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All things hiking News Skills tips Weather reports Winter

How to forecast snow

Understand Thickness and get an Advanced Snow Forecast.

Whatever winter sport is your passion, getting the most out of the UK winter season is inevitably about being opportunistic. You need to jump to it when the conditions are right. Getting into the hills requires some degree of planning. You need to learn all the tips you can on about how to forecast snow. When forecasters tend only to predict 3 days in advance, it doesn’t give much time to get organised. 

Season passes have been released by Cairngorm Mountain and quite possibly the other ski centres across Scotland. Now’s the time to keep your eye out for the snow predictions.

Understanding weather forecasts: how to forecast snow

This changes though when you understand atmospheric thickness and how it relates to the 5 day synoptic weather charts. Have you ever noticed those numbered dashed lines hiding behind the isobars? (see below – on Bracknell charts predicting 36 hrs or more ahead)  Well they represent the thickness of the atmosphere and this directly relates to the temperature of the air-mass. Bear with me, here’s the techie bit.

Air pressure at sea level tends to equalise at around 1000mb. The colder the air, the greater the density and hence you need less of it volume wise to create that 1000mb pressure. Therefore the atmosphere is thinner at the poles than it is at the equator. Meteorologists have realised that by measuring the altitude at which the air pressure halves (i.e. is 500mb) they can plot the movement of cold air from the polar regions towards the equator. In the northern hemisphere these thickness lines represent the southern limit of cold air moving down from the north.

How to forecast snow

As far as wintry weather in the UK’s mountains is concerned it’s the 528 line (equates to 5280m) you want to watch out for. When it crosses the UK you can expect snow on the hills at least. They are a bit like contour lines. The closer together they are the more the marked the temperature change but if, lets say, the 528 line is 300 miles out to the west over the Atlantic you might be at least be expecting snow on the highest tops in Scotland. If the 510 line approaches the UK wrap up warm, very warm! The charts predicting the arrival of the “Beast from the East” had the whole of the UK enveloped beneath the 510 line!

For those of you who can jump to it and might be in need of accommodation in the Northern Cairngorms area check out Fraoch Lodge.

 

Family Advenutre Holidays Scotland

Family Adventure Holidays in the Cairngorms

Why come to the Cairngorms with your family?

A family adventure holiday in Scotland

It’s very easy to be complacent about your surroundings when you live permanently in a beautiful place. The scenery becomes mundane and the choice of things to do “boring” because they are options open to you every day. When visitors arrive, it’s different. They don’t have the option of postponing their activities to next week; next month or next year. They want to enjoy themselves now and see and do as much as they possibly can. Here in the Cairngorms you’re almost spoilt for choice no matter what age you/your kids are. The beauty of our natural environment here in the Cairngorms is perfect for a family adventure holiday.

The myths

“It’s always wet.”

“It’s so cold.”

pre-school_families_blog.jpgIt is a wee bit cooler here than in the balmy climate of London and the South Coast. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have the snow in winter, the reindeer living here year round; nor the polar bears in the Highland Wildlife Park as well as the Amur Tigers. (Both the polar bears and the Amur Tigers are cold climate dwellers.) However, we also have a drier climate than the west coast of Scotland and Glasgow and also can be a lot drier than in the Midlands.

If Wimbledon had been played in our local tennis club this year, we wouldn’t have had the same rain delays as at the All England Club. In fact this year, despite the moans of gardeners in England, it looks as if our own garden is going to be the most productive it has been for a long time. Plums, apples, strawberries, red currants and raspberries are all coming along nicely ready for the prime summer holiday season. (Rhubarb has been a bumper crop and is already transformed into Rhubarb Crumble ice cream and Rhubarb and Vanilla jam.)

Part one: A Pre-School Family

There’s many a parent gets stuck after the birth of their child. The challenge of just surviving the day is too much to allow for anything else in their lives. The baby is the central focus of their lives and all previously enjoyed pass-times take a back seat. Unfortunately this can then give rise to a lot of resentment as time passes on and the new mother takes on the identity of “Mum” but feels that she is losing her own identity.

Everyone needs something to look forward to and as the old saying goes “a change is as good as a rest”. Perhaps a wee break from routine would re-energise the whole family.

family adventure holiday in Scotland

Enjoy the Strathspey steam railway during your visit.

Fortunately young children (pre-school and early primary school age) are for the most part a lot more adaptable than their parents give them credit for. The majority of them will still sleep when they are tired (even in the most unlikely of places). They’ll still eat when hungry and a new environment will be stimulating enough to entertain them. That’s them sorted. The trick then is to pick somewhere to take them which appeals to you as a parent but will not introduce more hassle to your life. So somewhere which is family friendly but not just in name.

Child friendly facilities at Fraoch Lodge

There are self-catering cottages which pride themselves on being family friendly because they offer the use of cots, high chairs etc. To my mind this is not enough to be a family friendly facility. At Fraoch Lodge we have a variety of books and toys for wee ones along with a large garden for them to explore complete with a sandpit, garden tools, a digging area, a toddler trampoline and a slide; complete with personal guide (if desired) in the shape of the resident child, Gregor.

We can also offer the whole family or just the parents a chance to eat “out” while in. In other words, we can cater for you while the kids sleep upstairs, so you won’t need a babysitter, but equally can relax with a glass of wine and not have to cook yourselves. Or alternatively we can cook for the kids first and yourselves later or cook for the whole family together.

Things to do with the wee ones in Boat of Garten

When you come to Boat of Garten you don’t even need to go far to entertain the kids:

Options in the area for a family adventure holiday

There are in fact almost more choices than you’ll have time to explore. We’re happy to help you plan your stay so you get the most out of your time here and don’t forget if you’d like to book a guide, we can help. Sometimes the way to get the most our of your trip is to book a day with a guide and then explore the rest of your visit on your own. That way you’ll be able to take advantage of the guide’s local knowledge to open your eyes about what you’re seeing – it’s not just a flower, but a particular kind of flower which may be unique to the area; it’s not just a rock, but a certain kind of rock transported by a glacier perhaps ….

A family adventure holiday or 2 to consider with a younger family:

Under Your Own Steam
Cairngorms Discovery
 Get off the Beaten Track
Private Guiding

Look out for Part 2 – a family adventure holiday with kids in primary school

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