Highlands & Islands

Most snow patches counted in Scotland's hills since 1994

Iain Cameron in a snow tunnel on Beinn Bhrotain Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption Iain Cameron in a snow tunnel in a large patch of snow on Beinn Bhrotain

Seventy-three patches of snow have survived on Scotland's hills from last winter - the most for 21 years, according to a man who counts them.

Iain Cameron writes about, photographs and measures snow.

His records of the white stuff are published by the Royal Meteorological Society.

The total of 73 is the most since 1994. They have lingered through to this winter because of the cool spring and frequent snow showers until June.

Patches were recorded on mountains such as Creag Meagaidh, Ben Macdui and Ben Nevis.

Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption Snow patches on Creag Meagaidh
Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption A cool spring and summer have helped the snow to survive into this winter
Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption Snow in a gully on Creag Meagaidh

Mr Cameron said snow had survived this in areas where the phenomenon was unusual.

He said: "This includes, also for the first time since 1994, mountains in the north west Highlands, where 12 patches survived.

"The reason so many patches survived is undoubtedly to do with the very cool spring, which saw frequent and heavy snow showers right through May and even into June.

"In fact, there are good grounds to believe that the maximum depth of snow recorded in the gullies of Ben Nevis was achieved in early June.

"Also because of the cool and overcast summer months. For example, the summit of Aonach Mor - 4,000ft - recorded only four days where the temperature exceeded 10C.

"July and August were also cool, and taken together this meant that melting rates were diminished."

Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption A snow tunnel on Creag Meagaidh
Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption Investigating the underside of a snow patch on Ben Macdui

Lasting snow - snow that has fallen recently and expected to linger - came about 10 days ago, Mr Cameron said.

It means many of the 73 patches could survive into next summer.

Earlier this year, Mr Cameron recorded details of an avalanche that occurred during the summer months.

It was found on Sgurr na Lapaich, the highest of a remote range of mountains in the Highlands.

Describing the debris as an "incredible scene", Mr Cameron said the snow had survived because of a "protective jacket" of thick mud.

Image copyright Iain Cameron
Image caption A big patch on Ben Macdui

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