Peaks season: Avalanche forecasting in Scotland

By Steven McKenzie
BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

Published
Image source, SAIS Lochaber
Image caption,
A walker takes in views of Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis

The Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) has completed its first month of its latest forecasting season.

Every winter, SAIS assesses avalanche hazards in Lochaber, Glen Coe and Creag Meagaidh.

Image source, SAIS Lochaber
Image caption,
A view from Lochaber's peaks out towards the Cairngorms

The service also covers the Southern Cairngorms, Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

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

The latest season began on 15 December. Twenty-eight avalanches have been recorded by SAIS so far.

Image source, SAIS Glencoe
Image caption,
Buachaille Etive Mor in all its glory under snow and blue skies
Image source, SAIS Torridon
Image caption,
A fine day in Torridon
Image source, SAIS Northern Cairngorms
Image caption,
A walking party in Coire an t-Snechda in the Northern Cairngorms

Conditions experienced so far by the teams have included snow-covered mountains in cold, but calm weather.

At the weekend, there was windier weather and poor visibility high up in places such as Lochaber and the Southern Cairngorms.

But snow has been forecast for Scotland this week.

Image source, SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption,
Snow-covered hills in the Southern Cairngorms lit up the sun
Image source, SAIS Creag Meagaidh
Image caption,
Creag Meagaidh wearing a winter coat of deep snow
Image source, SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption,
A view from the Southern Cairngorms

A total of 90 avalanches were recorded by last season, SAIS' lowest number of recorded avalanches in almost 10 years.

In the previous 2015-16 season there were 207.

Image source, SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption,
Fog lowered visibility in the Southern Cairngorms at the weekend
Image source, SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption,
SAIS will issue its forecasts until about mid April

All images are copyrighted to SAIS.

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