Highlands & Islands

Peaky blinders: Stunning images of winter at mountain tops

Scotland's avalanche information service is about midway through its latest season providing reports on conditions in six mountain areas. In their work, the teams have taken photographs that reveal winter scenes on some of the UK's highest peaks.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) provides avalanche hazard information reports for walkers, climbers and skiers from December to early April.

The service covers hills and mountains in Lochaber, Glencoe, Creag Meagaidh, Southern Cairngorms, Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

Image copyright SAIS Glencoe
Image copyright Sais Creag Meagaidh
Image copyright SAIS Torridon
Image copyright SAIS Lochaber

As well as reporting on avalanche hazards, the teams write blogs on weather conditions high up in the hills and mountains.

SAIS Lochaber forecasters have encountered icy rime that quickly encrusted ski poles and other objects, while the Southern Cairngorms team found surfaces with a fur of hoar frost.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

Team members' furry friends have also been braving the wintry conditions, including Einich.

As a fully trained search and rescue dog Einich is used to being in snow.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

Last month, the dog and its handler Joy Grindrod accompanied an SAIS forecaster for the day in the Northern Cairngorms.

Image copyright SAIS Glencoe

A meteorological phenomenon known as the brocken spectre, which causes a person's shadow to be cast on low cloud. has been observed by the SAIS Glencoe team on Meall a Bhuiridh.

The effect is among explanations for the legend of the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui, a mysterious figure said to haunt the UK's second highest mountain.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms
Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

The Cairngorms mountains have been among the ranges to experience heavy snow falls and high winds.

The summit station on Cairngorm has almost disappeared under the white stuff. But on clear days, the top of Cairngorm mountain has offered views over to other peaks, such as Ben Avon.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms

Large overhanging ledges of snow called cornices pose one of the greatest risks to walkers and climbers.

They can be mistaken for solid ground. There were 18 recorded incidents of people falling through cornices last winter.

The ledges, such as this one at the top of Crumbling Cranny in the Southern Cairngorms, can also collapse under their own weight and cause avalanches.

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