by Colin Campbell
AS the severe winter continues, some streets in and around Inverness city centre are like skating rinks.
Yesterday morning, after another sub-zero night, sheet ice covered Greig Street, King Street, Duncraig Street and elsewhere, making these streets highly precarious, particularly for pedestrians.
The situation, however, is not yet as bad as three years ago, when a prolonged spell of perishing frost meant many elderly people were trapped in their houses for days on end, with pavements in the city centre perilous to walk on and in some cases unmanageable.
Amid widespread complaints and protests, it took over a week for the council to intervene and start treating highly dangerous pavements in particular. Before that happened, countless people had been injured in falls.
At the time council leader Margaret Davidson said that would not be allowed to happen again.
The forecast after the coldest January in 10 years is for no let-up in early February in the severe weather, with temperatures due to again hit minus seven or eight degrees during the nights.
The council has since supplemented its gritting services with the purchase of new machinery, working around the clock across the Highlands.
In Inverness, the usual scenario is that the higher up you go, the worse the situation gets.
But yesterday Inverness news and views photographed city centre streets which were covered in ice and snow.
And minutes later we also took pictures of streets at a higher level up in Scorguie, which were virtually clear of it.
How this has come about, we do not know. A freak of nature? More effort by the council to treat streets in upper Inverness rather than in the city centre?
In the kind of weather we’ve experienced in recent weeks, there has to be allowance for the fact that the council cannot physically clear every part of Inverness.
But in upper Scorguie, the roads and pavements were virtually free of ice, snow and risk.
In city centre Greig Steet and elsewhere, it was starkly different.
But at least a pretty unpleasant Covid January is behind us and temperatures will steadily rise, although it could be another week or more into February before that starts to happen.