Storm Christoph: Travel disruption as snow and rain sweep in

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image copyrightPETER JOLLY NORTHPIX
image captionThe A9 south of Inverness was among the worst affected routes

Heavy snowfall during Storm Christoph has caused travel disruption in parts of Scotland.

Vehicles were stuck on the A9 south of Inverness and many roads in the Borders were affected by snow.

The Queensferry Crossing was closed for a time earlier due to the risk of falling ice before later reopening.

An amber alert for south-east Scotland was lifted at 08:00 but yellow alerts are in place in other parts of the country until Friday.

Traffic was queued on the A9 after lorries and cars became stuck in snow between Tomatin and Carrbridge.

Tractors were used to tow lorries on to cleared stretches of the road.

Heavy snow has also closed the main route to Applecross at the Bealach na Ba.

image captionThe Queensferry Crossing has been reopened after being closed earlier due to the risk of falling ice

The A939 Cock Bridge to Tomintoul road in Moray was closed after Police Scotland shut the snowgates due to the wintry conditions.

Snow had also affected traffic on parts of the M8.

On the Highlands' Far North Line, a landslip between Fearn and Tain stations has affected services.

Network Rail Scotland said a section of the railway was open with a 5mph speed restriction in place.

Ice patrols

Chris Tracey, Bear Scotland's south east unit bridges manager, said the Queensferry Crossing was temporarily closed for the safety of bridge users.

He said: "We had already mobilised additional ice patrols in response to the weather forecast and the bridge was closed at 04:00 when staff observed ice falling from the structure."

The bridge was reopened after the risk had passed.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionEdinburgh is one of the areas where heavy snow has fallen
image copyrightPA Media

Police Scotland has urged people to avoid travelling in the affected areas.

Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: "Government restrictions on only travelling if your journey is essential remain in place and with an amber warning for snow, please consider if your journey really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves.

"If you deem your journey is essential, plan ahead and make sure you and your vehicle are suitably prepared by having sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food, water and charge in your mobile phone in the event you require assistance."

image copyrightDave Wright/Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team
image captionAvalanche debris on Turnhouse in the Pentland Hills photographed from Penicuik

People heading for the Pentland Hills, south-west of Edinburgh, have been urged to be aware of potential avalanche risk after avalanche debris was spotted on Turnhouse Hill.

Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team said the "full depth" avalanche had enough snow to knock a person off their feet, or even bury them.

Team leader Dave Wright said avalanches in the Pentland Hills were unusual and walkers, skiers and snowboarders might not appreciate the potential risk.

He said there had been heavy snowfalls in the hills this week and the avalanche occurred at some point on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the potential avalanche hazard in all six mountain areas covered by the Scottish Avalanche Information Service - Glen Coe, Lochaber, Creag Meagaidh, Torridon and Northern and Southern Cairgorms - has been classed as "considerable".

The amber weather warning for snow covered a slice of Scotland from south of Edinburgh to close to the Scotland-England border and was valid until Thursday morning.

However, further alerts remain in place.

image copyrightWeather Watcher Muddy-Paws
image captionA snow plough in Macmerry, East Lothian
image copyrightTraffic Scotland
image captionA Bear NW Trunk Roads' tractor clears snow ahead of a lorry on the A9 at the Slochd

In north-east Scotland and Orkney, a yellow warning for heavy rain and potential flooding is in place until 04:00 on Friday.

Yellow warnings for snow and ice are also in place in parts of northern and western Scotland until 12:00 on Friday.

Transport Scotland said it was "closely monitoring" the road network and a multi-agency response team would be operational during the weather warnings.

image copyrightWeather Watcher Helen
image captionA snow-covered car in Carlops, in the Scottish Borders
image copyrightWeather Watcher Skywatcher
image captionDrivers woke up to snow-covered cars in Haddington, East Lothian

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