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firefly

Snow on the Scottish mountains - 2014

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Greetings, chionophiles...

Whilst everywhere else in the country seems to be under water, and suffering from 'no snow' blues, the Highlands of Scotland (the west in particular) are absolutely smothered in the stuff.

When the avalanche forecasts begun in mid December then things were looking very thin indeed (http://saislochaber.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/a-wet-and-windy-day-on-ben-nevis.html). However, a couple of days later the big, moisture-laden storms from the Atlantic started to roll in. And they just didn't stop. One after the other they rumbled across from the west, depositing shed-loads of snow as the went. By the second week in January, the thin conditions had turned on their head (http://saislochaber.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-ben-today.html).

The pattern since then has been more of the same, with the last two weeks adding and adding to the remarkable depth of snow. By-and-large the weather has been too poor for photographs, but a brief break a few days ago allowed Kenny Gaittens to photograph this lone walker on the very modest hill of Beinn Mhanach, near Tyndrum. More an arctic wilderness than a Scottish hill!

With the exception of the Lecht (which has suffered due to a lack of northerly airstreams), every ski centre is having to dig its tows out of the snow, and it's making national news (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-25964307). If you've got Facebook, have a nose around its website for some remarkable images: https://www.facebook.com/CairnGormMtn?fref=ts

The prospect for snow patches this year is one of the best I've seen since I started observing in the 1980s. We're not quite at 1994 levels yet, but if the snow keeps coming then that's a distinct possibility.

I'll keep you updated periodically.

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Thanks Firfly, As you say with the best snow cover in the Highlands for 20yrs we should be in for a good season.

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Thanks for this, as a snow starved Yorkshire lad, I'm staying in fort William for a week in mid Feb, so it looks as though I will get my snow fix after all, however I will have to climb a mountain by the looks of it. :)

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I can't wait to get out there and play once all this madness settles down.  We could do with some hefty consolidation to make those loaded aspects safer just now though.

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Current depths For Glencoe is Above 580 Cm on the Main basin,Cairngorm has 300 cm and Nevis Range Has 350 Cm. Went up Glencoe Week Ago it was Unbelievable. Currently more snow in Highlands Than many famous winter resorts in Canada And USA.

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Glencoe is looking fantastic, with some more massive dumping's to come this week to.

 

 

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Another excellent week ahead for the ski centres, with very little thaw action, indeed it looks a cold week with preety much all precipitation above 400m being of snow, with the chance of low level snowfall on occasion.

 

Superb conditions for half term week I think and the promise hopefully of some calmer conditions a week from now. It has been the strength of the wind this winter which has made winter walking conditions exceptionally hazardous, I've not known a winter like it for so little calm weather.. I can walk in heavy rain and snow but combined with strong winds - no!

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Current depths For Glencoe is Above 580 Cm on the Main basin,Cairngorm has 300 cm and Nevis Range Has 350 Cm. Went up Glencoe Week Ago it was Unbelievable. Currently more snow in Highlands Than many famous winter resorts in Canada And USA.

 

Not bad at all - our local mountain in Canada is Sunshine Village near Banff and its been a poor year. Current depth is 415 cm's but of course a lot of this has been man made as temperatures are very cold. Haven't had snow here in about 4 weeks. Unusual.

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Yes, an astonishing amount of snow on the hills of the Highlands. Depths are now getting on for 1994 levels in places, and there's no sign of things changing in the short to medium term. Incredible to think that we're only just into the second week in February, with potentially another 6-8 weeks of accumulation to come. The snow patch season in Scotland this year is going to be vintage! Of that there is little doubt.

 

A cracking picture of the Creag Meagaidh range of hills near Fort William. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-T7qrvaQ7NCw/UvjkxwfhNlI/AAAAAAAABjw/5d_Yx89o8-E/s1600/P1010674.JPG Alpine looking, with incredible cover. Picture by the SAIS boys.

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Looking forward to my annual trip to the highlands, just waiting for a decent settled spell now so the snow can be enjoyed to it's fullest!

 

Slightly off topic but the Lakeland fells are building up a decent cover but Cross Fell range looking very poor.

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Yes MS, went up Highlands in December but no chance climbing with hurricane force winds, waiting for things to settle myself conditions will be epic up there come Spring with more snow than ever before !

