50 years ago this week: Friday, March 9, 1962

NORTH Northumberland had its worst snowfall for years on Saturday.

In five hours – six in some places – a slow-moving snowbelt which stopped a few miles south of Alnwick, brought chaos on the roads and literally ground traffic to a halt.

From just before 9 o’clock in the morning until 11am, five inches of snow fell in Alnwick itself and by 2pm the figure had risen to nine inches.

Worst hit of all were villages east of the Great North Road.

In the Seahouses area alone more snow fell than at any time since 1947.

The thick white blanket even extended as far as the Farne Islands and was still visible at the beginning of the week. Southbound buses arrived in Alnwick up to two hours late and, because of deep drifts and skidding vehicles at Heiferlaw Bank, police decided to close the Great North Road for more than two hours.

Nearly 100 workmen backed by 30 snowploughs were brought into action to keep traffic flowing and as they toiled in the blizzards, the village of Whittingham, nine miles west of Alnwick, basked in warm spring sunshine.

There were innumerable mishaps as cars, buses, lorries and heavy articulated vehicles ran into drifts or skidded on road surfaces made even more dangerous by frost at night.

Among them was Bobby Mitchell, the former Newcastle United and now Berwick Rangers footballer.

He was on his way back to Tyneside after failing to reach Berwick when his car skidded just south of Alnwick.

No one was hurt.

In an Alnwick garage the weight of snow brought down part of the roof.

Between four and six inches fell in the Rothbury district and slight drifting was reported on Sunday near Biddlestone.