Icing… (Not the cake sort!!)

Overnight a period very wet snow / sleet was followed by a sudden drop in temperatures, freezing the wet sticky snow solid to the anemometers on our CairnGorm weather stations at the SSC Hut and the Sheiling.

The Weather Stations were de-iced on Friday afternoon and should remain spinning freely while the temperature remains well below freezing. Problems usually occur when temperature is just around freezing and precipitation falling followed by a drop in temperature.

Iced up Anemometer at the SSC Hut.

Iced up Anemometer at the SSC Hut.

De-icing the Sheiling Tow AWS.

De-icing the Sheiling Tow AWS.

Reverse Zonality?

OK, this is just one distant chart from a suite of some 20 ensemble members from the GFS model, but it’s something pretty special none the less. Complete reversal of the mid latitude zonal winds, Easterly from one side of the chart to the other screaming across the UK.

If such a scenario were to happen it wouldn’t so much be weather, more a complete breakdown of the fundamental laws of physics! Did the Earth’s direction of rotation change?

Reverse Zonality?

CairnGorm Snow: The funicular perspective

Just how much snow is on the White Lady, a few feet, six feet, 10 feet even? Here’s a couple of photos of the Funicular from traditional line onto the White Lady (now skiers right of the tunnel) from Feb 2009 and Monday 18th Jan 2010.

Funicular from White Lady 2009

Funicular from White Lady 2009, crossing the M1 SideTrack - White Lady underpass.

Funicular crosses the M1 SideTrack - White Lady underpass on Monday 19th Jan 2010.

Something for the Weekend

With the stormy conditions of mid-week due to ease up on Friday morning to give us a weekend with light winds and great snow cover in the East and fresh snow forecast for the early part of Friday, this would be a good weekend to make a weekend of it.

Aviemore is filling up, so if you have a car and wish to have the flexibility to consider taking in another area, we’ve had a sniff around for some cracking offers in other villages in Strathspey for the weekend.

Head South in the Strath for the option of taking in Nevis Range one day. Newtonmore is the ideal base for splitting a weekend between CairnGorm and Nevis Range, or for simply getting a bit more for your £s for a weekend at CairnGorm.

  • Bavil Sport Hotel, Newtonmore. Singles from £29.  Twins and Doubles from £39 inc breakfast.
  • Highlander Hotel, Newtonmore. Singles from £30. Twins and Doubles from £44 inc breakfast.

Head North in Strathspey to be situated ideally for picking either CairnGorm Mountain or the Lecht.

  • Ben Mhor Hotel, Grantown. Singles from £40. Doubles from £50. Family Room (2+2) from £65.
  • Ravenscourt House, Grantown. A bit of 4* luxury from just £49.50 for a twin.


For Glenshee, the village of Kirkmichael is often overlooked as a location, but the Kirkmichael Hotel is offering single rooms from £30 for Saturday night and a Family Room (2A +2C) from £70.

Out West

In the West the Ballachulish Hotel lies plumb in the middle between Nevis Range and Glencoe and is offering twin and double rooms from £69. Also in Ballachulish is Fern Villa,  a small family run 3* Guest House offering rooms from £42.

Webcam Updates

One of the Glencoe webcams had a bit of an oops at the weekend and the SSC Hut cams are now down to allow them to be installed permanently now that the SSC Hut is in regular use. The cams should be back up online by or during the early part of next week. The Access2200 camera remains operational providing a view of the Plateau, Mid Mountain, Main Basin and Rannoch Glades.

The Mountain Spirit webcam in Aviemore has suffered a technical problem that has not responded to rebooting the system and a site visit is planned for Thursday to give it a proverbial kick.

Slow thaw, but Inverness stays white.

While a thaw is now affecting many lower parts of Scotland there is certainly no thaw in the hills and only the slightest one away from Coastal areas.

The blanket of snow outside remains complete here next to the centre of Inverness, the street  a tarmac free zone since before Christmas Eve. Wednesday morning saw the snow notch up another milestone, 4 weeks of consecutive snow lie at not quite 10m ASL in Inverness.

Stop and think about that, it’s really quite hard to grasp in a way, but when the slow thaw becomes a faster thaw and eventually the snow is gone from low ground, it’s actually going to seem kinda weird.  The lack of wind for the main part of this cold spell prevented the spell reaching the severity of the ’79 and it’s still far to early to tell if the winter will go the way of a 1963. Never the less it has been a remarkable spell of weather, the three weeks of ever improving conditions that by Friday 8th had moved from epic to pretty much historical on CairnGorm Mountain had been achieved without a day lost to weather.

How that has changed since the weekend, ferocious winds coupled with 185cm of straight down snow fall still lying loose and unconsolidated means the drifting and extent of the snow redistribution on CairnGorm Mountain has been simply phenomenal, with long stretches of the down road from Coire Cas under 13ft of snow. The depth may not beat any Ski Road records, but the sheer extent of the road under such depths seems to be up there, with even the snowblower overwhelmed. Such drifting has not been restricted to the high mountains, above about 1000ft (lower in places) the snow is still loose to drift with all roads across the Dava Moor choked with snow this evening and traffic on the A9 being convoyed over Drumochter at times during Wednesday.

Can anoyone remember a longer spell of low level snow in the Inverness Area?

The Snow – Happy 21st Birthday!

Though cloud is now coming over and there’s been the odd flurry this afternoon, much of Wednesday was an amazing winter’s day with blazing sunshine, with cold crisp snow on the ground and a lunch time temperature of -5c in the city centre of Inverness.

Today marks the 21st day, 3 full weeks, of lying snow at just 15m above sea level near to the city centre in Inverness. While people can remember deeper snow or colder temperatures what is setting this cold spell apart is it’s persistence.

If the forecast models are correct, we should pass the one month of lying snow in Inverness mark next week, I can’t recall snow lying so long at such low levels with no significant thaw? Tarmac has not been seen on my street since before Christmas, when people were wondering could the snow possibly hang around long enough for a White Christmas?

Inverness was one of those places that caught some snow showers on Christmas Day itself, making it truly a White Christmas in every sense.  A robin is sitting hopefully out the back for more bread.