Highlands & Islands

Wintry conditions in Scotland's hills ahead of Storm Barbara

Fresh snow in Coire na Ciste, Ben Nevis Image copyright SAIS Lochaber
Image caption Fresh snow in Coire na Ciste, Ben Nevis

Snow has been falling over Scotland's mountains and highest hills ahead of the expected arrival of Storm Barbara.

Snow was forecast and, while being far from unusual, follows a spell of mild weather.

Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) teams have reported wintry conditions in Lochaber and Glen Coe.

SAIS' latest season began last Friday to only snow at higher levels in the six mountain areas checked for avalanche hazards.

As well as Lochaber and Glen Coe, snow has been falling over the Cairngorms.

Image copyright SAIS Lochaber
Image caption Looking up towards the cliffs of Ben Nevis from below Observatory Gully last Friday
Image copyright SAIS Lochaber
Image caption Observatory Gully, Ben Nevis, on Wednesday

The Met Office has issued yellow "be aware" and amber "be prepared" warnings of Storm Barbara bringing gale force winds for much of Scotland.

The start to SAIS' previous season, 2015/16, also saw mild conditions before later periods of wintry weather and avalanches.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms team
Image caption SAIS Southern Cairngorms team member's dog in the mountain range on Tuesday

Every winter, SAIS assesses avalanche hazards in Torridon, Lochaber, Glen Coe, Creag Meagaidh, Southern Cairngorms and Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

It provides information on the stability of snowpack on the mountains from December until mid-April.

Hillwalkers and climbers use the SAIS' reports alongside mountain weather forecasts when planning trips into Scotland's hills.

On the first day of the new season, the SAIS Glencoe team described the conditions in its patch as "mild" and "moist".

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