SPRING lambs were once again able to bask in the sunshine – only 24 hours after being buried deep in driving snow.

The Northern Echo yesterday published a photo of the moment farmer Adrian Dowson dug out one small lamb from a 5ft drift.

Hours later, the 47-year-old showed off the lamb – one of 12 buried for many hours as snow blew in behind the field walls as they sought shelter.

Loading article content

“When I went to bed on Tuesday night, the weather was so bad I knew we would have problems,” said Mr Dowson.

“By 5am, I was up in the fields hunting for missing lambs. You could hear some of them bleating under the snow, but I just had to hunt for most of them and look for big drifts.”

Mr Dowson runs Battle Hill Farm, near Cotherstone, County Durham, with brother- in-law Andrew Sartin.

So far, they are halfway through the lambing season and the 300 new arrivals were enjoying one of the warmest March months on record – until temperatures plunged on Tuesday.

“They aren’t used to this sort of weather and don’t have as much wool as the ewes to keep warm,” he said.

“But they’re all fine now – they actually looked quite cosy when we dug them out.

“All of the rescued lambs have now been reunited with their mothers and there have been no cases of hypothermia.

“They look very clean and fresh now in the sunshine.”

Meanwhile, engineers from Northern Powergrid brought in spotter helicopters in their quest to find snow-damaged powerlines as nearly 2,000 homes remained without electric yesterday.

Power was restored to 78,000 properties in the North-East, the majority in County Durham and North Yorkshire affected after the snowstorm struck on Tuesday evening.

Last night, the number of homes still cut off stood at 1,700, mainly on the North York Moors.

Forecasters last night predicted that temperatures in the region would only reach a maximum of 9C over the Bank Holiday weekend, with cloud and some rain expected.

More cloud and showers are expected on Bank Holiday Monday.