The third day began in much the same way. As far as they could tell, it was still snowing and James wondered if the whole house was now buried. He had no contact with his men, and no idea whether his animals were dead or alive. Sophia was concerned for James’ father, who was on his own in the cottage, and all the other families who depended on Applecross for a living. There was very little she could do but assume they were keeping as warm and dry as possible and sitting things out as best they could.
Over breakfast they all sensed a change in things. There was the sound of water running in trickles down the windows and when James opened the door he could see at the very top of the doorway that rain was falling instead of snow. Already the level had fallen, there was a six inch gap at the top of the door. So James and Freddie got their coats and boots on and began to shovel as much as they could away from the entrance. Sophia had already chipped a sizeable chunk of snow away to be warmed in a pot over the fire for water, so they began in that gap and made good progress. By lunchtime they could both stand on solid ground outside the door. The weather had warmed up, even though rain still fell. There was the sound of water running everywhere around them. When they reached a point where they could look back at the house James was astonished at how much snow lay over the place, but the warmer temperature and the rain had already begun to form cracks in the deep snow on the roof. They heard an occasional crack and slithering noises as sheets of snow slipped down a few inches at a time.