Mountain weather

Northwest Highlands

Northwest Highlands Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

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

Sunrise:
Sunset:

This evening forecast

Mainly cloudy with frequent snow showers, some heavy with the chance of lightning, and some blizzard conditions. 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 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 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 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. An afternoon improvement in the southwest.

00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
Weather
(at 800m)
Heavy snow Heavy snow Heavy snow Light snow Light snow Partly cloudy (night) Clear night Clear night
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
1000m NW
27
N
26
NW
18
NW
15
NW
18
N
17
N
16
N
13
900m NW
26
N
22
NW
16
NW
14
NW
14
N
15
N
13
N
11
600m NW
15
N
12
NW
10
NW
10
N
7
N
9
N
6
N
6
300m NW
5
N
2
NW
2
NW
4
NW
2
N
2
N
3
NE
3
Glen NW
7
NE
4
NW
5
N
4
N
2
N
4
NE
5
NE
6
Wind gust (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1000m 31 30 22 19 21 20 18 15
900m 30 26 20 18 17 18 16 13
600m 19 16 14 15 9 12 9 8
300m 22 18 15 14 12 14 12 10
Glen 17 10 11 11 7 10 11 10

Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1000m
-3°
-4°
-4°
-4°
-4°
-5°
-5°
-6°
900m
-2°
-3°
-4°
-3°
-4°
-4°
-5°
-5°
600m
-1°
-1°
-1°
-2°
-2°
-3°
-3°
300m
-1°
-1°
-2°
-2°
Glen
Freezing Level
300m
300m
300m
300m
300m
300m
200m
200m

Altitude above mean sea level
00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00
1000m
-11°
-12°
-12°
-10°
-12°
-12°
-12°
-12°
900m
-10°
-11°
-10°
-9°
-10°
-11°
-11°
-10°
600m
-6°
-6°
-6°
-6°
-5°
-7°
-7°
-6°
300m
-3°
-2°
-2°
-3°
-2°
-2°
-4°
-4°
Glen
-2°
-1°
-2°

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

Further heavy snow showers overnight and in the morning, with the small chance of lightning in the north and west, and a few clear then sunny intervals. In the afternoon the showers becoming more scattered across Glen Affric Gen Shiel and Wester Ross with some sunny spells developing. Showers more isolated generally in the evening with severe frost setting in in the glens with good snow cover.

Chance of cloud-free hill tops

30% rising 70% later.

Low cloud and visibility

Areas of cloud to 600-800m, lower patches near snow showers, with very poor visibility in cloud, heavier snow showers, and in drifting or blizzard conditions. Spells of good visibility during the afternoon in the southwest and more generally good visibiity in the evening.

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Mountain weather information

Weather

Mostly cloudy with occasional snow showers returning from the east, some heavy especially towards Easter Ross and Sutherland, but fewer showers over Skye and west coast with the best of any sunshine. 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% in east 40% in west, 80% in Skye

Maximum wind speed expected

East or northeast 25 gusts 35mph.

Temperature

  • At 800m Minus 4 Celsius
  • Glen Minus 10 at midnight picking up to Minus 4 by morning rising to Plus 1 at best.
  • Freezing level All levels

Low cloud and visibility

Frequent cloud at 600-750m in east 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, mainly good on west coast with patchy cloud at 900m.

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:

Another dry bright day with long spells of sunshine for most, perhaps the odd snow shower later in the far north.

Tue 13 Dec

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Again mainly dry bright but snow showers in the far north. Freezing level 300m.

Updated at:

Summit specific forecast

Mountain summit forecast map

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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