It’ll be all white on the night

There’s not a lot to put the wind up you like the words ‘frozen lake.’ If you’re from Scandinavia, or Alaska, or no doubt large parts of Russia, driving on seasonal ice is about as remarkable as going to the toilet. But to us flimsy Brits, who see half an inch of snow and lose the capacity to think, a sniff of the idea is enough to send us into a swivel-eyed

Have the Health and Safety people been informed? Has someone done a risk assessment? Who checked the depth of
the ice? What if it breaks? How can they be so blasé about it? Is it frozen all the way to the bottom? Is this all a sick joke and we’re about to be plunged to a shivery end? Oh yes, and look at all this snow! Everything must grind to a halt and everyone must unleash their inner crap driver upon each other. It’s the law! Forgive me. We’re British and it’s what
we do.

So here’s the first thing I learned aboard a convoy of Nissan Ariyas and X-Trails amid the extremely white landscape of
late February in Finland. You can drive a car on just 15cm of lake ice. A bit more is better, but that’s enough. A cheerful former rally driver told me this, with the patient demeanour of someone who’s used to talking to idiots.

Right now, he explains, we’ve got more like 60cm below us. Someone’s been out there in a nine-tonne tractor and they didn’t cause even a crack, so stop being so lame about it. He didn’t say the last bit, I said it to myself.

Read the full article in the April issue of Overlander 4×4.

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