 

 

 

Iain (Spike) Sykes, founder of Nevis Range today claimed that Nevis Range has more snow than ever in the history of skiing at the mountain resort.

Spike said: “This is the best days skiing I have ever had in Scotland. I skied in places that we never planned to ski when building the resort as we never for a moment thought it would be possible. I skied ‘far’ far west, and the Nid Wall where there’s flat even snow. All the fences have vanished. I reckon its 60ft deep in the Goose Gully which has completely flattened the run out – it’s probably the best part of a mile wide. I’ve never seen it looking like it is today. I haven’t, I genuinely haven’t. If it keeps on like this, I will just keep on skiing, right through summer. It’s just magic.â€

http://blog.nevisrange.co.uk/?p=873

 

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And the models well gfs ,continue to show plenty of cold enough conditions at elevation with even more snow for the Scottish highlands in the short to medium term!Posted Image

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Nevis Range have said that they currently have more snow then at any point in the history of the resort!

The Goose gully is full to the rafters with ski anywhere conditions, getting onto a mile width. At its depest point they reckon the snow in the gully is getting onto 60ft deep. General cover of 3.6m on upper runs and 1.6m on lower runs. The season will last well into the summer and beyond at this rate!

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Probably some of the best conditions for half term week for years - in terms of amount of snow.. Lets hope things calm down a bit next week to enjoy them. No fun in severe gales. Indeed most of our higher ground in the north of the country has been out of bounds for the average walker for much of the winter due to the winds - which have consistently been at dangerous levels.

 

We have barely had a 24 hour window of calm weather all winter - its been shockingly poor for anyone who loves getting out and about on our mountains. Indeed I would rate this winter as the worst in this respect since at least winter 04/05 and probably have to go back to 94/95 for an equally windy winter.

 

In an average year, conditions tend to calm down markedly as we move into the second half of February as the atlantic traditionally weakens... but this is far from an average start to a year..

 

In terms of snowfall on the Lakeland fells, after a very poor first half to the season with barely a covering, conditions these last 4 weeks have brought much snow to ground above 600m and on many occasion decent cover down to 400m. Indeed this morning snow cover was lying at a level 300m. Further heavy snow is expected over the coming days above 400m, with little thaw below 500-600m mark - so some proper winter climbing conditions for sheltered northern and eastern aspects.

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The week coming up will see copious amounts of moisture for the Scottish mountains and the temps will be plenty cold enough at the Nevis range for snow etc...The  925mb chart which I show is the temps at 2.500ft, so plenty of scope of snow to fall at the more elevated of the Nevis range,,,,,,

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Glencoe is even more buried..

 

 

 

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Its looking lovely up there in Glencoe this morning apart from a few Snow showers blowing through, a busy day ahead i would of thought for the ski patrols.. Avalanche risk is considerable, with massive cornices in places.

 

Significant areas of fresh unstable windslab exist on West through South to East facing slopes, mainly above 750 metres. Those exposed to the Westerly wind are now wind scoured. Older deposits of windslablie on West through North to East facing slopes. The avalanche hazard is Considerable.

 

Posted ImagePosted Image

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Look at the size of this cornice in the Back Corries.

 

 

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Do you think summer skiing would be possible Firefly given the amount of snow?

 

I assume a bumper year for snow patches is a distinct possibility?

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Do you think summer skiing would be possible Firefly given the amount of snow? I assume a bumper year for snow patches is a distinct possibility?

If you count June as Summer I think there has been skiing in at least 2 out of the last four years. The tows stop sometimes not because of lack of snow but because it is not economically viable to keep going as people take up their Summer activities.This year unless there is a remarkable Spring looks like a banker for late skiing and there could be more interest beyond Easter due to the number of days skiing has been restricted because of weather, high winds, blocked roads and buried ski tows.

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This week looks milder, but I doubt it'll do much harm in the grand scheme of things and at snow patch level there could still be accumulations of snow rather than rain.

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This week looks milder, but I doubt it'll do much harm in the grand scheme of things and at snow patch level there could still be accumulations of snow rather than rain.

Yep. Freezing level around 800mtrs asl at times so slight thaw at lower levels. High level snowfields should be ok.

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