Mountain weather

Southwest Highlands

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Southwest Highlands Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

High for changeable and often windy weather, and for colder conditions from Sunday. The main forecasting uncertainty is the timing and duration of the more prolonged rain/snow on Saturday.

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Sunset:
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.

Mountain weather forecast

Spells of heavy rain or showers, these increasingly wintry from afternoon.

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

Gales continuing through the early hours with further showers, some on the heavy side. Scattered showers will continue to spread from the west or northwest, some heavy with hail and perhaps the odd rumble of thunder, mainly through morning. A few brighter spells possible, but few places escaping the showers which will continue into the evening. Showers falling as sleet and wet snow above around 900m in the evening.

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

40-50% with cloud bases fairly widely between 600-800m and occasionally lower during showers. Best of the breaks will be across eastern Argyll and The Trossachs.

Visibility

Generally poor at height, but mainly good on lower slopes between showers and occasionally on summits during cloud breaks.

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Ground likely widely sodden and burns swollen from Thursdays rain.

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Sunset:

Mountain weather information

Weather

Scattered snow showers dying away during the morning allowing several hours of drier weather before a band of heavy rain spreads across all areas from the west, initally light and patchy through afternoon but turning heavy and persistent by evening. This will fall as snow above around 700-800m at first but soon becoming rain at all levels.

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

Around 40% through morning with areas of cloud above 500-600m. Becoming virtually nil from mid to later morning as cloud becomes more extensive and lowers to 300-400m.

Maximum wind speed expected

West or southwest 10-15mph until mid afternoon, increasing 30-40mph with gusts approaching 60mph from late evening, perhaps 70mph on some summits.

Temperature

  • At 800m Around zero, rising to plus 4 Celsius by evening.
  • Glen 3 or 4 Celsius, rising to around 10 or 11 Celsius.
  • Freezing level 1000m rising above summits through afternoon.

Visibility

Good on lower slopes through morning, but becoming moderate or poor as rain sets in. Very poor at height.

Mountain weather information

Sunday 8 December

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Sunset:

Rain quickly clearing eastwards allowing cold, windy and showery conditions to become established. Frequent heavy showers of hail and snow, some perhaps turning thundery. Bitterly cold with severe gales on summits. Freezing levels above summits initially, soon 600-800m.

Monday 9 December

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Sunset:

A brighter, drier day with bright and sunny spells. A few snow showers developing through evening and cloud thickening towards midnight. Freezing level 300-600m.

Tuesday 10 December

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Sunset:

Unsettled with heavy snow and gale or severe gale force winds.

Updated at:

Summit specific forecast

Mountain summit forecast map

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