Highlands & Islands

'Tropical' start to Scotland's latest avalanche season

SAIS team member's dog on Glas Maol Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption No snow was found on the Glas Maol high plateau in the Southern Cairngorms

Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) teams have told of unseasonably mild conditions at the tops of Scotland's highest mountains.

Daily avalanche information reports for areas popular with hillwalkers and climbers started on Thursday.

SAIS teams light-heartedly described conditions in the Northern Cairngorms as "tropical".

Weather forecasters expect this December to be one of the warmest in more than 100 years.

SAIS assesses avalanche hazard in six areas - Lochaber, Glen Coe, Creag Meagaidh, Southern Cairngorms , Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

The reports are issued until mid-April.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption Snow at Glenshee in the Southern Cairngorms in early last December

Usually SAIS teams encounter colder temperatures and more snow at the start of their forecasting season.

Conditions in the Southern Cairngorms were described as "very mild" by the SAIS, and there was no snow on plateau areas such as Glas Maol.

Glen Coe was "mild and wet", according to the service.

It was cooler at Creag Meagaidh where a full depth avalanche was recorded on Thursday.

An SAIS forecaster for the mountain said: "We have much more snow than the 'Gorms at the moment but who knows how long it will last given the unseasonal temperatures projected for the next few days."

On Friday, teams covering the Southern Cairngorms and Torridon reported again on the warm weather.

The Torridon team said: "Continuing high temperatures in Torridon. Thermometer reached 15C in Kinlochewe early in the afternoon."

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption Deeside's snow-free hills
Image copyright SAIS Torridon
Image caption No snow visible on the Liathach in Torridon

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