This week has seen Cambridge transformed from an already beautiful city into a Narnia-esque winter wonderland, in quite unseasonable fashion (the 1st of March is meant to be the start of spring!).
The so-called ‘Beast from the East’ weather front arrived with a vengeance, bringing with it icy winds, sub-zero temperatures and, for many parts of the UK, quite a lot of snow.
Monday morning (Feb 26th), Cambridge was looking like this, cold but beautiful and sunny, and apart from the temperature it definitely felt like spring was just around the corner:
We managed to film this footage later the same day, of when the snow first arrived in Cambridge. The three clips were shot within the space of perhaps half an hour, showing how quickly it went from a few flakes, to some light flurries, to what felt like an absolute blizzard!
Our European cousins, and those across the pond in Canada and the USA, who regularly experience and cope with far worse conditions during their winters, were undoubtedly looking on with bemusement. The UK was plunged into a frenzy of rolling news coverage about the snow, panic-buying in supermarkets, road closures, school closures, cancellation of sporting events and flights, and so on.
Of course, it didn’t stop the intrepid and hardy from going punting:
Is it the novelty of snow that makes us both so fascinated by it and simultaneously unable to cope with it? The fact that it happens so infrequently does mean that we don’t really have the infrastructure to deal with it. Most of us don’t have the clothes or the driving skills to make the best of it either.
If we had snow more often, would we take it in our stride in a far more stoic, British fashion? Would we keep calm and carry on… sledging? Punting?
Would it lose some of its magic if every winter was like the last few days? Would we still bother to write blog posts about it, and would Channel 5 devote hour long specials to it (yeah ok, it’s Channel 5, they probably still would).
If every Christmas looked like a scene from a Dickensian novel, enabling children to go out and build snowmen/women/people and have snowball fights (under proper supervision of course, to make sure that no one lost an eye). Or would we get bored of it and wish it were over?
After all, how many of you are bored of it already and fed up with the inconvenience it causes? (For some it’s a lot more than inconvenient). But is that just because we’re not geared up for it?
One thing is for certain, it makes for some great photo opportunities. There’s something about a carpet of snow that can transform an otherwise average, or mundane setting into something magical.
When it comes to Cambridge, it transforms already beautiful surroundings into something even more wonderful, and perhaps contributes even further to that feeling of travelling backwards in time to centuries long past.
To illustrate that point (as if we really needed to) here are a few photos taken after the snow had settled, from 4th year PhD student Julieta Sarmiento, who has discovered a passion for photography during her time at Cambridge, and with surroundings like these, who can blame her?
Of course there will always be those who claim that ‘back in our day we had proper winters’ or words to that effect. But when you see these photos from A Cambridge Diary, you might have to concede that they’ve got a point…
So, other than to show you some pretty pictures of Cambridge in the snow, what’s the point of all this? Well none really, (shouldn’t that be enough?) other than to show that there’s never really a bad time to visit Cambridge – it’s not just about coming in the summer when (in theory) it’s warm. The best time to visit is now, it’s beautiful all year round and of course, we are always here ready to take you on a boat trip and show you how beautiful and magical it really is.
Just wrap up warm, bring an umbrella and your camera. You never know, you might spot some celebrities or even become on yourself, by ending up in a photo on the front page of most of the national newspapers!