Ice cathedral hit by big thaw
Published 15/01/2010 | 10:33
An ice cathedral formed from ten-foot long icicles is being hit by the big thaw.
The stunning ice formation at a former lead quarry near Middleton-in-Teesdale in County Durham has stood since before Christmas but is rapidly melting.
A frozen waterfall at Gibson's Cave nearby is also beginning to thaw. Long stretches of the River Tees remain iced over and were covered in fresh snowfall.
Meanwhile, Rangers at the Moor House Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve in the North Pennines are monitoring a family of otters whose footprints have dotted the snow across the river surface.
Reserve manager Chris McCarty said the prints, which showed two baby otters and one adult, showed the animals were flourishing despite the freeze.
He said: "The main feeling is one of encouragement.
"When you hear so much doom and gloom about the environment, when you can find something which shows a positive sign of things getting better then it's a real shot in the arm."