Ice skaters take to frozen Fen for first time in nearly 10 years
PUBLISHED: 14:37 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:54 02 March 2018
It was the moment some keen ice skaters have been waiting years for.
As temperatures dipped below freezing, the fields and marshes of Welney have iced over for the first time in almost a decade - creating one of the biggest natural ice rinks in the country.
Although Roger Giles, from Fen Skating, stressed for people to stay safe and that they skated at their own risk, many seized the opportunity to revive a popular tradition that dates as far back as the 19th century.
Back then, ice skating competitions would be held with thousands travelling fro as far away as Holland to take part.
In recent years, warm winters has meant ice skaters in the Fens have not been able to practice the sport since 2010.
But as temperatures diped to -5C, skaters have been scouting the fields to find the best spot to skate in.
Sally Vernon, 35, and Brian Shand, 42, from Cambridge, decided to go for a spin on the frozen fields in Welney.
Ms Vernon said: “It’s wonderful, there’s a lot of wind but when it catches you you’re just flying, you don’t even need to skate you just soar in it all.
“It’s been years since it was frozen, just to be able to skate again it’s magical.”
Julian Sedgewick, 52, and his son Will, 19, from Little Downham, said they felt more free skating in the Fens as opposed to an ice rink.
“It’s the same difference as swimming in an ocean than swimming in a pool,” Julian said. “It is vast, just that sense of expanse.”
He said he had tried to skate on the Welney Washes four years ago but fell through the ice.
This time, he said he and other skaters looked for a safer spot, adding: “As long as you know where the ditches are it is reasonably safe.”
David Hawkins, from Little Downham, learnt how to skate in 1963.
His wife, Sue Hawkins, decided to stand and watch her husband from afar. She said: “He’s either brave or mad, I’m not sure which.”
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