Loch Leven

I was working from home yesterday, so was confined to staring out at the snow from my window. Today, despite the continued snowfall, I made sure to get out and make the most of it. Without wanting to tempt fate too much, I decided to keep it local and go for a leisurely stroll through Vane Farm Nature Reserve at Loch Leven.

I was pleased to find that the winter tyres I’d bought inspire confidence [but not overconfidence] when conditions are poor. Grip is good, thanks to a softer rubber compound, particularly lateral grip when cornering. Popping the handbrake to try and induce a sideways slide failed miserably, something that was staggeringly easy to accomplish with my summer tyres last winter. They’ll still spin if you put down too much power, but stopping distances seem to be shorter and more controlled. Maybe it’s time we considered making them mandatory in the UK, given our climate…

I’m particularly pleased with myself, as 4x Continental WinterContact 205/55/16 normally approach £400, but I managed to get the lot, fitted, for £150.

They’re second hand.

This usually raises a few eyebrows, but each has 5-7mm of tread. One arrived with severe sidewall damage [which, to be fair, I’d missed too, the first time I looked them over], a quick mail to the ebay seller and 24hrs later, a replacement arrived. Forty-odd quid for the local tyre shop to fit them and so far, so good. Sometimes a little gamble pays off. I decided on the Contis, based on this group test.

Snowchains will probably still be on the cards at some point, but will only be of use in specific conditions. The tyres are beneficial on a daily basis at this time of year, even if there is no snow. If nothing else, it saves wear on the Kumhos, which are now in the garden shed until April.