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2009 - Snow-patches Surviving On Scottish Mountains


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Well, May is here - which means that it's time to chart how the snow is holding up on the hills of Scotland. However, before I do, I'd like to make a note that, as of the 1st of May, two hills in England are still holding snow: Cross Fell (Pennines) and Helvellyn. Here's a photograph from the 26th of Helvellyn showing a few bits 'n bobs left, and here's one of Cross Fell which was taken today (thanks to Paul Crabtree), showing two small patches. The smart money's on Helvellyn lasting longest, but I'd be surprised if it was still there by Wednesday next week.

As for Scotland and where are we compared to the last couple of years... Pretty much the same as 2007, but far less coverage than 2008. There was very heavy snowfall this winter, but there have also been severe thaws, which have been a curse to the ski-ing centres. That said, because of the sheer volume of some of the snow, visitor numbers were actually up at Glenshee this year compared to last.

There's not much point in talking about snow-patches at the moment due to the still very large quantity of snow present on the mountains. Realistically, how do you talk about patches when you've got this quantity of snow on Ben Nevis only a couple of weeks ago:

3476027240_77bfe2719d_o.jpg

I have also started an archive of photographs on my flickr site. Just to prove that all snow melting in Scotland isn't a recent phenomenon, here's a set from 1959 which shows all snow melted (by the 8th September) at Garbh Choire Mor. This was the last time this site was snow free until 1996 (37-years).

Other reports/pictures will follow in due course, but in the meantime I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has. Oh, and if you're in the hills at all then don't forget to snap away and post the results up here!

Cheers,

Iain

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Well, the last snow on Cross Fell (Pennines) has now gone: probably early this week (Monday/Tuesday). The last known photograph (below, with dog!) was taken on the 2nd. In all probability, Helvellyn's snow has probably gone, too.

This means that, very probably, Britain's most southerly snow-patch is now on Talla East Side (near Moffat - http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=31695...mp;mapp=map.srf), and photo below). However, this patch is very probably very small indeed by now, and only the relatively cool conditions just now will be slowing its demise.

*EDIT* You'll have to zoom out 1 notch to see the map properly: don't ask me why!

post-7268-1241727161_thumb.jpg

post-7268-1241727172_thumb.jpg

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Posted
  • Location: West Salford
  • Location: West Salford

    Does anybody know if there any snow left on any of the western isles? Mull or Skye I would assume if any.

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    Posted
  • Location: Portlethen - Aberdeenshire
  • Location: Portlethen - Aberdeenshire

    Lots of Snow above 600m this morning looking towards the grampians...looks like a little top up for any patches that may survive...the view was really nice!!

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    Posted
  • Location: Aberdeen 33m asl
  • Location: Aberdeen 33m asl

    It seems the past 2 months or so have been fairly cool in North East Scotland which should help snow patch retention. However there has been no real cold snaps to increase snow depths in these favoured north east facing corries. The colder weather this week is ideal - Polar Maratime winds encoacing from a SW'ly direction really piles up the snow in these snow patch locations. Overall, I would not expect to see as many survivals this year as last but much depends on Summer and Autumn of course - humid, damp conditions would really thow a spanner in the works.

    The first Saturday in July (Braemar golf day) i can see how much snow there is on the hills looking WNW - last year there was still a considerable amount of snow on the main peak i could see (maybe Beinn Bhreac or South Top)

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

    Much of the snow on Ben Nevis was delivered overnight Fri/Sat. Extensive snow still at 2500ft+ on the drive round the highlands this weekend :)

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    Sorry, been away on holiday for over a week and couldn't update this thread.

    Anyway, here we go...

    I believe that there is still snow on Skye, but am not sure about Mull. I suspect not.

    Contrary to the earlier assertion of Cross Fell on the Pennines disappearing in the first week in May, it actually vanished on the 13th. I have a reliable contact who informed me of this. The only remaining snow now in England (this is 99% definite) is on Helvellyn, if it hasn't already melted. The picture below shows it on the 10th May, and my guess is it's still there, though small. It was 10m wide and 1.5m deep in this photograph.

    We also think there are a couple of patches in the Southern Uplands (around Broad Law), but haven't been reported for a few days.

    Attached is a cracking picture of Ben Nevis taken on the 16th May (courtesy of Mike Pescod).

    post-7268-1242563628_thumb.jpg

    post-7268-1242563790_thumb.jpg

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

    I was up in Highland Perthshire yesterday watching the cycle race. Still good patches up in the Lawers area though most of the new stuff has gone.

    Took a couple of pictures but as from a distance may not be too clear. Will check later and if ok will post them.

