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Snow Patches Surviving on Scottish Mountains


firefly

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Hi all,

Owing to the success of last year's thread, I wish to again post photographs and update all those interested in how many semi-perennial patches make it through to the first lasting snows of 2008.

Last year we had 9 survivals in total (3 on Ben Nevis, 3 in Garbh Coire Mor (Braeriach), 2 on Aonach Mor, and one (the largest of all) on Aonach Beag).

As it stands at the moment, the amount of snow lingering on Scottish mountains is still fairly impressive, with (as of 24th May) 1000-ft of vertical descent still possible from the back corries of Aonach Mor. There are also some fairly low-lying patches still extant, which - given the mild conditions in early May - is surprising. Some of the patches I saw on a trip on Sunday were barely above 2200-ft.

I would encourage all you hillwalkers to click merrily away if you're on the Scottish hills and to post any pictures of snow patches that you come across. This helps no-end when compiling reports at the season's end (I co-author the annual snow-patch report that appears in the Royal Meteorological Society's "Weather" magazine).

Here are some images from Sunday's sojourn into the hills (Grey Corries, near Fort William).

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Posted
  • Location: Haverhill Suffolk UK
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms, Squall Lines, Storm Force Winds & Extreme Weather!
  • Location: Haverhill Suffolk UK

    I'll pop up tommorrow with a kettle

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    Part II... :rolleyes:

    For all you lovers of extreme conditions in Britain, here are three photographs from Sunday (25th May) that show a very fresh avalanche (yes, in May) in Coire na Ceannain. It's hard to say when the avalanche happened, but it was likely to have been either that day or the day before.

    Quite a lot of debris and scouring of the corrie headwall occurred in this one. Map reference of the avalanche is NN259751.

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
    I co-author the annual snow-patch report that appears in the Royal Meteorological Society's "Weather" magazine

    I wondered if you had any connection, as it's the articles in "Weather" that got me interested in winter snow patch survival in the first place. I'm surprised that as many as 9 survived last year, presumably the relatively cool summer and autumn, together with the westerliness of winter 2006/07, helped.

    2008 probably has a decent chance of being a high-survival year if we don't get a very mild summer and autumn with warm sector SW'lys, with many of last winter's snows having fallen from W and SW winds.

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    I'm surprised that as many as 9 survived last year, presumably the relatively cool summer and autumn, together with the westerliness of winter 2006/07, helped.

    In my opinion, the greatest factor of last year was the sheer volume of snow that fell, particularly in the west. This year (if anything) is even better. I agree that there are many variables affecting snow patch survival, and none can guarantee survival on their own, but volume does go a long way. Obviously the more there is, the longer it takes to melt.

    I was surprised to see last year a patch of 50-odd metres long on the 25th October! And that was at an altitude of 950m! Not high by Scottish standards.

    Easy Gully looks rather tasty there!! Though the bottom set of photos is a bit off putting!

    Indeed!

    A good skier could pick out a line to below 3000ft (from the 4000ft plateau summit), giving a lot of vertical descent in late May!

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    Posted
  • Location: Dundee
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunderstorms, gales. All extremes except humidity.
  • Location: Dundee

    I drove down from Fort William to Dundee last Sunday morning via Crianlarich and then past Loch Tay to join the A9 at Ballinluig. There were numerous large patches visible from the roads as far down as Ben Mhor and Lawers, some appearing not to be much above 2000 feet in places on N /East facing slopes.

    As a sub question I would be interested in where the most Southerly surviving patches are in the UK.

    Anyone any ideas?

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    As a sub question I would be interested in where the most Southerly surviving patches are in the UK.

    Anyone any ideas?

    I think only north-facing slopes, or locally shaded slopes, can hold snow right through summer into next winter.

    Both the Nevis range, and Glen Coe are south of the Cairngorms. So the Nevis range corries might actually be the most southerly to survive all summer...however, Glen Coe did have fantastic snow accumulations for ski runs this Spring, and despite modest height it must have a chance of holding out for some time in the north-facing Main Basin slopes.

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    As a sub question I would be interested in where the most Southerly surviving patches are in the UK.

    Anyone any ideas?

    Yup, I've a fair idea... :mellow:

    As of the 25th there was still a tiny patch on Ben Vorlich (see below) on the side of Loch Lomond. I suspect that there is still a tiny bit on Ben Lomond's north facing corrie, but I couldn't quite see it from the road side.

