Tales from the Frozen North

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Cairngorm: the Aviemore ski resort's prayers for snow are answered. A deliriously happy Tommy Paul, manager of the Cairngorm Chairlift Company, burbles: 'If I had ordered this blizzard personally, I couldn't have timed it better.' Alas, the drifts are so deep that all access roads to the pistes are closed.

Forfar: Aileen Johnston, who manages a class for slimmers in Brechin, endures the ultimate nightmare as she and several hundred other trapped motorists in a local hotel are offered a diet of high-calorie Forfar bridies (meat pies). She tries to convert hungry lorry drivers to the slimmers' path. She fails.

Tain: Cheryl Brunella, landlady of the Aultnamain Inn, 1,400 feet above Tain on the A836, plans an entry to the Guinness Book of Records for 'Britain's Quietest Pub'. Six-foot drifts block every route to the Inn. 'There's no point opening,' she says. 'I'm the only customer.'

Paisley: Allan Stewart, Scottish industry minister, misses the start of a business award ceremony after blizzards force his convoy to stop. The awards were highlighting a government programme called New Start.