The last few days have been even colder than previously. We’re at the same latitude as Fort McMurray in Alberta, Riga in Latvia, and Novgorod in Russia. But we have island benefits – which means permafrost is rare.
Permafrost does happen occasionally though. Years ago when I stayed in a remote cottage we went through a really hard spell of weather with four feet of snow. It stayed that way for a while. Our water supply was from a burn up the hill. The burn froze. Then it froze harder and deeper and froze up the underground supply pipe.
We were OK. Despite the deep snow my remote cottage remained accessible throughout the bad weather. Our neighbour who worked on snow ploughs took his machine home each night and cleared the road as a byproduct.
So every day I transported containers of water from my work so that my flatmates and I were hydrated, fed and washed. But the underground pipe stayed frozen for weeks after the temperatures returned to normal.
My work colleagues were amazed when I was still transporting water to my cottage on what had become sunny warm spring days.