Skiers are preparing to take to the Scottish slopes in earnest this weekend as the first big freeze of the winter takes hold.

Cairngorm Mountain, in Inverness-shire and The Lecht, Aberdeenshire, hope to open runs to snowboarders and skiers today, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, temperatures down to minus 5C are forecast. Higher areas are expected to be blanketed in white this morning, with between 2cm and 3cm of snow expected.

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The Met Office has warned of a "90% probability" of a severe cold snap and icy conditions lasting until midday on Sunday. "This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services," it said.

Picture: Peter Jolly