FEN-TASTIC ICE SKATING ON CAMBRIDGESHIRE'S FENLANDS
Welney Wash - Cambridgeshire
This Winter Fen Skating makes a great return to the wetlands of Cambridgeshire
Talking to some of the locals, this is the earliest they can recall Ice Skating on the Fens in December. With temperatures as low as -12 the ice has been in great condition this last week for a glide about in the open air.
It was amazing to see all ages participating in this past time and it was plain to see it has been a part of their lives for many years, for the locals.
The Ice had been used all week, so an ice track had been scratched in by Wednesday.
The ice at Welney Wash on 8th December was hard and only slightly bobbly and great for having a blast in the fresh air. We even had loads of space to practice our Ice Hockey skills down the other end of the ice without disturbing the Speed Skaters.
You can check on the upto date ice conditions at various skating locations on Gileslandscape Website. It has great information and prints on the History of Fenland Ice Skating.
Whittlesey Wash - Cambridgeshire
We then headed up to Whittlesey to see what the conditions were like there, we were amazed by the size of the natural ice rink. I wonder if anyone has ever player Bandy Hockey on there as it must be big enough to have at least two pitches on it.
Parking was directly opposite the ice, which was very handy. We could not believe the size of this area and all skateable. The ice conditions here were not as good as Welney on this particular day as the snow had frozen on to the ice and made it uneven in some places along with the wind. It was that big an area, there was one lad Ice Sailboarding.
The local Ice hockey players had scraped a smooth playing surface for their Rec. Ice Hockey Matches and brought some goals down too. You would of thought you were in Canada and not just on the outskirts of Peterborough, the lads and girls seemed to have just finished work and had come straight down here for a game of Ice Hockey in the open air.
There was Parents with their Ice Skates on pulling their young children along on sledges, children who had just finished School and College and come straight down for a free Ice Skating Session, it was all great to see. Just hope it comes back soon.
Does anyone know the last time people skated the Fens of South Lincolnshire, I have heard they use to skate Baston Fen. Is it still skated on or has the flood waters changed over the years.
Future Ice Skating Locations
I cannot see why this does happen more across the country, as all you need is a cold spell for about approximatelty one week and a flooded field or grassland of swallow water for safe Ice Skating. Howvever the fun is taken away when our society moves towards the Claim Culture, so not many land owners are willing to take the risk of liability claims which could occur. Which is understandable, however there must be ways around this because so many people are missing out on all this Winter Fun.
Be on the look out for swallow flood plains which could be suitable for Ice Skating in the extra cold winter.
A very important detail, is that these area's are flooded fields or grassland where the water depth is generally around one foot deep and the ice is nearly as thick at present. However be very aware of perimeter drainage ditches and streams that can increase the depth of the water below. Please study the fields before they are flooded where possible to have an understanding of the possible danger area's once they are flooded and skateable. The darker the colour below, the deeper the water is and if you hit the ice with a stick hard it will make a pinging sound if it is thin.
Never Skate Alone.
Never Ice Skate on Deep Water's including River's, Canals or Dykes.
Keep Safe and Enjoy the safe ice whilst you can !
If you have any tips on testing the ice, please post them below.