunny for most of the morning, but cloud increased in the afternoon, with a spell of heavy and persistent snow setting in for a time and adding about an extra 6 cm. 14 cm of lying snow recorded by 4 pm, certainly the greatest depth recorded here in Beverley since January 2004, and probably only December 1995 has seen more in the last two decades. Occasional and lighter snow showers continuing overnight, but some clearer and drier spells too, with a low of -4 C. (The spell of heavy snow coincided with the evening rush-hour and this caused motorised traffic to come to a stand still in the local area with many people taking hours to complete otherwise short commutes.)

Huggatewold & Millingtondale
Did the same walk as last time, since more snow has fallen in the past five days with the high Wold roads now needing ploughing as drifts begin to develop along the edge of open and exposed fields. The forecast for the weekend ahead looks like drifting might become a real problem, as strong easterly winds are expected, and so we thought it wise to take advantage of the current conditions before the high Wolds could well become impassable by the weekend. The countryside was looking wonderful under its white blanket, which is now at least four to five inches deep, and in places where the snow had drifted or had settled in sheltered dales was easily in excess of twelve inches. This made walking very hard work, especially on the Wold top between the Millingtondale Head and Huggatewold, but it was well worth the struggle to enjoy this marvellous spectacle, which we had largely to ourselves.

The bleakness of the wold tops was in sharp contrast to the peaceful serenity of the dale woodlands, which were completely plastered in snow from top to bottom. Indeed towards the top of Millingtondale the Elder and Hawthorn shrubs must have had three inches of snow resting on their branches, and even now, some three weeks since this snowy spell began, I cannot grow accustomed to the beauty of these wintry spectacles. The beauty was even greater in Huggatewold Wood, where the scene was like that from the taiga forests of the east, though undoubtedly it was far less cold than it would be there with the temperature hovering around 25 degrees during our walk.

As can be seen in the pictures it was truly a winter wonderland, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunities to enjoy these wonderful spectacles. We indeed are blessed in this Isle of ours, with to me personally the High Wolds the hidden gem of England’s many beautiful corners. May we never take for granted what a beautiful and benign land this is which through the endeavour of past and current generations have made it amongst the most prosperous and fertile of all the nations of this world. To stand atop the high fields and look across the snow laden fields of home, I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been born an Englishman and to now find myself a resident of this East Riding of the great county that is Yorkshire.

9th (Saturday) -4.0 C to 2.5 C / trace / 0.1 hours
Outbreaks of largely light snow during the morning, adding only trace amounts to the 14 cm of lying snow in the garden. Remaining overcast for most of the afternoon, though the outbreaks of light snow largely dying out and becoming actually slightly milder as a ENE breeze picked up. Cloudy overnight, with a moderate to fresh breeze, and the temperature climbing to about 3 C, this leading to a very slight thaw.

10th (Sunday) -0.2 C to 3.0 C / 7.4 mm / sunless
A grey and breezy morning, and milder than recently. Cloud thickening by the afternoon with outbreaks of sleety rain moving in and continuing for the remainder of the day and indeed overnight. This washing much of the snow away, though still a decent covering persisting in the garden.

Garrowby Hill
Went for another wintry walk on the High Wolds, which have now become increasingly snowbound as strong easterly winds have caused some big drifts to develop and many roads are now impassable. Indeed we had intended to walk at Deepdale (Calliswold) but we could not reach there, and indeed we did get stuck in the snow for about an hour and had to dig our way out. We were making good progress but then we ended up off the road and became well and truly stuck, but thankfully the local farmer came to our aid and pulled us out of the drift.

After this adventure we decided to do the walk at the top of Garrowby Hill, parking at the memorial to the wartime aircrash. The snow was very deep in places up here, with general lying depths of about 5 to 6 inches, but in places it was much deeper, easily approaching a foot, while some of the drifts were four to five feet deep. We had to battle our way through some of these drifts, and at times our legs would disappear in there entirety into the deep snow and we had to pull our way through one step at a time. This was extremely exhausting but quite enjoyable nevertheless, as it has been quite a few years since we have seen drifts like this on the Wolds.

