In pictures: Scotland's avalanche season

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The Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) is about half way through its latest season.

For a second year, the service's team of forecasters are working under Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

image copyrightSAIS Southern Cairngorms
image captionAvalanche forecast teams saw some spectacular conditions earlier this season

The team's assessments of potential avalanche hazard in six mountain areas are for use by people permitted to visit the hills in line with Scottish government travel rules, and if they are needed in the event of an emergency by search and rescue teams.

SAIS provides forecasts for Lochaber, Glen Coe, Northern and Southern Cairngorms Creag Meagaidh and Torridon from mid-December to mid-April.

The service has recorded 124 avalanches so far this season, 96 in the last month. SAIS recorded 241 last season.

Its highest number yet - 350 avalanches - was recorded in the 2014-15 season.

image copyrightSAIS Glencoe
image captionStob Dearg, Buachaille Etive Mor, earlier this year, and before a recent thaw

This season, SAIS forecasters have encountered the wintry "Beast from the East", which saw days of heavy snowfalls and low temperatures.

More recently there has been a thaw and avalanche activity in Lochaber and the Cairngorms.

image copyrightSAIS Creag Meagaidh
image captionThe vista across the Grey Corries from Geal Charn earlier in SAIS' latest season
image copyrightSAIS Southern Cairngorms
image captionSAIS teams provide avalanche hazard assessments for six areas, including the Southern Cairngorms
image copyrightSAIS Southern Cairngorms
image captionConditions have been challenging at times, including during the so-called Beast from the East
image copyrightSAIS Lochaber
image captionAvalanche forecasters have been among the few to visit Scotland's highest mountains during lockdown

Lockdown and the outdoors

There are strict limits on non-essential travel and Scotland's mountains are out of bounds to most people. Those who flout the rules risk fines.

People who live within easy reach of the hills have also been urged to adhere closely to guidance on how to enjoy the outdoors safely.

For further information:

image copyrightSAIS Torridon
image captionThe Torridon area is another of the six mountain areas covered by the service
image copyrightSAIS Lochaber
image captionOverhanging ledges of snow called cornices are among the main causes of avalanches when they collapse
image copyrightSAIS Creag Meagaidh
image captionAvalanche debris from a slide earlier this season with a rucksack showing the scale of the blocks of snow involved
image copyrightSAIS Creag Meagaidh
image captionTrails left by ski tourers at a snowy Creag Meagaidh earlier this year
image copyrightSAIS Southern Cairngorms
image captionBefore a thaw, huge depths of snow were encountered in the Cairngorms. This image shows the old Aberdeen ski hut in the Southern Cairngorms

All images are copyrighted.

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