While there were still a few mushrooms still available to be picked in the forest a week or two back, in recent days pond ice in some of Northern Estonia's wilder spots has already formed to a depth able to support skating – unusually early on in the year.
ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera," (AK) reported from the Kõnnu suursoo bog, around 60km East of Tallinn, where some intrepid souls had already been out on the ice, which some of them found to be near perfect for skating.
In the shallower ponds where the water barely reaches above the knee at least, the ice is thick enough to skate upon – and presumably no major hazard even if one does break through.
Local hiking guide Meriliis Kotkas said that such conditions in November are "not very common."
"I haven't been on the ice as early as this in the past," she went on. "This is very unusual in Northern Estonia. It usually gets colder faster elsewhere," she added.
South Estonia being further from the moderating influence of the sea tends to see lower temperatures in winter, which is also a longer season there despite being further south.
Skating requires at least 10cm thickness of ice, which means in North Estonia, mid-December is usually the earliest time of year in which you can skate.
Kotkas added that with sea ice, with its salt content, some years the ice doesn't get strong enough to safely traverse at any time.
In any case, Kotkas said safety is of the essence when venturing out on to the ice to skate or for any other purpose; precautions should include carrying spare warm clothes in a waterproof backpack, and taking ice spikes, worn around the neck on cords and used to extricate oneself from any broken ice mishap.
Furthermore, one should never go out on the ice alone, and not rely on social media reports alone when considering conditions – as these can change rapidly.
Ice skaters should also maintain a few meters' distance from one another, so that too much weight is not concentrated on the same point.
Some of Estonia's islands are also connected to the mainland, during colder winters, by the famous ice-roads, which can be driven upon when conditions are right, though this generally does not start until much later in winter than November.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Hanneli Rudi.