Snow greets new WH Glencoe Webcams

A blustery and snowy Autumn day at Glencoe on Friday, which wasn’t the best for lugging computer equipment to 2800ft on a Scottish Mountain. www.winterhighland.info/cams/glencoe .

Snow starting to lie to the top of the Access.

Snow starting to lie to the top of the Access.

Thanks to  the Scottish Ski Club (for their support and hosting the kit ),  the staff at Glencoe for their assistance today and to those who have generously contributed to the Winterhighland cause this autumn, we now have two new Winterhighland Webcams up and running at the Glencoe Scottish Ski Club Hut on Meall a’ Bhuiridh.

For now this is a very temporary installation that will be made more permanent in due course. With snow on the ground and more forecast the mission was to get some webcams to let people see the weather and snow asap. So with the wind forecast markedly improving for Friday with Thursday’s updated forecasts, after a couple of phone calls, a computer system was hurriedly set up  and a Vodafone usb dongle bought shortly before 7pm, once some frantic googling appeared to confirm ways existed to get it to fire up under Xubuntu linux on a ancient P3 with 256mb of RAM!

Here comes the computer

Here comes the computer on it's way up the Cliffhanger Chairlift on Friday afternoon.

The equipment and that necessary to set-up the gear up and get it on-line were carried up on the Access and Cliffhanger Chair, and lugged over the Plateau. The views currently on offer are dictated by proximity to power and the need to keep the cameras close to the computer, a new power supply and usb extender cables will be used when the system is permanently installed, this will provide an improved view up to the Top Tows, plus allow a camera to be higher up looking down over the Canyon to the Wall. There is also the  possibility of sitting the cameras at the other side of the hut, looking down the Cliffy line and over the upper part of Mugs Alley (or indeed an additional camera for this), so let us know what view you’d prefer and this will guide the final placement.

Webcam looking out the gable end of the SSC Hut.

Webcam looking out the gable end of the SSC Hut.

SSC webcams back to winter view

A late evening post from the Scottish Ski Club Hut on CairnGorm Mountain where the Winterhighland webcams have been repositioned to their Winter position, offering views up the White Lady and over the Funicular to the M1 Poma, plus the hut cam looking over the balcony which is fantastic in winter for gauging new snow falls.

Several parts of the weather station have been upgraded, this has allowed the sensors to be hard wired to the AWS console, instead of relying on a radio signal. The principle advantage of this is that the AWS records wind speeds much more frequently and the reception of data is less prone to radio intereference.

The SSC hut is relatively sheltered by the ‘Gorms standards, and the positioning of the anemometer is not a good indication of wind speeds on the mountain as a whole. However the location was chosen to get an indication of how wind affects the hollow at the foot of the White Lady and in future this will help assess how much less exposed this small part of the mountain is, how that affects snow lie and reliability of the lower White Lady and help in assessing the potential snow making may have to restore the reliability of the lower 1/4r of the White Lady which circumstantially seems to have suffered severely from the Funicular.

It is planned to install two more Automatic Weather Stations to further increase climate data from CairnGorm, one will be mid altitude on the lower slopes and the second mid-way up the middle slopes. These will give truer wind speeds for the middle and lower slopes respectively and provide more useful info for assessing conditions.

Finally for now, a third camera is operating in the SSC Hut, giving a view across the Fiacaill area of Coire Cas.  Last year the cameras went back live for winter on 1st October after the power was switched off to the Ski Club hut during the early autumn for major repairs to the home road and culverts around the Kassbohrer garage – a couple of days later there was snow to be seen. Hopefully the first dusting will appear on the cams before long.

It’s dark, time to head off the hill. :)

Summer Webcam & AWS Upgrade

update 3/06/09: The SSC Hut AWS is up and running with temperature, humidity and air pressure at this time.  Replacement connectors for the wind sensor and rain gauge are on order, but not in stock with the suppliers. A full service will be restored as soon as possible.

With fresh drifts lying on CairnGorm Mountain, there was a distinct nip in the air this evening while walking up to the Scottish Ski Club Hut at 2500ft by the foot of the White Lady.