Eventually we reached the top of Kirby Underdale, and looked upon the wintry scene at this most attractive of dales. However the wind here was strong and bitter, so strong that the hill had been largely stripped of its snow, with the result that the snow on top of the hill was about 10 inches deep. The wind was also so raw here that my head started to hurt, so we headed back up to the wood and shelter. After a quick break we headed back to the car and home, again struggling through the drifts and deep snow. Despite the minor hardships this was an eventful and enjoyable morning, and if the snow persists for another week that would mean that it has been a full month with snow and ice dominating the Wolds landscape.

11th (Monday) 1.6 C to 2.4 C / 0.5 mm / sunless
A grey, cold, and damp day. Despite the rain last night 6 cm of slushy, grey snow still covers the area, though it would continue to slowly thaw all day, as further periods of rain and drizzle came and went throughout the day and indeed overnight. Becoming murky overnight.

A pair of Redwings were seen in the garden today, notable for up until today I had only observed single individuals in the garden this month.

12th (Tuesday) 1.0 C to 2.4 C / 0.8 mm / sunless
A dull, cold, damp, and murky day, with outbreaks of rain and drizzle. In some of the heavier spells a bit of sleet was seen too. Remaining overcast overnight but becoming largely dry.

13th (Wednesday) 0.7 C to 1.2 C / 0.5 mm / sunless
A very dull and overcast day, with outbreaks of rain, drizzle, and sleet at times. Feeling very cold with the temperature struggling to 1 C. Little change overnight, with the outbreaks of rain and sleet later turning to snow, this giving a slight dusting to those areas which had lost their snow cover in the recent slow thaw.

14th (Thursday) -0.5 C to 2.5 C / 0.3 mm / sunless
A dull, misty, and cold day, the fifth day in a row to see to no sunshine. The slow thaw continuing as well, with the snow cover reduced to less than 50% by the evening. Remaining overcast and misty for most of the night, but some outbreaks of rain moving in later, with the breeze freshening from the south.

15th (Friday) 0.0 C to 5.6 C / 5.0 mm / sunless
Another grey, and overcast day, though slowly becoming slightly milder as the day wore on with the last of the snow patches disappearing by the end of the afternoon. Some outbreaks of rain during the middle of the day too, and the breeze freshening from the south. Drier overnight but remaining   overcast, and quite breezy.

The Snowdrops by the front door are trying to come out, with signs that the flowers are just starting to open.

16th (Saturday) 1.4 C to 4.9 C / 11.5 mm / sunless
A dry start but rain moving in by mid morning, becoming heavy at times and continuing into the afternoon. Drier by dusk but remaining overcast and becoming misty in the evening. Largely cloudy overnight, with a few light showers.

17th (Sunday) -0.1 C to 7.2 C / trace / 2.7 hours
A day with variable amounts of cloud, with some bright periods but also some dull spells too with banks of thick Stratocumulus coming and going. Nevertheless any brightness was much appreciated as this was the first day to see some sunshine since the 9th. It was quite mild too, the temperature climbing to the heady heights of 7 C. Clear spells at first overnight, but cloud increasing later, with some light rain for a time.

Nettledale, & Sylvandale
A walk in the now largely green Wolds, though above 150 metres there are still plenty of fairly substantial snow patches, especially were it had drifted along the hedgerows, but also in shady and sheltered areas of the deep dales, this being particularly the case at the head of Millingtondale where snow still lay on the road. Further down at Nettledale the snow patches were much smaller, but when the golden winter sun shone on the grass in this dale it was a beautiful coppery colour, which I imagine is the result of about a months worth of snow cover on top of it. Its amazing to see just how colourful the countryside is, even in mid winter, as after a prolonged spell of snow you forget there are other colours apart from black and white. I also have to say the sun this morning was very welcome, as the recent grey and overcast days of the past fortnight were becoming increasingly depressing and gloomy.

