Snow days and sledging with a dog in tow
We don’t have many snowy days here, but generally when we have snowy days, they’re either just a slight dusting or too much and we end up with the roads blocked from the wind. Being in lockdown means I’m less stressed about snow. A snow day is a good thing, and we made the most of it.
We woke to just the remaining dusting left from the day before, but come 9 o’clock the snow was falling fast. The drive and garden were quickly under white with about 7-8cm of snow. It continued falling most of the morning lightly.
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By 10.30 N wanted to go sledging. With the OH working (it’s always harder and takes longer in the snow), it was up to me to supervise and keep an eye on the dog. It’s the first time she’s experienced snow, and she was quite happy to potter round, nose to the ground, trying to pull up grass from underneath.
The joys of being on a farm means we don’t have to think about whether it’s suitable or not to go out to a public place where everyone else will be headed. There are plenty of hills on our land near the farm, so we could just walk up behind the garden with a few to choose from.
N has 2 sledges donated to him a couple of years ago, so we took them both up with us. I of course, took plenty of photos and videos, and the sheep in the field at the top also played ball in posing for me. Luckily we managed to keep hold of the dog – we’d not realised we’d need to go through the sheep field to get to the better hill, and hadn’t taken a lead for the dog.
Picking his sledge, N tried out the first slope. Once it was tested once and flattened a bit, he had a better run further down the hill. It was so funny how the dog really didn’t get what he was doing at first, then decided she needed to follow alongside as the sledge went down.
I definitely hadn’t planned for a photo shoot unfortunately. N’s new shooting jacket is really warm and waterproof, but it doesn’t make for pretty photos. As for the gloves…N put on blue latex gloves they wear on the farm for mucky jobs. They drown his little hands, but I persuaded him to wear his woolly gloves underneath. All very practical as his hands and gloves stayed dry, but they make me laugh seeing them in photos. They’re like giant saggy cartoon hands.
After checking out one slope, N decided he wanted to try the steeper slope at the back of the hill. From the top it looked lethal, although he said he’d been up there before. Thankfully it wasn’t good for sledging down, so he went further down the hill past the ridge and enjoyed a shorter but steeper slope.
The wind was chilly and it was still snowing. Standing around wasn’t warm, but it was strange to see everywhere surrounding the farm in white out. It took me a while to get my bearings.
A walk back down to the farm again, with the dog leading the way. A hello to the cows feeding in the barns. A couple looked very ready to have their calves. Then time to warm up in the house.
Of course, N had to go out in the snow again in the afternoon. This time he headed out to walk the dog with the OH and they took the sledges with them. Then he spent time building a snowman and just generally playing in the snow. N’s happy entertaining himself, interspersed with helping out on the farm. It was great seeing him enjoying being outside and not playing Farming Simulator all the time.
Finally I wanted to share our tips for staying warm on a snow day. Obviously compared with colder countries, British snow days aren’t that cold. But we’re not that used to it. N never seems to feel the cold, and will stay out all day in the snow with only 1 pair of socks and cheapy wellies. But if your child gets cold quickly, here’s our tips.
Tips to stay warm on snowy days:
- Layers, layers, layers. Thin layers are best, and top it off with waterproofs. You don’t need expensive base layers – high street stores like M&S do long johns and vests, or try outdoor shops like Go Outdoors or Mountain Warehouse for more technical solutions.
- We like Trespass, Regatta or Mountain Warehouse for waterproof outer layers. Try 3 in 1 jackets to add a zip in fleece or padded jacket under a top layer. Do look out for them being properly waterproof and not just showerproof. My own Regatta 3 in 1 is 6000 hh waterproof, which means it’s as waterproof as a really good tent! Kids waterproofs may only come in at 2-3000, the higher the better. Buy out of season for the best deals, or even look out for second hand or handmedowns. TKMaxx are also good for ski jackets which are padded and waterproof. Unless you’ve got a fast growing child, most children can make a coat last 2 years if you buy it a little too big the first year. Try Go Outdoors for different brands.
- Waterproof trousers for sledging are a must. If you can’t justify buying ski trousers (most can’t!), then normal waterproof trousers can be bought on the high street or online from most outdoor shops. Again, check the waterproof nature. They’re rarely fully waterproof, so look for a double layer if your children get cold easily. You don’t want their trousers underneath soaked,
- It’s quite hard to find neoprene inner wellies for children, plus they’re really expensive. So once they are out of toddler sizes, go for bog standard old fashioned wellies rather than fashion styles. They’re more likely to have a good grip (our local shoe shop sells Dunlop which last for ages and are cheap). They also tend to come right up high rather than half height – less chance of snow going over the top. Double up on socks and make sure they’re not socks that will fall down inside wellies. N’s just discovered that sports socks are as good as I said, and they tend to have the elasticated top over the foot so don’t fall down.
- Gloves – ski style with a waterproof layer are better for snowball fights, but N finds them too bulky to hold onto things. So he wears woolly ones and goes through them, several pairs a day in the snow. This time he turned up in blue latex gloves from the farm (he always has a pair in his farming jacket). I persuaded him to put his woolly gloves underneath. Hence waterproof and warm gloves but also hands that weren’t impeded by bulkiness. The blue gloves are adult size so miles too big, and lthey ook ugly on photos. But his hands were still dry when we got home. Result.
- Hot chocolate waiting for you when you return home.
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How did you make the most of the snow if you had some near you?