While the freeze-up brought chaos to much of the country yesterday , they were toasting Mother Nature in the Fens.

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Stay safe on those skates

The Fen Skating Association has published a skater’s code:

Take notice of any notice boards and signs, warning of deep water or thin ice, skater is, by it’s nature a dangerous sport, with the risk of twisted ankles etc, so if a sign has been put up, it is there for your safety.

Take notice of any advice given to you, the local people for Fen Skating, usually know what is best, if they tell you not to walk on a certain area of ice, or to gain access by a different route, they are probably telling you for a reason, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

Never skate by yourself. Even experienced skaters can fall over from time to time, and it’s nice to have somoeone there to assist, if the need arises.

For as temperatures fell to near-record levels, they were lacing up their skates ready to hit the ice at Welney.

Workers from one company based in the village went skating during their lunchbreak.

“The ice has been good, it’s been a bit bumpy but generally it’s been good skating,” said Gary Everson, contracts manager with Giles Landscapes.

“We had a bit of a thaw at the weekend but it’s frozen again, there’s a few tufts of grass coming through so it’s not perfect but it’s pretty good for natural ice.”

"It’s a Tuesday dinner time and a few people have got their dark glasses on because they’re supposed to be at work."

Fen skater Gary Everson

Thirty skaters enjoyed a spin on a patch of ice more than 150yds long, on one of the flooded washes near the River Delph yesterday. “Last year we had close to 1,000 people over a weekend,” said Mr Everson. “It’s a Tuesday dinner time and a few people have got their dark glasses on because they’re supposed to be at work.”

Elsewhere, many did not make it in to work. Police were still battling to free hundreds of stranded drivers in Scotland, many of whom had been stuck in their vehicles overnight.

At least nine people have so far died in the big freeze, with an elderly man found dead in snow at a Lincolnshire caravan park the latest victim.

Temperatures plummeted to minus 13C (8.6F) in Edinburgh and minus 11C (12.2F) in Glasgow overnight on Monday, reaching minus 16.7C (1.9F) in parts of the Highlands. Parts of Yorkshire and South Wales also saw minus 14C (6.8F).

Temperatures in Norfolk fell to as low as -9C (15.8F) on Monday night. But while the cold weather looks set to continue for the next few days, temperatures are tipped to improve by the weekend.

Yesterday Jim Bacon, a forecaster with UEA-based Weatherquest, said: “The cold air is going to stay with us for more or less the rest 
of the week, but it will not be quite as cold from Thursday onwards.

“For the next couple of days it remains cold, although it will not be quite as frosty at night as it was last night. We could also see the odd wintry shower.”

He said by the end of the week temperatures could lift to between three and five degrees Celsius, but it will be fairly cloudly.

The AA said Monday was one of the busiest days in its history with around 24,000 breakdowns attended - up from 10,500 on a normal Monday.

Yesterday <CO,Tues...> it was dealing with 2,500 calls an hour - two and a half times the normal rate.

By the end of the day, the AA said it expected to attend up to 22,000 call-outs, compared to around 9,500 on a normal Tuesday.

Edmund King, AA President, said: “Drivers must also take responsibility for their actions and not venture out when conditions are atrocious.

“Those that have to travel must be prepared and have at least half a tank of fuel as this could be the difference between life and freezing to death if stranded for long periods.

“In sub-zero temperatures fuel is essential to keep the car warm.

“There is more snowfall forecast today in Scotland, Cumbria and other parts of North-west England. Many other areas are still disrupted due to the existing snow and ice.’’

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