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Adventures in Scotland

On December 18, 2014 By Andy Bateman

Northern Cairngorms Winter Conditions.



Winter Abates ….. & Returns

The week has seen weather moderate from last weeks severe “Weather Bomb”. As I write the temperature on Cairngorm summit is dropping as colder air moves in from the NW. From a high of around 0 deg C today, it’s presently -2. The last 36 hours has seen a thaw at all levels on the hills and lower ground with around a high of 2 deg C at 1200m. The snow cover on the mountains is more obviously patchy but with all the new snow and very high winds of last week that was always essentially the case. Deep accumulations of snow still remain on lee slopes and in the lee of features. These milder conditions have introduced more moisture to the snowpack and with the arrival colder conditions this should help to stabilise things. Tuesday in the mountains was a bitterly cold day with the temperature dropping as low as -8 on Cairngorm Summit (1245m) and accompanied by very strong winds. Monday was little different whilst Sunday gave us a brief 6 hr thaw with the temperature rising and falling sharply giving us a high of 5 deg C on the summit. All in all there have been some good melt freeze cycles over the last week.


For the next 3 days the wind is forecast to be between 60 and 80 mph (gusts 90 mph) with the freezing level starting at 500 m to then rise well above the summits on Sunday. As we approach Christmas the forecast is for it to become increasingly wintry. There are to be continued freeze thaw cycles but with a progression toward significantly colder conditions around or after Christmas Day with snow falling to lower slopes and the ground frozen from valley floor upwards.


So in summary – not a bad start to the winter. Last Saturday also saw the start of the ski season on Cairngorm.


Best wishes,


Andy Bateman


PS: Fri – heavy snow showers and settling snow at all levels


Useful links:

Mountain Weather Information Service

Scottish Avalanche Information Service

Cairngorm Mountain


Related blogs:

New partnership between WalkHighlands and Scot Mountain Holidays: https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/new-partnership-walkhighlands-and-scot-mountain-holidays/

How do I prepare for a winter skills course: https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/how-do-i-prepare-winter-skills-course/ 

Hogmanay in the Cairngorms – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/hogmanay-cairngorms/

When to come to the Cairngorms: https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/when-come-cairngorms/

Which boots to choose for a winter hiking holiday – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/which-boots-choose-winter-walking/

How to build a snowhole – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/best-practice-building-snow-hole-scotland/

How to choose a walking ice axe – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/how-choose-walking-ice-axe/

Hogmanay plans at Fraoch Lodge – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/hogmanay-plans-fraoch-lodge/

Why is it called Hogmanay? – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/why-it-called-hogmanay/

Andy’s winter weather expertise – https://scotmountainholidays.com/blog/northern-cairngorms-winter-conditions-blog-4/

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