Snowfall hits Scotland as early Arctic blast takes grip

Two girls enjoy the snow in Edinburgh
Image caption Two girls make the most of the snow in Edinburgh

Scotland remains in the grip of early wintry weather after much of the country experienced heavy snowfall and bitter temperatures.

Snow showers continued to affect the north and north east, and also gradually pushed into East Lothian and the eastern Borders.

Police urged motorists to take extreme care as many roads were closed, particularly in the North East.

Widespread snowfall was expected to return through the night.

On Friday night, Saughall in Ayrshire was the coldest place in Scotland as temperatures fell to -9C.

However, skiers took advantage of the cold snap on Saturday to head for the hills for the start of the season.

At Cairngorm Mountain resort near Aviemore in the Highlands, about 1,500 people took to the slopes.

Resort spokeswoman Tania Alliod said: "We've had a super day. It's an excellent start to the season as it's still very early in the winter. The cold front is set to continue so we're hoping it's an early Christmas present for everyone."

The Lecht resort in Aberdeenshire also had good conditions, although skiers could only access it from the north as the southern route was closed.

Northern Constabulary said the A939 Grantown on Spey to Tomintoul and the B9007 Carrbridge to Ferness were closed.

Beith FC's Scottish Cup replay with Airdrie United FC was called off due to snow.

The Scottish government's winter weather resilience committee met to assess the ongoing situation.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the mistakes of last year would not be repeated.

He said: "Last year we were running low on salt and grit but local authorities have made sure that they've stocked up.

"We have 360,000 tonnes and that's two month's heavy duty. We've got a supply coming in on Monday and they're coming in on a regular basis."

Mr MacAskill urged the public to take the advice given by councils and the police and to keep an eye out for elderly people.

The cold snap is forecast to continue for another two weeks.

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