Heavy snow has fallen throughout the UK in the last week with the west being hit by a heavy brunt of it.

The four-day Cheltenham festival is due to start on Tuesday but there is now a race against time to get the track ready in time.

Organisers are reporting drifts of between four and six-feet deep.

And it all needs to be removed by hand as they don’t want heavy machinery on the course.

It has meant up to 60 shovel wielders have had to take to the famous venue to clear the snow by hand.

The meeting will go ahead as planned – providing there are no more blankets of snow – but it has left Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse with a few headaches.

He told the Racing Post: “We think there could be 200-plus tons plus of snow to shift manually, where it has drifted up against the fences.”

But when asked if it could be removed by vehicles, he said: “Oh, good gracious, no. Nobody here would think about getting a tractor and loader or a JCB out there to start moving the snow.

“The sun tried to poke through this morning, but it’s become very grey and murky now. The thaw is just beginning to start and the temperatures are just a couple of degrees above freezing.

“It could possibly get a bit milder this weekend and then into next week. I think the ground will be soft when the snow melts, but it’s hard to tell at the moment while it’s still thawing.

“We think the snow will have amounted to about 12mm and the forecast is showing it could be 15mm of rain by next Sunday.”

It means the ground could be heavy for the meeting “It’s possible, yes.”

The snow last week was caused when the Beast from the East and Storm Emma hit with freezing temperatures.

Wintry conditions are likely to continue this week in parts of the UK ahead of a huge storm brewing in the Atlantic which is likely to hit this weekend.

Britain will be battered with gales, torrential rain and even more snow, particularly in the central belt of Scotland on Tuesday.

A yellow warning has been put in place for snow and ice, suggesting snow could fall on higher ground.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for snow and rain across Scotland and north-east England through Tuesday, March 6.

BBC Weather meteorologist Ben Rich said: “A mixture of rain and sleet at low levels but snow over high ground. That will be drifting its way northwards as we go on through the day.

“Perhaps even some snow to lower levels for a time through the central belt. But it will only be snow and shouldn’t cause too many problems and by the afternoon southern Scotland should start to dry out.

“It will be windy, this evening and tonight that mixture of rain, sleet and snow continues across Scotland.

Southwest parts of England will see “hefty showers” and an odd rumble of thunder on Tuesday afternoon.

Meteorologist Martin Bowles said much of England and Wales can enjoy warmer weather but Scotland will remain cold and snowy.

The Met Office forecaster said: “We think there is going to be a low-pressure system coming in from the south west from Friday to Saturday.

“This will cause some wet and windy weather and we are looking at gales and a lot of rain in parts of the country.

“It will bring some cold air back into Scotland, and this is where some talk of the cold returning could be coming from, and there is quite likely to be further amounts of snow.

“Ahead of the weekend there could be some further problems with snow in Scotland, elsewhere it will be milder and slightly unsettled.”

The Cheltenham Festival lasts for four days. It kicks off on Tuesday, March 13, and comes to an end on Friday, March 16.

The biggest race tends to go off on 3.30pm each day with the highlight of the four-day event being Friday’s Gold Cup.

The first race of each day goes off at 1.30pm with the last at 5.30pm. There are seven races each day and 28 throughout the four days.

TV coverage of the festival will be broadcast live on ITV Racing.


Article Source


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here