Mountain weather

North Grampian

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North Grampian Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

High for staying rather cold until mid week, but lower for extent of showers on Monday. High for milder conditions from late Wednesday or on Thursday, but low for timing.

Sunrise:
Sunset:
Mountain hazards

Mountain weather hazards

Hazards apply at or above 300m, reflecting the more severe conditions which can occur at altitude.

hazard Severe chill effect
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.
hazard Poor visibility
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.

hazard Blizzards
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.
hazard Heavy snow
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.

Mountain weather forecast

Cold and windy. Low cloud with snow showers spreading east.

Wind direction and speed (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level
Wind gust (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level

Altitude above mean sea level

Altitude above mean sea level

Additional weather information

Weather

Some low cloud and clear or sunny spells to start the day. Cloud thickens from the west from mid to late morning, bringing snow showers, these turning heavy and more continuous across Creag Meagaidh and Ben Alder in the afternoon, but light and infrequent further east. More widespread snow showers after dark.

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

70% early morning, occasional cloud above 700m mainly south of the Cairngorm plateau and across western ranges. Becoming 20% by early afternoon as cloud thickens and lowers from the west, becoming extensive above 700-800m, occasional down to 600m in the south and west.

Visibility

Occasionally very good across northern ranges at first. Otherwise often poor in low cloud, whiteout conditions on higher snow covered slopes.

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

A challenging navigation day with whiteout conditions persisting above the snowline. Deep snow drifts in some sheltered locations on higher slopes.

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Mountain weather information

Weather

Low cloud and occasional light snow flurries through the early hours. Dry from dawn with sunny spells developing from the west. Patchy cloud increases in the west after dark.

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

10-20% through the early hours. Improving to 90% through the morning with cloud clearing from the west. Some broken cloud returning to western summits in the evening.

Maximum wind speed expected

Southwest 25mph becoming West 15-20mph by dawn. Turning northwest by the afternoon.

Temperature

  • At 800m Minus 2 Celsius.
  • Glen Minus 1 Celsius rising to plus 3 Celsius.
  • Freezing level 500-600m, occasionally 300m late afternoon and evening.

Visibility

Very good through daylight hours.

Mountain weather information

Wednesday 18 December

Sunrise:
Sunset:

A dry cold day with some sunny spells and moderate winds. Cloud increases in the evening as Southerly severe gales developing. A chance of snow. Freezing level 300-400m, rising to 1000m late evening.

Thursday 19 December

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Snow soon turning to rain at all levels, clearing in the morning with southerly gales easing. Then dry with sunny spells. Milder than recent days. Freezing level around 1400m, well above the summits in the evening.

Friday 20 December

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Light to moderate southerly winds. Most likely turning increasingly cloudy, but should be mainly dry. Freezing level around 1200-1300m.

Updated at:

Summit specific forecast

Mountain summit forecast map

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