Snow and ice return to parts of Scotland

Winter weather is back, with snow in Scotland now on the move south into England

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Wintry weather has returned to much of Scotland - with 15cm (6in) of snow in Aberdeenshire.

Grampian Police said Moray had taken the brunt of the weather. Heavy snow has also fallen across the Scottish Borders, but roads remained passable.

A mountain rescue team was called to assist a group of nine people - including six teenagers - left stuck by the snow in the Cairngorms.

They were later flown to safety in Braemar by a Royal Navy helicopter.

The group - from Belgium - had been climbing in the Ben Macdui area.

About 400 homes remain without electricity in the north east.

Scottish Hydro said engineers were at work on the problem and they hoped to have everyone reconnected by Tuesday evening.

Climbers being led to rescue helicopter in the Ben Macdui area Climbers are led to a rescue helicopter after getting stuck in snow in the Cairngorms

The firm said Aboyne and Elgin were among the areas worst affected when the heavy snow brought down power cables.

The return of wintry weather follows the mildest March ever recorded in Scotland.

A week ago the temperature in the Aberdeenshire town of Aboyne reached 23.6C - the warmest March day on record.

The high in Aboyne on Tuesday was 3.2C - but it felt much colder in the biting wind and snow.

The Met Office issued amber warnings for much of Scotland.

Police in the north east said up to 25cm (10 inches) of snow had accumulated in places. Across lower parts of the central belt, about 1cm (0.4in) to 4cm (1.6in) fell.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "This kind of weather is much more normal for Scotland than the superb weather we have had over the previous days. So we have had, for example, 124 gritters out overnight."

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Seven days ago Aboyne was warmer than Barcelona, Nice and Faro.”

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The minister praised forecasters for getting the conditions "spot-on" and giving warnings to people.

He said the Easter school holidays had helped ease the traffic management problem because the numbers on the road were much lower than normal.

"We think the snow will push through into the north of England today and behind that we will have some colder air later on today," Mr Brown said.

"That is something to be aware of because that can bring its own challenges in terms of freezing on roads.

"Beyond that we expect it to return to normal circumstances later on tonight and into tomorrow."

The late fall of snow has given Scotland's ski areas hope of more business after a disappointing winter.

Colin Matthews, operations manager at Cairngorm Mountain, said: "It's very wintry, I'm glad to say - very cold at the top of the mountains - minus six and drifting snow.

"It's very unusual not to have skiing in April so this is looking good."

Matt Taylor from the BBC Weather Centre explains why the temperature has dropped so steeply

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