Mountain weather

Southwest Highlands

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Southwest Highlands Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

High for a more unsettled look to the weather than of late, but low regarding cloud and precipitation details.

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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 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 Gales
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.
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 Thunderstorms
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.
hazard Heavy persistent rain
Heavy and persistent rain can lead to drenched clothing and footwear with waterproofs often becoming soaked through, especially if accompanied by strong winds. This can lead to significant loss of body heat and an increased likelihood of hypothermia. Terrain may turn increasingly boggy underfoot while streams can flood and become impassable. There may also be a risk of flooding in valleys or glens. If there is snow cover, a heightened avalanche hazard is possible and avalanche reports should be consulted where available.
hazard Strong sunlight
Harmful UV levels from sunlight increase with altitude giving a greater risk of sunburn and eye damage, even on some overcast days. On breezy days, the cooling effect of wind on exposed skin may disguise any feeling of sunburn until it is too late. If there is snow cover, glare increases the effect of UV rays especially on the eyes. It is advisable to wear sun block, protective clothing such as a long-sleeved top and hat and have good quality eye protection.

Mountain weather forecast

Early cloud lifting with some sunny spells developing, then cloudier with occasional rain and hill fog extending from the south and east in the late afternoon or evening.

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

Early morning low cloud and showery rain soon clearing. A better spell of weather in the morning with the cloud breaking up further to allow some sunshine. Then during the afternoon cloud will thicken up from the south, followed by some outbreaks of rain with a few heavier bursts expected. Some brightness in the south towards evening though the odd heavy shower is possible, with a low risk of thunder. Becoming mainly dry through the evening.

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

30% at first rising to 90% in the morning, as cloud bases break and lift above tops. Chances then falling, to 20% by late afternoon as cloud becomes extensive above 600-900m, nearer 400m in Trossachs.

Visibility

Often poor during the cloudier spells early morning and again later as rain arrives, but mainly good, if hazy during the morning and early afternoon once cloud lifts.

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Summit gusts around 50mph at times.

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Mountain weather information

Weather

Dry with some clear spells in early hours, then turning cloudier before morning with a few showers. Brightening up from late morning with sunny intervals though some well scattered, but heavy showers are likely, with isolated thunder, hail, and sleet on the highest tops. More general cloud and occasional rain will then push in during the evening.

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

20% at first improving to 80% by late morning as the cloud becomes more broken with bases lifting to 900m or above, except near showers. Chances reduce to 20% or less in the evening rain.

Maximum wind speed expected

South to southeast 20 gusts 30mph.

Temperature

  • At 800m Plus 5 Celsius rising to Plus 8 in the afternoon
  • Glen Plus 7 Celsius at dawn rising to Plus 14 Celsius in afternoon
  • Freezing level Above the summits

Visibility

Moderate improving very good away from showers by late morning, then falling moderate to good locally poor in rain in the evening.

Mountain weather information

Saturday 27 April

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Cloudy overnight and early in the day with some rain, then brightening up to sunny intervals and scattered showers. Lighter winds, freezing levels just above the highest tops.

Sunday 28 April

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Mostly dry, small chance of the odd light shower, some sunny spells. Rain may reach the Isles in the evening. Southerly winds strengthening later.

Monday 29 April

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Cloudier with some rain at times and strong southerly winds.

Updated at:

Summit specific forecast map

Summit specific forecasts for Southwest Highlands

The South West Highlands is an extensive area of mountains, moorland, islands and sea which is home to several distinctly different cultures. The West Highland Way was Scotland's first long distance route and remains by far the most popular. It stretches for 94 miles from Milngavie on the edge of Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis.

The South West Highlands area is very sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges including the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis, standing at 1,344 metres. This mountain is a popular destination attracting an estimated 100,000 ascents a year. The 700 metre cliffs of the north face are among the highest in the UK, providing classic scrambles and rock climbs of all difficulties for climbers and mountaineers.

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