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North Grampian - Mountain weather forecast

Weather warnings

Warnings affecting North Grampian over the next 5 days


High for the bulk of the showers developing early Thursday, then conditions improving later in the day. Becoming medium and later low for the details of timing and intensity of the troughs that cross from the west from Friday.

  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Further outlook

Thursday 17 January 2019

Weather hazards

Severe chill effect High likelihood Hide detail

Wind significantly lowers the ‘feels-like’ temperature relative to the actual temperature, with even moderate winds significantly adding to the chilling effect. Strong winds can result in a severe and debilitating wind chill many degrees below the actual temperature. This effect will be enhanced in rain or wet snow. Without protection, prolonged exposure could result in frost nip or frostbite on exposed parts of the body and/or hypothermia.

Learn more about severe chill effect

Blizzards Medium likelihood Show detail

Blizzards and whiteouts present challenging and serious conditions due to a combination of falling or blowing snow, strong winds and cold temperatures. They can be highly disorientating, often resulting in near-zero visibility with limited or no visual references and no distinction between ground and sky. Cliff edges and cornices may not be apparent, even close up. These conditions require very good navigational skills.

Learn more about blizzards

Heavy snow Medium likelihood Show detail

Heavy snow can lead to rapid changes in underfoot conditions and paths may become treacherous or hidden. It also brings very poor visibility and often makes navigation much more challenging. When deep snow accumulates progress is often time consuming and strenuous, significantly affecting the distance one can travel on foot. Deep drifts can develop if snow is combined with strong winds. A heightened avalanche risk is possible and avalanche reports should be consulted where available.

Learn more about heavy snow

Storm force winds Medium likelihood Show detail

Storm force winds (gusts over 70mph) make walking very strenuous with any mobility virtually impossible over exposed ground. Where these conditions occur there is a high risk of being blown over and even standing may be impossible at times with a risk of being blown off one’s feet. Basic tasks such as using a map, eating, putting on extra clothing or communication become extremely difficult away from any shelter.

Learn more about storm force winds

Gales Medium likelihood Show detail

Gale force winds (gusts over 50mph) make walking difficult and strenuous with a potential to be blown over by gusts. There is often a marked increase in winds through cols or on exposed ridges and summits. Distances can take longer to cover and compass bearings become harder to follow accurately.

Learn more about gales

Poor visibility Medium likelihood Show detail

Poor visibility presents challenging route finding conditions. Visibility could be significantly less than 50 metres in all directions with few or no visual references, especially on featureless moors or plateaux. Distances become hard to judge and cliff or cornice edges can be difficult to recognise. These conditions require good navigational skills. There is a risk of white-out conditions when mist or fog is combined with extensive snow cover.

Learn more about poor visibility

Thunderstorms Low likelihood Show detail

Lightning is a significant mountain hazard which can result in serious injury or death. Mountain terrain often leaves one highly exposed to lightning strikes. Hail may give unpleasant conditions with torrential rain and localised flash flooding also possible, mainly in Summer months.

Learn more about thunderstorms


Wintry showers and strong northerly winds at first bringing some blizzard conditions and a severe wind chill. Weather improving from mid-morning.


06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Weather at 800m Heavy snow shower night Light snow shower day Light snow shower day Sunny intervals Cloudy Cloudy
Chance of precipitation at 800m 60% 60% 50% 20% 10% <05%

Wind speed and direction

06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Altitude above mean sea level
1300m NW 38 48 N 33 42 N 24 31 NW 16 20 NW 14 18 W 9 12
900m NW 28 38 N 23 33 NW 15 22 W 9 15 W 8 11 SW 6 8
600m NW 14 26 N 12 24 NW 7 16 W 6 11 SW 5 9 SW 3 7
300m NW 7 24 N 5 19 NW 4 11 SW 3 8 SW 3 6 SW 3 8
Glen NW 7 28 NW 6 22 NW 6 16 W 5 11 W 3 9 SW 3 7


06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Altitude above mean sea level
1300m -8 ° -8 ° -8 ° -8 ° -8 ° -9 °
900m -6 ° -5 ° -4 ° -5 ° -5 ° -6 °
600m -4 ° -3 ° -2 ° -2 ° -4 ° -5 °
300m -2 ° -1 ° 0 ° 0 ° -3 ° -4 °
Glen -2 ° -1 ° 1 ° 1 ° -1 ° -4 °

