A SCOTTISH winter wonderland has been forced to close its ice rink after it started to melt due to warm weather.
The rink, the main attraction of Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, has been closed since yesterday (thurs) because the ice is unsafe for the public to skate on.
The recent warmer winter winds have taken the top layer of ice off of the rink, leaving it too thin.
Workers are now trying to re-freeze the rink so potential skaters will not be left disappointed at the weekend.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh’s winter festival said: “The ice rink is still closed today (fri). It’s just so warm so it’s starting to melt.
“The weather has taken the top layer of the ice off so we’ve had to close for health and safety reasons.
“We’re hoping today it will be fixed and can re-open tomorrow.” (sat)
She added: “We have had to close the rink a couple of times before because of high winds but not for a whole day before.
“It’s been closed early on three days but people have been working through the night to refreeze the ice for its re-opening.”
In order for the ice rink to be re-opened tomorrow, workers have to refreeze the water to ensure the ice is thick enough for people to skate on.
She added: “It’s a bit like your freezer at home. Lots of pipes are running underneath the ice and pump out glycol which helps freeze the water on the rink.
“The ice is currently about two-and-a-half inches thick where it needs to be at four inches so it is safe to skate on.”
The unseasonal weather saw temperatures reach 15C earlier in the week which meant re-freezing the ice has been very difficult.
The spokeswoman added: “On Wednesday into Thursday the temperature hit 15C which is just far too warm to re-freeze. It’s been unseasonably warm this year.”
One Twitter user, Gemma Cooper, took to the social networking site to explain that the ice rink had melted because of the warmer weather.
She wrote: “The ice rink in the princes street gardens is melting because it’s so mild… Winter is gonna bite back, just waiting! :-/.”
Douglas Taylor, managing director of M and D Leisure, who operate the ice rink, said the firm have been facing an uphill battle with the warmer temperatures.
He said: “Obviously we were disappointed but there was not a lot we could do with the weather. It is like trying to operate a fridge with the door open, impossible.
“We had temperatures running 15 degrees above freezing. If you came to the gardens in July, it didn’t get to that so it’s a bit of a freak it’s happening now.
“Even though we are using state-of-the-art chillers, on the green side of things we needed a bit of help with the temperatures we didn’t get.
“As long as we don’t have any more rain we should have ice again today and the weekend.”
Hundreds of people have turned away from the attraction as the Capital basked in temperatures hotter than holiday favourite Ibiza.
Beverly Major,27, brought her children Kaitlin, four and Holly, six, on a trip from Durham.
The family were left gutted they were not allowed to go ice skating.
She said: “I’d seen the ice rink before we came here and the girls were hoping to get on.
“It’s the one thing they really wanted to do so, of course, they were disappointed.
“We travelled a long way to do this and I don’t think we’ll manage to get back here before we go home. We wondered what had happened to it and it’s funny to think it’s the weather.”
The ice rink is just one of the winter attractions at Princes Street Gardens this winter.
The festival also featured the Edinburgh wheel, a flying carousel and various food and drink stalls in the gardens.
All of the winter attractions finish up on Sunday 6 January.