These stunning photographs capture the moment skaters took to the ice on the frozen fields of the Fens for the first time in almost a decade.
As temperatures plunged well below zero, around 20 skaters braved the freezing conditions this morning (Friday, March 2) on the vast marshy plains near Whittlesey.
Several people played ice hockey while other families and couples simply enjoyed skating around the large expanse of frozen land.
One onlooker said the size of the frozen area stretched to around 20 football pitches, covering water around a foot deep.
A member of the public, who lives nearby, said: “It’s just amazing to see people out on the ice having fun like this.
“Fen skating is an important tradition for people around the area so it’s great to see it being kept alive.”
The activity of ice skating in the region goes back to at least the 19th century, when people would travel from as far as the Netherlands to watch races on the Fens.
The area has produced some of the country’s best speed skaters, such as Cyril Horn, from Wisbech, who competed in the 1924 and 1928 Winter Olympics.
However, due to a string of warm winters ice skaters have not been able to practise on the Fens since 2010.
Roger Giles, a member of the Fen Centre, part of the National Ice Skating Association, said: “It was such a bonus to get this late window to keep the fen skating tradition going and to hear people were skating at Whittlesey today was pleasantly surprising.”
The 80-year-old moved to Welney, Norfolk, in 1959, and has spent most of his life promoting the sport.
Seeing so many people on the ice was a good reason have an 400m indoor ice rink in the area so Fenland people could once more compete in the Winter Olympics, argued Mr Giles.
He added: “We want to keep these Fenland traditions going.”