Mountain weather

Southwest Highlands

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Southwest Highlands Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

High for becoming more settled over the weekend and early next week, lower for timing of any light rain later on Monday and on Wednesday and extent of low cloud by then.

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 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 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 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

Sunny intervals and snow showers which decay into afternoon. Strong summit winds making it feel bitterly cold.

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

Clear or sunny intervals and occasional showers these heavy in the morning with the chance of hail and thunder in the west. The showers falling as snow above 200m in Lochaber and 300m in Arran. The showers will become lighter and more scattered in the afternoon, becoming more confined to coastal and island ranges and turning to rain below 450m, then becoming dry with some longer clear spells in the evening.

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

70%, occasional cloud to 600m in showers with the odd lower patch, but mostly lifting away in drier spells especially later in the day

Visibility

Very good away from showers but falling moderate, occasionally poor in the morning in heavier snow showers.

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Strong summit winds making it feel very cold at height.

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Mountain weather information

Weather

Dry with clear or sunny skies. High cloud will start to turn the sun hazy in the afternoon. Cloud will then lower in the evening.

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

100% until late afternoon, then gradually falling after dark to 10% in north and 20% in south as a cloud sheet at 450-750m moves in.

Maximum wind speed expected

Southwest 25 gusts 35mph increasing 40 gusts 55mph.

Temperature

  • At 800m Minus 2 Celsius rising to Plus 3 in the evening.
  • Glen Minus 2 in the morning rising to Plus 4 in the afternoon
  • Freezing level 600m, rising to 1200m in the evening

Visibility

Very good

Mountain weather information

Monday 20 January

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Cloudy with extensive hill fog. Mainly dry in the morning with patchy drizzle then some more persistent rain and drizzle arriving during the afternoon and evening. Fresh to strong west to southwesterly winds with gales on the summits. Freezing level above the summits.

Tuesday 21 January

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Rain, some heavy, probably clearing in the early hours. Then a dry day with some sunny spells. Light winds, freezing level falling to around 700m.

Wednesday 22 January

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Extensive low cloud is likely to bring hill fog and perhaps some drizzle. Light winds. Freezing level rising above the summits.

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