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Winter returns with a vengeance as cold snap puts pressure on A&E departments

INJURED walkers, cyclists and the elderly have spent the weekend getting patched up for broken arms, collar bones and other injuries after being caught out by a sudden cold snap.

Days of mild temperatures across Scotland were replaced by a sudden weekend drop in the thermometer which turned many pavements and paths into deadly ice rinks for those venturing out on Saturday morning and yesterday.

Although NHS boards were unable to provide any figures for the numbers of people admitted to accident and emergency departments, anecdotal evidence suggests a sharp spike.

Cyclist Julie Gardham, 45, suffered a dislocated and fractured shoulder after she skidded and crashed on ice while riding her bicycle near Methven in Perthshire,

Mrs Gardham, 45, a librarian at Glasgow University, said: "The hospital staff and paramedics at Perth Royal Infirmary were all brilliant, but they were obviously having a very busy afternoon in A&E.

"While I was there an elderly man was being treated for a nasty gash to his head, caused by slipping and falling on the ice. There seemed to be a lot of falls."

Other victims of the sudden freeze, which saw temperatures plunge from being several degrees above zero to minus figures on Saturday and Sunday spoke on social media about their experiences.

Passenger Robert Turnbull, writing on Facebook, said he had almost slipped onto the railway track at Hairmyres station in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.

He said: "Was getting on the train at Hairmyres, slipped on ice and fell, nearly went right under the train."

Eleanor McColl tweeted: "Lots of black ice on the roads around Glasgow this morning. Pavements are treacherous."

Another unlucky Glasgow pedestrian wrote on the social networking site: "I've just slipped walking home on some black ice, going home to nurse my bruise."

Another compared the state of the pavements in Glasgow to an ice rink, adding it was a "good night for staying in".

The Met Office has warned of more rain and freezing conditions which will make walking and driving potentially treacherous.

Pensioners are thought to be more at risk of injury, and relatives and neighbours have been urged to be check in on anyone who may be vulnerable.

A spokesman for the charity, Age Scotland, said: "It's sensible for older people to take care during icy conditions, but it's also important to keep as active as possible as exercise improves strength and balance and so reduces the risk of having a fall."

Meanwhile, in the West Highlands, snow showers turned roads and pavements white, while good conditions also lured skiers and snowboarders out on to the hills at all Scotland's majors snowsport resorts.

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