Upon reaching the bench at the top of the Wold the view over the pretty village of Millington under the bright winter skies was a delight to behold, and this bench is undoubtedly in one of the most tranquil and beautiful spots in the entire Yorkshire Wolds. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay here all day and from here we made our way down the sheer vertical descent into Sylvandale, and the lovely little ford and pond which is in the heart of Millingtondale. It was here that I briefly a spied a Water Rail along the waters edge though it quickly took cover when it noticed our presence. This shy, skulking water bird seem to come here every winter now, as we did see one last February here during the cold and snowy start of that month. A fine ornithological observation ending what was a lovely and interesting walk in the heart of the mid-Wolds, with the grip of winter releasing its hold, for now at least anyway.

18th (Monday) 1.1 C to 8.8 C / nil / 4.3 hours
A bright day with plenty of sunny spells throughout, and mild too, feeling pretty spring like infact. Very welcome after recent grey and damp conditions. Clear spells at first overnight, but thick fog developing by late evening. This becoming shallower overnight, and thinning to mist later with a decent frost under clear skies. With the high humidity the frost was very white by dawn.

The birds are already responding to the lengthening days, and with the milder conditions today the local songbirds were heard widely, warming up for the glories of the springtime dawn chorus in the weeks ahead. Amongst the birds heard most widely today were Blackbirds, Song thrushes, and Robins.

19th (Tuesday) -2.6 C to 4.6 C / 0.2 mm / sunless
A clear, frosty, and misty start but fog forming by 8 am and becoming very thick by mid morning with visibility below 100 metres for a time. The fog only slowly lifting through the day, but a freshening wind in the afternoon eventually blew most of it away, though it did remain grey and overcast with only moderate visibilities. The wind continuing to freshen from the south east overnight, this bringing lots of cloud in off the sea along with some cold drizzle.

20th (Wednesday) 0.4 C to 3.3 C / trace / sunless
A dull, grey, and overcast day, with some light drizzle during the morning and quite cool too with the temperature hovering around 3 C throughout the day and indeed during the night.

21st (Thursday) 2.0 C to 4.5 C / 11.3 mm / sunless
A dull and overcast day on the whole, though the cloud did lift and break for a short time just around dusk. However soon thickening up again, with spells of heavy rain moving in towards the end of the night. The breeze also freshening with the rain.

22nd (Friday) 2.2 C to 5.7 C / 9.5 mm / sunless
A very wet morning, with persistent moderate rain, and some heavier spells too, particularly early in the morning. Lighter and more drizzly by noon, but becoming heavier again for a time mid afternoon. Eventually clearing after dusk, but remaining dull and cloudy, with another short spell of rain during the night.

23rd (Saturday) 4.0 C to 5.7 C / nil / sunless
A dull and grey day with little of anything of note.

24th (Sunday) 1.9 C to 5.2 C / 2.4 mm / sunless
A cloudy morning, with the odd brighter period at first, but the cloud soon thickened up with some spells of rain by the afternoon. Continuing through the evening, but amounting to nothing significant, and becoming generally drier overnight, though it remained overcast.

Derwent Ings
We headed to the far west of the county this morning, intending to visit one of my favourite bird reserves, Wheldrake Ings, in the heart of the Derwent winter floods. However we could get no nearer than the car park, as extensive flooding made the reserve unreachable without at the very least waist high waders. This of course was very disappointing but nevertheless it was very interesting to see the extensive flooding, with the Derwent nearly as high as the bridge across the river. As a result of the inaccessibility of the reserve we decided to do a tour around the Derwent Ings, heading first up to the Wheldrake viewing point. Here their were two people bird ringing, collecting the normal hedgerow birds such as tits, and Robins.

From the view point we could see a few birds out on the floods, including Wigeon, Teal, and Geese. After visiting here we headed back down to Bubwith and then proceeded to head north along the eastern shore of the river, eventually reaching the small village of East Cottingwith which lies at the end of the Pocklington Canal where it joins the Derwent. Infact it is barely more than half a mile south of Wheldrake Ings, with the windmill at the reserve clearly visible to the north. This area is extensively flooded at the moment to the point where the Pocklington Canal and River Derwent have become one large lake, and in places the water was over-spilling some of the flood defences, though as yet no properties are under threat. However if I lived in this area I would be very worried about any further significant rain. Hopefully February will bring more in the way of settled weather.

