Fen Skating

I’m quite fond of winter. Wrapping up warm, big fluffy jumpers, blankets and boots. 

Legend has it I was born during a snow storm, prompting my grandmother to swiftly name me her snow goose. Ahh. 

With the recent hint at possible snowfall I could only forlornly follow on Instagram as snowy scenes and images of fairly dodgy snowmen were posted whilst our pathetic regional attempt of slightly splodgy rain fell. 

The children equally disappointed. It got us reminiscing about winters past and fond memories of fen skating.

Fen skating is a traditional form of ice skating in this flat part of England that I call home.  The Fens of East Anglia are ideal for skating in the winter months as the fields and meadows flood and freeze over.

It’s quite an exact science, requiring an adequate amount of flooding in the fields. Followed by freezing temperatures that last long enough to ensure the difference between ice that is strong enough to skate on, and not just a very cold puddle.

When conditions are right the word is quickly spread and ice skates are hastily dug out for those that love the past time. Given conditions haven’t been successful for a while now we obviously don’t keep numerous pairs of skates on the off chance, but there lies the fun to beg, steal or borrow a pair. Or as we soon found out you can have just as much fun in your wellies.

Apologies the photos aren’t the best, ancient phone offerings I’m afraid. 

With a few pairs of scavenged skates the children remained remarkably upright. Falling over is of course pretty inevitable and all part of the fun. Admittedly it is quite daunting as the ice cracks and shifts underfoot  ðŸ˜³ but apparently that’s ok, if it starts bending however, prepare for wet feet. 

It’s always much more fun if you have a friend to help you balance.

1) Yes, that’s a random chair in the middle of the fens, or with a little imagination it looks a bit like one of those penguins seen at ice rinks. Squint and you might just see it. 😉

2) The photo is straight, the pole isn’t. It gets windy in these parts. 

If this is something you fancy trying you really are at the mercy of the weather.  Useful Twitter accounts keep a watchful eye on the conditions and report any promising or suitable ice fields. 

A certain case of striking while the iron is hot (or should that be cold?) a few hours of sunshine and the window of opportunity is soon closed. 

It is however brilliant fun and certainly worth waiting for, Ice skating in the great outdoors so very different to an ice rink and even better it’s free. 

Always check you are on a field at all times, no straying onto waterways – not cool folks, in fact bloody freezing. 

13 thoughts on “Fen Skating

  1. As soon as I saw the title it reminded me of Tom’s Midnight Garden. I’m sure they do it in that book… at least I have a vision of it happening and it always mesmerised me. Looks like loads of fun!

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    1. I mean obviously I thought long and hard about the title and that was exactly the image I was trying to conjure up. 😉

      *lies through teeth*

      Yeah, loads of fun and quite acceptable for me to fall over at my usual rate. Result.

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  2. Looks fun… But looks is about it for me. Never have been too adept at activities that my feet hare a significant chance at going faster than the rest of me…you know, skiing, skating, walking down stairs and the like. I’ve learned that I’m much better at standing or sitting by the fire and enjoying a nice coffee of better yet, a nice hot toddy.

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  3. Not sure whats up. I’ve ‘liked and followed’ your Mud & Nettles page. Try sending me a message on facebook…


  4. It might look like fun but I am SO HAPPY my kids and I don’t have the opportunity to do such herculean feats here in southern Spain, I’m from Canada which is completely frozen (as in tens of degrees below 0) 7 months of the year so I am very very happy to never see these sorts of things. It’s also very difficult to get this household out of doors in what we perceive as our deep freeze in January (with 20 degrees during the day but you know, that is extremely cold here haha).

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