Inverness serves up ‘ice pancakes’

A RARE phenomenon has been spotted on the River Ness.

“Ice pancakes” have been seen floating in Inverness.

Chris Conroy, river director of Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, explained: “These frozen shapes are normally spotted in the Baltic Sea, the Great Lakes of North America, or in Antarctica, so it’s quite amazing to see these ‘pancakes’ locally.

“Their appearance in the Ness has triggered international interest and I’ve had calls and emails from as far away as the United States.”

The discs of ice measure between 20cm and 200cm in width and form when foam on a river begins to freeze and is sucked into an eddy, or swirling current, to form a circular shape.

As other pieces of frozen foam or ice hit the forming disc, they also freeze, adding to its size.

Conroy worked with producers of BBC wildlife programme Winterwatch, which this week and last has featured the River Ness and Loch Ness.

The show used the fishery board’s own film of salmon spawning.

Conroy said: “It was the first live footage of such spawning in the UK.

“The show increased the exposure of salmon to the public — and we feel it’s extremely important to raise the profile of this iconic Scottish species.

“We’ve worked with the programme producers for several series now and we’ve a good relationship, which in turn is positive for our area and for salmon’s future.”

The show also featured an otter in the Ness, which sparked considerable online excitement locally.

Conroy added: “There’s actually more than one.

“We cannot divulge locations, but there is a mum and two cubs in the river, while there are a couple in the canal.

“It’s good to see them appearing locally and they’ve certainly triggered huge interest.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.