Highlands & Islands

Date set for possible end to avalanche reports

Dog in Southern Cairngorms Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption Snow and sunshine in the Southern Cairngorms during the latest avalanche information season

The latest season of Scottish avalanche information reporting is due to come to an end later this month.

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) said the last forecast was scheduled to be issued on 17 April.

However, weekend reporting may continue after that date if wintry conditions return.

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

So far this season, the organisation's team of forecasters have recorded fewer avalanches than last winter - 170 compared to 237.

Image copyright SAIS Creag Meagaidh
Image caption Creag Meagaidh is one of the six areas covered by the SAIS

However, an avalanche has been suspected as causing the deaths of two climbers in February.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team believe Rachel Slater, 24, and Tim Newton, 27, from Bradford, were caught by an avalanche before starting a climb on the North Face of Ben Nevis.

This season, SAIS teams have encountered mixed weather conditions. Often the weather has changed from freezing temperatures and snow to milder conditions and a thaw in the space of 24 hours.

SAIS has been providing its service, which begin in December, for several years.

The six areas are among the most popular with hillwalkers and climbers, and include Scotland's highest mountains.

Image copyright SAIS Glencoe
Image caption Glencoe is another of the areas monitored for potential avalanche hazard
Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption SAIS teams have encountered mixed weather this season, with freezing temperatures often followed by milder conditions
Image copyright SAIS Torridon
Image caption Snow forms a huge question mark on a mountainside in Torridon in this image captured by an SAIS team

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