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A Blissful Winters Day

Author: Craig
Year: Adventure

My shift in Air Traffic is just one of those days where nothing goes to plan. All the agencies at the airport work tirelessly together to battle against the elements, with one aim in mind, to make the runway useable. As I gaze out of the control tower windows, I can see the snow ploughs fighting a losing battle. Snow is falling heavier than the massive machinery can clear it. The frustration from the airfield operations unit is evident on every transmission. The endless phone calls and general confusion leads to much laughter amongst my colleagues. It's like Groundhog Day every time it snows, as the not-so-well thought-out winter operations manuals are rendered useless within 15 minutes of any actual snow. The only upside to the constant freezing precipitation is what lies in store after my shift for my son and I.

The advantages of living close to the airport is a short drive home and my son is eagerly awaiting my arrival at the front door. I can't help but bring out the inner boy racer in me as I touch the handbrake and slide the car onto the driveway, much to the rapturous shouts of my son and cold stare from my wife. Only time will tell if I actually stopped on the driveway or if we have a new Hyundai flowerbed. Hugs and kisses all round and then I bound up the stairs, hoping that my salopettes still fit me. The amount of food eaten in recent days is akin to a mammal preparing itself for hibernation. They are snug and off I rustle into the garage to hunt for the sledges.

The 9th hole on the nearby golf course is usually the hill of choice, but due to time lost in the morning, we plump for the relatively short but steep hill opposite the house. I'm not sure who is more excited as we charge across the road. The sight of the two of us trying to run whilst attempting to stay upright in the treacherous conditions must look like something from a Benny Hill sketch.

The snow is pristine and unpolluted as the sun's rays cause eyes to be squinted. I quickly hurry back to the house for my sunglasses and wonder what ridiculous tan lines I will have later. My son and I pack the soft and fluffy snow into snowballs and take aim at our house-with varying degrees of success. My wife stands at the window wagging her finger as we plead our innocence with cheeky grins across our faces.

The hill is around 30 metres high with a 45 degree slope, producing a decent area for sledging. The conditions make the slope feel more like 75 degrees as we slip and trip, taking in faces of powdery snow that clings to our eyebrows and eyelashes as we embark to the summit. There is never a Sherpa nearby to assist when you need one. The 1st run descends into absolute chaos before it's even started. We struggle to get onto the sledges at the top as there is no flattening at the top. We decide to attack the sledges side on to the slope then shuffle around ninety degrees before whizzing to the bottom. The snow is too soft for real speed on the first few attempts, but after using the same runs the snow is soon compacted down into near ice. The ensuing races are a no contest as my superior weight (or fat as my son calls it), combined with gravity gives me the edge. My response is to give my son a head start and try to judge the time gap so the races are close, albeit usually in his favour. After each win my son charges across the heavy snow and dives onto me as we wrestle and sink deeper into the snow. The laughter reverberates off the nearby houses and catches the attention of my wife who appears with dry gloves and the welcome aroma of hot coffee. Mouth-watering sausage rolls are dished out to my son who doesn't even offer me one crumb.

My wife assumes traffic cop duty as she lets us know when the road is clear. The increase in speed has resulted in the sledges sliding over the pavement and across the road. Not content with this we decided to step it up a notch.

The sledges are discarded and I sprint a few yards before launching myself onto my stomach and down the slope. My son is practically hyperventilating with laughter at the sight, his body shaking with such gusto that it could cause a mini avalanche. My son then decides he wants some of the action and dives onto my back for the next run. The extra weight pushes me deeper into the snow and my face is awash with sprays of water that I cannot do anything about until we stop.

The sun is setting quickly behind the nearby braes and we only have a few runs before darkness. If the next runs were shown on TV, a !don't try this at home" warning would be displayed. I slide head-first down the slope, this time on my back whilst my son rides on my stomach. I dare not look at my wife as I suspect she is not best pleased with our antics. We are having too much fun to care as the slight risk of danger is outweighed by the beaming smile from my son.

We return to the house where my son proceeds to excitedly give a complete recall, at speed, to his mother, about this afternoon's activities. I slip into the kitchen in case I get into trouble-although that may come once my son goes to bed. I reappear with mugs of hot chocolate complete with marshmallows and whipped cream alongside hotdogs in fresh brioche buns. A quick shower and we settle down for a night of movies. Absolute bliss.