The Mountain Weather Information Service provides detailed and accurate reports for the climbing and walking community in Scotland and Northern England. However, last year the service was under threat because the lone volunteer who runs it could no longer keep up with the workload.
Luckily, the Scottish Executive has just granted funding for the service to ensure its continuation and potentially save many lives.
Geoff Monk is a fully trained weather forecaster and a former Met Office employee. In 2002, after several discussions within the mountain community, he realised the mountain weather reports available online were automated and often inaccurate. Using his own experience of mountain weather and how it differs from lowland weather, Geoff decided to offer a far more accurate service for those using the mountains. Initially emailing a forecast a few times a week to around 20 people, the service grew until Andy Ross approached Geoff, offering server space and bandwidth for the information to be published daily on a website which now attracts over 1 million unique visitors per year.
The duo have been campaigning for funding from the Scottish Executive with support from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, and last year an announcement was made stating that the MWIS would receive £36,000 per annum over the next three years. Geoff Monk described the news that funding has been awarded as, "An answer to a prayer. What it will enable us to do is provide a better quality of service with an updated mountain forecast."
Here is a copy of the statement:
The Scottish Government is to provide funding to support the Mountain Weather Information Service, operated independently by Geoff Monk and Associates since 2004, for the first time.
Sport Minister Stewart Maxwell today announced that SportScotland will be investing £36,000 per annum over the next three years.
The service covers five geographical areas in Scotland:
- North-West Highlands
- West Highlands
- South-East Highlands
- Southern Uplands
The Minister said:
"Thousands of climbers already rely on the Mountain Weather Information Service for accurate information about conditions on Scotland's mountains.
"It is therefore absolutely vital we have a reliable mountain weather service to reassure walkers they have the best information at their fingertips."
"That's why I'm announcing that this service will be fully funded by the Scottish government, through Sportscotland, for the first time from this winter season."
"I want to applaud Geoff Monk and his colleagues for their selfless work to date in helping to ensure the safety of all those who make use of our wonderful natural environment."
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of SportScotland, said:
"We are pleased to invest in the Mountain Weather Information Service which we see as a fundamental resource for walkers and climbers. With more people enjoying Scotland's hills and mountains every year, it is essential that they are well prepared and hopefully this service will go a long way to ensuring people's safety."
Roger Wild, Mountain Safety Adviser for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said:
"This will be the first publicly-funded comprehensive mountain weather forecast service for outdoor users in Scotland and it will be a major resource in promoting the safety and enjoyment of all who go into the outdoors."
Page first published on Friday 27th July 2007
Page last updated on Tuesday 17th June 2008