25th (Monday) 2.4 C to 2.5 C / trace / sunless
Another dull, grey, and cold January day, with some bits and pieces of rain during the first half of the morning. Otherwise uneventful and the seventh day in a row to see no sunshine. Indeed since the 10th just seven hours of sun have been recorded, and that came on just two days. Remaining cloudy through the night.

26th (Tuesday) 0.4 C to 4.0 C / nil / 0.4 hours
An overcast and dull morning, but becoming gradually brighter by mid-day, with even the odd sunny spell breaking through, the first sun recorded since the 18th. However this was short lived and it became grey and cloudy again by the end of the afternoon. Remaining overcast through the night.

27th (Wednesday) 1.0 C to 8.2 C / 0.2 mm / 0.1 hours
A cloudy and breezy day, with some quite strong gusts in the afternoon. This winter thus far has seen very little in the way of strong winds and indeed today’s strongest gust of a modest 34 knots is the highest thus far. Cloud breaking up by the end of the afternoon, and clear spells developing in the evening and overnight, though the moderate breeze prevented temperatures from falling very far.

28th (Thursday) 2.9 C to 6.3 C / 1.5 mm / 3.4 hours
A bright and breezy morning, with clear blue skies for a time, a real rarity thus far this month. However cloud increased in the afternoon, slowly thickening up by the evening with some outbreaks of moderate rain for a time. Remaining largely cloudy overnight, though there some breaks from time to time. The odd shower later though as well.

29th (Friday) 2.0 C to 3.5 C / 1.0 mm / 2.9 hours
A largely cloudy morning, with the odd shower, though becoming increasingly bright as the morning progressed, with sunny spells by mid-day. Becoming colder with the brighter conditions, and the showers became increasingly wintry in the afternoon, with some snow, though not heavy enough to settle. Becoming clear in the evening, with a frost developing, but cloud increased again after midnight with occasional snow showers moving in, though they gave no more than a dusting to the garden.

30th (Saturday) -1.9 C to 2.8 C / trace / 5.7 hours
A bright morning with a dusting of snow covering the district. This survived all day in most places, with temperatures struggling to rise much above freezing. However it was a lovely crisp and sunny winters day, and though there was a cold breeze in the morning this became lighter in the afternoon. Remaining clear overnight with another frost.

31st (Sunday) -2.0 C to 2.9 C / nil / 6.3 hours
Another sunny and crisp winter’s day, with plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies. Temperatures again struggling to rise much above freezing, this allowing the dusting of snow from yesterday to survive yet another day. In total sixteen days this January have seen lying snow, easily a new record for this weather station. Clear again overnight with a frost.

The garden Snowdrops are continuing to emerge, though even now most are still a week or two from being fully out. Indeed the cold weather this month has meant that most of the late winter / early spring flowers are still far from out, including the Aconites which as of yet are still below the ground. When compared to some recent winters this is remarkably late, and it will be interesting to see when they do finally make an appearance.

Deepdale (Calliswold)
A lovely walk in this beautiful high Wolds valley with a decent amount of frost and lovely winter sunshine. The sun was actually surprisingly warm out of the wind and sitting on the grassy dale side amongst the gorse was most pleasant and indeed dare I say spring like. Perhaps that is not that surprising for it is nearly February and indeed the signs of spring are beginning to subtly appear here and there, including emerging Snowdrops in North Dalton. However in terms of the weather winter will remain dominant for another month or two and the hardness of the frost in the dale bottom emphasised that point with the ground like stone. Wildlife and birdlife are also quite scarce at the moment, though there are a lot of Hares out in the fields, and roving bands of finches were observed amongst the winter crops. A small flock of Fieldfares was also seen feeding on the ground at the top of the valley, and they allowed some good views through the bins with their handsome plumage looking particularly good in the weak light. A fine morning at what is perhaps my favourite dale.