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Crazy Snow Exploits

Snow has been falling at our mountain Quinta in the Serra da Estrela, but we were tucked up warm  and cozy in front of the woodburner on Friday evening, just about to take a sip of red wine .. that is, until we received a call in the from a friend and neighbour whose vehicle had broken down on the way home from the airport with heavy luggage and two cats on board!

Not really thinking much about the situation my partner Dan and I locked up the house and drove to the local village in our Landrover Defender to collect Emily and Dave, the cats and the luggage. The roads looked okay so we decided to drive them home to their mountain top Quinta.

Big Mistake … as we drove round a hairpin turn, on a narrow road with a sharp drop … the snow deepened and the car lost traction … slipping back down the road! There was nowhere to turn round and our only option was to reverse back down the steep road. I felt like I was snow-ploughing the car down, braking and hovering over the clutch  as the mist began to settle.

Our hearts were beating, adrenalin was pumping and our mouths were dry! Dan, Emily and Dave walked behind the car clearing the snow with their feet and guiding me back along the original tracks, as the car slipped and slid backwards down the road. 30 minutes  later we came to a small patch in the road that was totally clean tarmac from an overhanging pine tree that had caught the snow in its branches. Dan walked ahead in the dark to see if there was another turning point and there wasn’t! By now my car clutch smelt awful, like it was burning out, and we decided this was the best option for a 10 point turn. Dan had to take over the driving as my legs were like jelly and my brain had stopped functioning logically. We ended up with Emily and I standing on the edge of the steep bank and Dave marking the mountainside ditch as we shouted instructions to Dan to guide him to turn in a space that was only the length of the Landrover.

Luckily, he achieved it and it was time for group hugs before Dan drove us very slowly down the remainder of the mountain. We decided the best option was for Emily and Dave to stay in our caravans with the cats and reassess the situation over a glass or two of Whiskey to calm our nerves! In the morning they began the two hour walk up the mountain in ankle deep snow to their mountain retreat.

Serra snowThe moral of the story… whilst we were perched on the side of the snowy mountain we realised we had little chance of being rescued and weren’t even prepared with warm blankets, food or water to sleep the night in the freezing temperatures! That is the first and last time I venture up the mountain in the snow!

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