Scotland

Perth rest centre set up as A9 drivers stranded in snow

More than 600 people were offered emergency accommodation at a sports hall in Perth after becoming stranded in the snow on Sunday night.

A rest centre was set up at North Inch Community Campus to help those stranded overnight on the A90, M90 and A9.

Accommodation in much of Perthshire and Dundee was reported to be fully booked as drivers abandoned their journeys.

By 2200 GMT about 450 homes in the region were without electricity after widespread problems with "line icing".

Most of those affected are in Blairgowrie, Alyth and Dunblane, with about 3,000 people suffering power cuts on Monday morning.

Image caption The heavy snow has caused problems for motorists across Scotland, including the A9

Scottish Hydro said it hoped to have most, if not all its customers, reconnected during the course of the evening.

Roads across Scotland were closed as snow and freezing conditions swept across the country over the weekend.

On Monday evening the A9 was closed between Perth and Dunblane, and the M90 near Perth was also closed.

The A9 northbound from Dunblane was reopened at about 2140 GMT and was "passable with care".

But it remained closed southbound between Broxden roundabout in Perth and Keir roundabout at Dunblane.

A police spokeswoman said: "Drivers should completely avoid the A9 between Dunblane and Perth and should be aware that all side roads are equally affected and are unlikely to be passable.

"All major routes have been severely affected over the last 24 hours or so, with significant snowfall and drifting snow causing problems on the roads."

Further snow is forecast to fall throughout the night.

A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said 669 people were offered food and shelter for the night at the rest centre.

The general manager at the Birnam Hotel in Dunkeld, Perthshire, said he had to call in extra staff to cope with the surge in demand for rooms on Sunday afternoon.

James Rae said: "I had four rooms booked yesterday afternoon and I ended up with all 30 rooms full. I was over-booked as well.

"We had three to four people in some rooms that only usually take two. We set up camp-beds so we could put children up and keep families together.

"I was passing people onto other hotels around and about by the end of the evening."

A spokeswoman for VisitScotland the organisation had heard hotels had been very busy for the time of year because of the weather conditions.

She said: "The Holiday Inn Express in Perth, for example, was fully booked with a number of people staying in the lounge areas of the hotel with pillows, duvets and breakfast this morning all provided by the hotel."

One hotel in the area also had to turn away more than 200 people, she added.

Nick Mailer, 28, from Edinburgh, was forced to abandon his journey home from Inverness after being stuck in traffic on the A9.

He had been in the Highlands on a family break with his wife, Lisa, and baby son, Benjamin.

Traffic came to a standstill in heavy snow and freezing conditions around Dunkeld, where cars broke down and lorries struggled with the ice.

He said: "We felt lucky to make it to the safety of my mum's house in Perth.

"It was additionally worrying with a seven-month-old baby with us.

"Six hours of tense and difficult driving conditions are behind us, thankfully. Now we just have to wait for the roads to clear so we can get home."

Image caption People in Dunblane had to help rescue a snow plough from a drift

Another traveller, Andy Fletcher, 32, heading to Edinburgh, found accommodation with friends in Perth after police turned traffic away from the snow-bound Broxden roundabout on the southbound A9.

He said: "The weather worsened in the dark and cars were clearly struggling to stay on the road, which was icing over.

"We gave up and stopped in Perth but others weren't so lucky. I know of people who were stuck for 12 hours near Dundee.

"Friends of mine had to walk with their three young kids through the snow in Perthshire to get to a hotel for the night."

Many motorists returning to Glasgow from the Glencoe area were also delayed for hours as the A82 south of Tarbet was closed for much of Sunday afternoon and the Glen Ogle pass was blocked.

Both routes opened later in the evening, but several articulated lorries trying to cross the pass were forced to wait until the morning before continuing their journey.

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