Feels like temperature

06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Altitude above mean sea level
1300m -20 ° -19 ° -17 ° -16 ° -16 ° -15 °
900m -16 ° -14 ° -11 ° -10 ° -10 ° -10 °
600m -10 ° -9 ° -7 ° -6 ° -7 ° -7 °
300m -6 ° -5 ° -2 ° -2 ° -5 ° -7 °
Glen -7 ° -6 ° -3 ° -2 ° -4 ° -7 °

Freezing level

06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Freezing level i 0 m 100 m 200 m 200 m 100 m 0 m
Sunrise: 08:40
Sunset: 16:10
Moon phase: Waxing gibbous


Snow showers for Thursday, these frequent and heavy at times overnight and at first during the morning, particularly north of Laggan and over the northern Cairngorms bringing some blizzard conditions. Outbreaks waning from the south from mid-morning, with Ben Alder and Creag Meagaidh dry from early afternoon, then all peaks from mid-evening.

Chance of cloud-free mountain/hill tops at 800m

Beginning 30% in north and 60% in south with bases lowering 500-700m as showers push through, becoming from late afternoon 90% in north and 95%+ in south.


Good or very good, becoming poor or very poor in snow showers.

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Most difficult conditions expected through to mid-morning and across the northern regions with frequent snow showers, occasional blizzard conditions and a severe wind chill.

Friday 18 January 2019

Sunrise: 08:39
Sunset: 16:12
Moon phase: Waxing gibbous


A widespread and deep frost in the glens, which will fail to lift for many sheltered parts, despite the mornings plentiful weak winter sunshine. Cloud increasing in the far southwest during the afternoon to bring a risk of some light patchy snow towards Ben Alder and Creag Meagaidh, but most staying dry and clear.

Maximum wind speed expected

Southeast increasing 25-30mph by day with gusts 40mph over most exposed ridges and summits.

Chance of cloud-free mountain/hill tops at 800m

Generally 90%+, however becoming 60% across far southwestern ranges from mid-day where bases sporadically lower 500-700m.


  • At 800m Minus 3 or 4C
  • Glen Minus 10C, rising plus 2 for some during the afternoon, but many remaining sub-zero.
  • Freezing level 100-300m


Very good or Excellent becoming poor in snow across far southwest later.

Saturday 19 January 2019

Sunrise: 08:38
Sunset: 16:14
Moon phase: Full

Perhaps some light snow showers appearing, but mostly dry with plentiful weak sunshine. Winter temperatures, with some glens remaining frosty. Winds light. Freezing level 300-500m.

Sunday 20 January 2019

Sunrise: 08:36
Sunset: 16:16
Moon phase: Full

Weakening band of snow, with some rain mixed in at lower levels, crossing from the west around late morning, which clears with scattered snow showers following for the afternoon. Winds relatively light. Freezing level 300-500m, lowering in showery flow.

Monday 21 January 2019

Sunrise: 08:35
Sunset: 16:18
Moon phase: Full

Confidence lowering but current thoughts have scattered showers at first, then a band of rain, sleet and snow spreading from the west later as winds freshen.

Issued at:
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Includes the North and West Cairngorms National Park, Monadhliath, Ben Alder, Creag Meagaidh, Loch Ericht and Loch Rannoch.

The North Grampian region includes a large part of the Cairngorm National Park and the Balmoral Estate, the Scottish home of the Royal family since 1852. Five of the UK's six highest mountains lie inside Cairngorm National park, and there are 55 Munros (mountains over 3,000 ft). You will also find three of Scotland’s five ski centres including the Glenshee Ski Centre, the largest in the UK. The centre extends across four mountains, Glas Maol the largest at 1,068 metres and Carn Aosda the smallest at 917 metres, and includes 36 different ski runs.

Most people agree that Creag Meagaidh in Glen Spean is where the east highlands meet the west highlands. It is also this location which provides one of the area's most popular activities - ice climbing. This is thanks to its vast plateau from which five Munros (that seem almost made for climbing) stretch out. Seeing as plenty is on offer for visitors and it is crammed in a relatively small area, it should come as no surprise that the Creag Meagaidh area has been praised as offering all that is good about the Highlands in a single nature reserve.

For snow and avalanche hazard forecasts please visit Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service

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