Fenland skaters welcome frozen temperatures

ICY conditions have turned into a blessing in disguise for Fenland’s skaters.

Frozen snow ice at Whittlesey wash, Sutton Gault and Welney wash during the recent cold snap created perfect conditions for skating over the flooded marshlands.

But residents were urged to make the most of the skating opportunities as: “A piece of ice that is good one day, can be unskateable the next.

“With the nature of the weather and ice conditions for skating can change overnight,” the Fen Centre Skating Association warned.

“Every piece of Fen skating must be cherished and every piece of ice must be looked at on a day-to-day basis.

“If the weather changes, even by one or two degrees, it can make all the difference in the world.”

Businessman Roger Giles is providing daily updates about the weather and skating conditions for the 2011/12 season.

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Mr Giles’ base in Back Drove, Welney means he is perfectly positioned to provide an update about the ice.

His Giles Landscaping website provides an update between 8am and 9am so skaters can decide whether or not to go out.

However would-be skaters are warned that snow ice is “very fickle”.

“It can become very soft and unsafe to skate on,” the Fen Centre Skating Association says. “If there is a small rise in the temperature, it can also be very uneven.

“Any marks in the slush will freeze into the surface, which makes skating very dangerous, at any speed.

“If the temperature rises by a degree or two above freezing, very quickly the ice loses its strength and lets you fall through.

“If it will be cold for long enough to make any realistic chance of any skating in the near future we will have to just wait and see, but we still have well over a month of winter to go so there is still time for the weather to be kind to us.”

The association says all people need to take part is “a pair of skates, good health and a sense of adventure”.