Mountain weather

North Grampian Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

High for the cold weather to continue. Medium for cloud and snow shower detail.

Sunrise:
Sunset:

This evening forecast

A mainly dry start with some clear spells but cloud increasing to bring some mostly light snow showers and some hill fog. Strong northerly breeze on tops and freezing at all levels.

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 Persistent 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 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

Often cloudy with occasional snow showers, some on the heavy side. Fresh to strong northerly winds bringing some drifting and temporary blizzard conditions and bitterly cold at height.

00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Weather
(at 800m)
Light snow Heavy snow Light snow Sunny intervals Fog Light snow Heavy snow Heavy snow
Chance of precipitation
(at 800m)
30% 70% 30% 20% 20% 40% 70% 70%

Wind direction and speed (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1300m NW
31
NW
26
NW
26
NW
23
NW
21
NW
18
N
19
N
19
900m W
22
NW
19
NW
19
W
16
NW
13
NW
12
N
12
N
13
600m W
15
NW
10
W
9
W
10
W
8
NW
6
NW
6
NW
7
300m W
6
NW
6
W
4
W
5
W
3
NW
3
NW
3
NW
4
Glen W
5
NW
4
NW
4
W
4
NW
5
NW
5
NW
4
NW
4
Wind gust (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1300m 40 34 33 31 26 23 24 25
900m 27 23 23 20 17 16 16 17
600m 19 15 13 14 11 9 9 10
300m 14 16 10 12 8 10 10 10
Glen 21 18 17 17 15 14 12 13

Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1300m
-8°
-7°
-7°
-8°
-7°
-7°
-7°
-7°
900m
-4°
-3°
-4°
-4°
-4°
-4°
-4°
-4°
600m
-2°
-2°
-2°
-2°
-2°
-2°
-2°
-2°
300m
-1°
-1°
-1°
-1°
-1°
Glen
-1°
-1°
-2°
-2°
-1°
Freezing Level
100m
300m
200m
200m
200m
300m
200m
200m

Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1300m
-18°
-16°
-16°
-17°
-16°
-15°
-16°
-16°
900m
-13°
-11°
-11°
-12°
-10°
-10°
-10°
-10°
600m
-9°
-7°
-7°
-7°
-6°
-5°
-6°
-6°
300m
-4°
-4°
-3°
-4°
-2°
-2°
-3°
-4°
Glen
-5°
-5°
-4°
-4°
-2°
-2°
-3°
-4°

Additional weather information

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Despite modest wind speeds, sub-zero temperatures at most levels will lead to a bitterly cold day.

Weather

Snow showers will turn heavier overnight, then more scattered by morning wth a few clear intervals. Rather cloudy with some occasional hill fog and light snow showers, limited sunny intervals through daylight hours. Some heavier snow showers returning late afternoon onwards with the slight chance of lightning.

Chance of cloud-free hill tops

30%.

Low cloud and visibility

Areas of cloud to 600-800m, lower patches near snow showers, especially Northern Cairngorms and Ladder Hills with very poor visibility in cloud, heavier snow showers, and in drifting or blizzard conditions. Spells of good visibility below cloud during the day.

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Mountain weather information

Weather

Mostly cloudy with occasional snow showers, some heavy. Further accumulations, also affecting access roads. Hill fog. Enough lying snow and wind to bring drifting snow and blizzard conditions on the higher hills.

Chance of cloud-free hill tops

20%

Maximum wind speed expected

Northeast 25 gusts 35mph.

Temperature

  • At 800m Minus 4 Celsius
  • Glen Minus 3 Celsius rising to Plus 1 at best.
  • Freezing level All levels

Low cloud and visibility

Frequent cloud at 600-750m and lowering to 450m in snow showers. Very poor visibility in cloud and the heavier snow showers, but good away from cloud and in drier spells..

Mountain weather information

Sun 11 Dec

Sunrise:
Sunset:

A dry bright day with some sunny spells. Freezing at all levels with severe frost in the glens. Light winds.

Mon 12 Dec

Sunrise:
Sunset:

A mainly dry bright day with some sunny spells, perhaps a light snow shower in the east. Freezing level 300m with a fresh easterly wind.

Tue 13 Dec

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Again mainly dry with some sunshine but cold with a fresj east or southeast wind, freezing level around 300m.

Updated at:

Summit specific forecast

Mountain summit forecast map

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The North Grampian mountain weather forecast area includes much of the Cairngorms National Park which boasts five of the UK's six highest mountains and includes the largest areas of land in the UK above 2000 and 3000 feet. The Cairngorm Plateau is well-known for its extreme and very changeable weather (the strongest gust ever recorded in the UK was 173mph on Cairngorm Summit on 20th March 1986). Despite the challenging conditions, there is a diverse range of wildlife in the area including golden eagles, snow bunting and ptarmigan.   

Creag Meagaidh, to the north of Glen Spean, is where the east Highlands meet the west Highlands and is often exposed to bad weather from either direction. It is a popular area for ice climbing thanks to its vast plateau which includes five Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet).

Ben Alder lies just to the west of Loch Ericht and is one of the remotest of the Munros. Approaches are long from all directions with options including a long walk or cycle from Dalwhinnie to the northeast or by taking a train to the very remote Corrour Station and walking in from the southwest.

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