If you are going into the hill in winter it is strongly suggested that you look at
weather & climate in the west highlands of Scotland
It never rains in Scotland ….. it’s all liquid sunshine! Honest.
Our overall climate is pretty moderate with no real extremes. While the weather can be changeable at any time of the year, it can also get quite hot or really cold on occasion. It is fairly rare that we do have really bad weather …..so there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate or wrong clothes. So come prepared! At anytime of the year.
Scotland has four seasons; spring, summer, autumn, and winter – often in one day given the unpredictability of the weather
January and February are the coldest months in Scotland generally , with the daytime maximum temperatures averaging around 5 °C to 7 °C but temperatures can drop to -15 °C or lower on occasion – which is great for the winter climbing and ski-ing. July and August normally the warmest months in Scotland, with temperatures at an average 19 °C, but this can frequently soar to 20 °C plus
day light hours – summer & winter days
In summer there are very long daylight hours and often no real darkness at night from late May – the end of June along with extended twilight hours. At this time of year there is actually no complete darkness in the far north of Scotland. This means that in the summer with the extra hours of daylight it is possible to pack a lot into your day.
However in the late Autumn through to early Spring the short hours of day light have to be built into careful planning days out on the hills or water. If the weather is overcast we can be switching lights on from 15.30 hrs in the afternoon until 09.00 in the morning. This is the time to make use of our local eating and drinking places.
local variations – micro climate
One of the most surprising things about our local climate is just how much it can vary from one small to another. It’s often the case that you can drive for 20 minutes and find that the conditions are completely different – from sunshine to showers – and vice verca. Our local climate and weather is very much dictated by our location of the west coast and our mountainous landscape. The warm gulf stream comes up from the Gulf of Mexico, across the Atlantic, streaming along the west coast of Scotland warming the coastal areas. However a few miles inland there can be several inches of snow in winter. Our prevailing winds also come from the fairly warm South West – up Loch Linnhe – which also has a warming effect
The coastal mountain ranges of Ben Nevis and Glencoe have the effect of lifting the warm Atlantic air up higher into cooler temperatures – which results in rainfall down below! This results in our “atmospheric” weather conditions.
winter in the highlands
The mountains of the west Highlands have about 100 days of falling snow with the average number of days of snow fall in Scotland from 15 to 20 days. While the ski season can be variable – with often good snowfall in November, generally the winter ski season realistically runs from mid January to mid April – with snow often lying in the mountain tops until May. Our local ski centres at Anoach Mor and Glencoe can provide some of the best value snowboarding and skiing in Europe.
To give an idea of how far north we are there is always snow lying in the top gullies on Ben Nevis and elsewhere right throughout the summer – without melting. Snow showers at this height are not unknown well into June. Quite often the first sprinkling of snow can be seen on the tops in late August / early September.
snow & ice on the roads
Just occasionally some of our roads may have the snow gates closed due to snow fall – but this never stays for long and diversions will be in place. The roads most likely to be affected by this are the A82 coming up from the south through Glencoe; or the A86 Newtonmore – Fort William road which links through from the east from the A9 to Inverness.
So …………. what does this give us locally ?
♦ Breath taking local waterfalls to visit ♦ clear water for fishing ♦ rushing rivers for white •water kayaking, rafting & canyoning
♦ The potential for a great winter season – with winter walking – snow & ice climbing – ski-ing & snow boarding.
♦ Green, green country side & glens to explore ♦ acres of forests smelling of pine to walk through – with totally glorious colours in Autumn – fabulous!
♦ Whisky – to taste! ♦ our peaty water also makes for great beer!
♦ Wonderful cloud formations to ♦ great sunsets with phenomenal colours to watch in late afternoons & evenings ♦ colourful rainbows
Most importantly of all the opportunity to chill out – whatever the weather has been – with good local food and a glass in your hand with family & friends
Let’s get active …