Mountain weather

Northwest Highlands

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Northwest Highlands Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

Low for snow amounts Thursday then higher for a clearer but colder west or northwesterly airstream bringing occasional snow showers.

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Mountain hazards

Mountain weather hazards

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

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.
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.

Mountain weather forecast

Mostly dry and bright, some coastal wintry showers.

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

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Some windchill despite relatively light winds.

Weather

A mainly dry day. Some freezing fog patches are possible in the straths and glens but there will be some sunshine on the hills. Any coastal showers in the Northwest should tend to drift offshore. Some heavy snow may push in towards Ben Hope and Ben Loyal in the far north towards midnight.

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

70% over coastal ranges at first but generally 90%. Falling 40% over the far north late evening.

Visibility

Generally good away from cloud and any freezing fog patches in the straths and glens. Becoming poor if heavy snow reaches the far north before midnight with cloud bases also falling to 300-600m.

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Mountain weather information

Weather

More persistent snow will develop widely overnight with strengthening northerly winds bringing some blizzard conditions, and some settling snow even to low levels inland causing travel difficulties. This turning more showery in the afternoon but still quite frequent.

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

10%, improving 30% in the afternoon.

Maximum wind speed expected

North or northwesterly 25mph increasing 45 gusts 60mph before morning.

Temperature

  • At 800m Minus 4 Celsius.
  • Glen Zero Celsius.
  • Freezing level All levels, but 300m near coast

Visibility

Very poor overnight and morning in snow and blizzard conditions. Improving good at times later as it turns showery. Lower cloud bases in the north widely 450-600m in morning, occasionally so later but some lifting at times

Mountain weather information

Friday 22 January

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Frequent snow showers and some clear or sunny intervals. Freezing level 300m. Strong to gale northwesterly winds bringing blizzard conditions.

Saturday 23 January

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Further snow showers at times, especially closer to the west coast. Freezing levels 300m or less. Fresh westerly winds.

Sunday 24 January

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Further snow showers though mainly rain along the west coast at lower levels. Fresh westerly winds. Freezing level 300m increasing 450m in west.

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The area of Assynt includes some of the most remote and distinguished peaks in Scotland including Suilven, Quinag and Stac Pollaidh which stand tall and castle-like above areas of moorland and lochans. Glen Shiel and Glen Affric are characterised by dramatic steep mountain sides, lofty ridges and a high concentration of Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet), making it a highly popular area for ‘Munro baggers’.   

The Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye are among the steepest and most technically challenging mountains in the UK. There are twelve Munros including the Inaccessible Pinnacle which is the only Munro which requires rock climbing to reach its summit. There are two main ranges; the magnificent Black Cuillin (or Cuillin Ridge) and the Red Cuillin (also known as the Red Hills) which are more rounded in nature.

Torridon has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Scotland including the classic trio of Beinn Alligin, Liathach and Beinn Eighe. The latter also includes Britain's first National Nature Reserve where you may spot golden eagles, crossbills, pine martins and wild cats on your travels.

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