It wis snawin' a blizzard as we approached the Tunnock's Meall Mor first stage this morning, but barely half an hour later, the sun is shining, the snow has stopped and the forest is silent awaiting the 120 cars and 240 foolhardy souls who have gathered in the north for this opening round of the Scottish Rally Championship. The Thistle Hotel Arnold Clark Snowman Rally always gets a good entry, but Highland Car Club were bracing themselves for a dip this year. It didn't happen, obviously the Scots rallyists just love a guid gurry in the wids to get the circulation going!
Snow showers greeted the early risers in Inverness this morning, but on the steep rise heading south up the A9 out of Inverness dark clouds were gathering to the west.
Chief Marshall Andy Straube has just been through this first stage and says it is like a blizzard at the stage start with a light dusting of snow. He also said the crowds mid stage are huge. Hardy souls! The stage runs awfy close to the A9 itself near the finish and folk try and park on the verges, hirple the fence and they're virtually on the stage, but the Polis are doing their best to shepherd them elsewhere!
And as we sit here waiting for the first cars at 9.30, perhaps it's time to think of the Marshals. These stalwarts of the woods and all kinds of weather, without whom there would be no rallying. Thank you guys and gals, from rallyists everywhere.
As for weather predictions, who knows? This is Scotland, anything can happen out there.