    Merrick (in the Southern Uplands) still held snow well into May, but it'll have gone by now. Unless there are any patches lingering in sheltered areas of the Borders (which I doubt) then Loch Lomond-side is currently the place where Britain's most southerly patches are. I understand that there is nothing now left in Wales or England, though I haven't had this confirmed 100%.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dundee
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunderstorms, gales. All extremes except humidity.
  • Location: Dundee

    Thanks for that Firefly.

    It looks as if the Southernmost surviving patch will be a bit further North very shortly though.

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    Once the Lomond and Glen Falloch patches go (and Beinn Bhuide near Loch Fyne - which still had some snow as of the 25th) then the southernmost patches will be on Ben More or Cruach Ardrain (Crianlarich).

    It becomes more difficult after that, as the further north you go the harder it is to survey.

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    Posted
  • Location: Dundee
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, thunderstorms, gales. All extremes except humidity.
  • Location: Dundee
    Once the Lomond and Glen Falloch patches go (and Beinn Bhuide near Loch Fyne - which still had some snow as of the 25th) then the southernmost patches will be on Ben More or Cruach Ardrain (Crianlarich).

    It becomes more difficult after that, as the further north you go the harder it is to survey.

    Thanks again. I suppose once the Southernmost reaches Ben More / Stobinian it will stick there for some time. I have certainly seen snow up there in late July in the past.

    Nor.

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    The last time I saw snow in July on Ben More was (I think) 2001. It had disappeared by mid-June last year. My guess is that it will linger ‘til late June this year (barring a major thaw). I’ve got pictures from the 25th that I will post over the weekend of Ben More.

    As for Glencoe, the ski area looks healthy (here) at moment, and I would expect that to last well into July (possibly late July?).

    To make an educated guess at what might survive through until the new snows you really have to wait ‘til the end of August at least. So much can happen even in September that it is difficult to make accurate assessments.

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    Posted
  • Location: Swansea - 60m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms, Snow & Sunshine!
  • Location: Swansea - 60m ASL

    Glencoe Ski area looks good still got a fair bit of snow left. I wonder if the highest Scotish Mountains will keep the snow patches providing that there is not any Heatwave.

    I dont think there is any snow patches in Wales, not even on Snowdon :(

    Jamie

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    Posted
  • Location: West Salford
  • Location: West Salford

    I was on Snowdon a couple of years ago at the end of march and there was only one small snow patch left but it must have been at around 800m. But then a week later it snowed again.

    Any idea what the cover on the actaul plateau of the ben is like now?

    John

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    Couple of good snaps from the weekend, showing a fair amount of snow still around in Glen Coe and Nevis.

    First snap is of Observatory Gully, Ben Nevis. Second one is a view from Aonach Eagach over to Bidean nam Bian (courtesty of Alan Kimber).

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    Posted
  • Location: Highland Scotland
  • Location: Highland Scotland

    Some photos from Glencoe on Saturday (31st May) from Jamie at Highland Instinct:

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    ^Looking up to the snowfields on Meall a' Bhuiridh from the Access Chair.

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    ^Spring snow turns in the Canyon on the middle slopes (approx 2500ft).

    More: http://www.highland-instinct.co.uk/gallery...200708/08may31/

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    Thanks skifreak... :drinks:

    By way of comparison, here's this year's cover at Glencoe compared to exactly the same time as last year. Shows you how much snow it caught this year. The last patch melted mid-July last year, so what odds this year lasting into August?!

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    Posted
  • Location: West Salford
  • Location: West Salford
    Pictures (courtesty of Tarmachan Mountaineering) from Ben Nevis taken 25th May.

    Thanks im going up on the 23rd June so I will get some pictures.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cambridge (term time) and Bonn, Germany 170m (holidays)
  • Location: Cambridge (term time) and Bonn, Germany 170m (holidays)

    It's amazing really, to think that the Yorkshire mountains had finished with snow by mid-April... and yet up in Scotland there is a reasonable chance of it remaining until next year.

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    The current global warming discussions (complete with forecasts of doom-and-gloom from the media) may be a bit premature with regards to snow on Scottish mountains. Disappearing snows are not new.

    People would have you believe that snow was abundant in years gone by on the high mountains of Scotland, but these two photographs from 1964 (28th September) of the two longest lying snow patches in Scotland (in historical terms) show that is simply not the case.

    By-the-way, these patches both made it through 'til the new snows of winter (amazingly).

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    Unless there is a very warm summer and autumn with rampant warm sector SW'lys and the first snows of winter establishing very late, I have a feeling that the number of patches surviving this year will be well into double figures- probably comfortably the highest since 2000.

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    Posted
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL

    Have been away for business overnight - to Fort William. So took a couple of photos from the A82 of the mountains at the Glencoe centre. So nice to be paid to drive through that scenery!

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