Saturday’s trip was undertaken to move the SSC Hut webcams to their summer positions, this is partly to give a more interesting wider view from the mountain outwith the Snowsports Season, but also to reduce camera exposure to direct sunlight looking Southwards up the White Lady during Summer.

The Lady Camera looks out the opposite end of the hut during Summer giving a view over the Kassbohrer garage and lower slopes towards Aviemore. Around dawn and dusk the lights of Aviemore can be seen centre picture when visibility is good, while the partly hidden Loch Morlich is visible to the middle right of the image.

Newly upgraded Balcony Cam

The SSC Hut Balcony Cam has been upgraded to a higher resolution 2mp auto focus camera, from the older fixed focus camera that has served us well the past 2 winters. The higher resolution and auto focus will give crisper images, but due to very limited bandwidth it’s not possible to increase image sizes just now. (But this is being looked at for the future).

During Summer the balcony camera is turned round by approximately 90 degrees to give a partially uphill view, since the other camera is looking downhill.

Weather Station Upgrade & Repairs

During winter the wind sensor array at the SSC hut suffered from an intermittent fault, which only occurred in thaw conditions following on from a cold spell with powdery snow. The anemometer then functioned when either temps went back below freezing or it became warmer and drier, suggestive that water ingress into the AWS unit from drifting snow accumulating inside the thermometer’s radiation shield then subsequently melting was a contributing factor.

On inspection the internal connector plugs in the AWS are starting to corrode and the wind vane cable has been damaged during winter. The main sensor array unit has been taken off site to have the connector modules replaced and this will be carried out during the coming week. A new cup anemometer unit was installed on Saturday afternoon, ready for the return of the main AWS Unit and it is hoped to have the weather station along with the upgraded aneometer back online by mid May for Summer.

SSC Hut Webcams – Comms Problem

Winterhighland’s Webcam and AWS system at the Scottish Ski Club Hut has been down since late on Monday (5th Jan) due to a communications failure. The exact nature of the problem can not be determiend remotely and a site visit is planned for Thursday 8th Jan.

Providing the issue is not a hardware issue with the router or network equipment it should be possible to restore the webcam and aws feed at some point on Thursday.

In the meantime here’s the final images from Monday afternoon which captured the pefect if chilly weather very nicely:

Wooohooo Snowing ! :)

Every office across the land that has at least one skier or boarder will no doubt have seen productivity drop and bandwidth use rocket today! Snow falling on the webcams at the start of the first significant cold snap of the autumn, yes there was some snow last week and at the start of the Month, but this week things are ramping up another level!

There are weather warnings out from the Met Office for Tuesday, lots of chatter in the weather forums and a real buzz is building. Fellow skiers and boarders… winter is getting closer and for the fist time this new season, the slats on the Ski Club hut’s decks have vanished beneath fresh fluffy snow!

SSC Hut Balcony slats vanish under the snow for the first time this season!

SSC Hut Balcony slats vanish under the snow for the first time this season!

First Snow of the Winter !!

October has marked it’s arrival with the first Snows of the upcoming winter, as a Northerly Plunge sends temperatures diving. Thursday saw the first reasonable covering of snow on the higher tops of the Cairngorms, and there’s also a smattering on the tops in the West.

It all add’s to the excitement and anticipation at the season ahead, but don’t get too carried away just yet – winter proper is officially 11 weeks away yet, that said it’s another sign of the seasons unstoppable march back to winter.

The past two seasons started the last weekend of November (2006/07) and first weekend of December (2007/08) on CairnGorm Mountain with lasting snow, though cover became more limited in the run up and around Christmas both years.

You can now watch how things are shaping up this autumn with our mid-mountain webcams and live weather real-time weather station on CairnGorm Mountain which are now back online following completion of the reinstatement works to flood damage on the hill road (which necessitated the switch off of the power supply for safety). Our cams and AWS are situated in the Scottish Ski Club Hut at 2500ft near the foot of the White Lady.

CairnGorm Mountain has also installed an automatic weather station and two new webcams for the new season, these can be viewed at www.cairngormmountain.com/web-cam and the AWS is located just under 1000ft above the SSC one at the Tunnel Mouth.

The First Snow at the Mid-Station:

First Snow

See also Pix from the Slopes for a couple of photos from up top on Thursday 2nd October.