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    Posted
  • Location: Aberdeen 33m asl
  • Location: Aberdeen 33m asl

    Seen a photograph in our local paper today from the Northern Open golf event at Spey Valley, Aviemore. The snap takes in the backdrop of the Cairngorm and there still appeared to be lots of snow coverage

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    Posted
  • Location: Upton, Northampton.
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, storms
  • Location: Upton, Northampton.
    Seen a photograph in our local paper today from the Northern Open golf event at Spey Valley, Aviemore. The snap takes in the backdrop of the Cairngorm and there still appeared to be lots of snow coverage

    I's a good job Scotland hasn't been having the temperatures that England has been having the past few days because the snow would be rapisly melting even at 2000ft. Temps of 23c here today, at 2000ft that would probably be about 12c?

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    Posted
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl
  • Location: N.E. Scotland South Side Moray Firth 100m asl
    post-2744-1243721378_thumb.jpgA view of the Cairngorms with the remaining snow as seen between Aviemore and Carrbridge on Friday 29th May with the car thermometer reading 25c at about 2.30 pm
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    Sorry I haven't updated this thread for a while!

    So, where are we in terms of snow-patches? Firstly, the final snow in England (on Helvellyn) melted around the 15th May, for all those interested.

    Secondly, we're now into June and I was concerned that Scotland's most southerly snow-patch would be the Cuidhe Chrom on Ben More, Crianlarich (one of not many snow-patches in Scotland to have its own name on Ordnance Survey maps: see attached picture. Cuidhe Chrom means 'crooked wreath', which is very appropriate to the snow there). In 2008 at this time the most southerly snow in Scotland was on Beinn Ime, near Loch Lomond, but with less snow this year than last I was concerned that it wouldn't persist into June. To my surprise, the snow has persisted into June (just!), and is visible as a small patch on the right-hand mountain in this picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28183399@N03/...57617244267543/

    After this melts then the Cuidhe Chrom will take the position of Britain's most southerly snow-patch. However, unlike last year, it is very unlikely to last into July. I visited it last year on the 30th June and it was still over 100m long. If it's still there on the 30th this year then it will have done well!

    After this melts then the Cuidhe Chrom will take the position of Britain's most southerly snow-patch. However, unlike last year, it is very unlikely to last into July. I visited it last year on the 30th June and it was still over 100m long. If it's still there on the 30th this year then it will have done well!

    post-7268-1244017698_thumb.jpg

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    The forecasted cold spell coming from the north has, as predicted, deposited some snow on the top of the Cairngorms (see attached). Not a huge amount, but the forecast is for more over the course of the next 24-hours, with the cold spell continuing for the next few days.

    Though this will, in all probability, make little material difference to the remaining old snow, the cool weather will stem the rapid melting of the snow that has occurred over the last week or so.

    Still massive wreaths in the Cairngorms, with Ben Macdui having a 'patch' about a mile long if taken tip-to-tip. The attached picture (from the 1st June) gives a big foreshortening effect, but allows an idea of what we have on Britain's snowiest mountain.

    The other attachment is from the top of Ben Macdui (3rd June) looking across the Lairig Ghru towards Cairn Toul and Braeriach, with Garbh Choire Mor (Britain's longest-lying snow) visible in the centre left (the biggest blob of snow!)

    post-7268-1244187883_thumb.jpg

    post-7268-1244187906_thumb.jpg

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    Think ski-ing on fresh snow is over for the season? Think again!

    Once again, the redoubtable h11lly (and friends) from winterhighland made the trip up over Cairn Gorm yesterday (7th June) to build a kicker and get some turns in on fresh snow that has now been lying on the high Cairngorms for about 5 days. This is unusual for the time of year, as fresh snow can melt rapidly in June. The snow has now been lying for 5-days, and may have had an effect on the ptarmigan that are sitting on their eggs. Some may have abandoned the nests, but many of the hardier birds will sit tight, waiting for the thaw.

    The forecast is for cool, dry weather to continue late into the week, which is good for snow-patch retention. Minimal melt in the last week, after a few days of scorching weather.

    h11lly's outing can be found here: http://www.winterhighland.info/touring/index.php?50,1541

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    Hi, CMD.

    I see you're from Kilmacolm. I was brought up in Port Glasgow, though I now live in Chelmsford, Essex!

    The mountain to the south of Ben More is Stob Binnein (the anvil, so called because of its flat top). I was made aware of its still extant snow patches yesterday, though they're very small. Ben More and Stob Binnein are two of the most recognisable mountains in southern Scotland, by virtue of their great height and close proximity. By-the-way, here's a photograph of the patch from yesterday (thanks to Eddie Boyle), showing good depth and length.

    As for the general question about whether they're visible from the central belt (to non-Scots, the low-lying land around Glasgow and Edinburgh): yes and no (that is, it depends on where in the central belt you're viewing them from).

    If you come down to upper Port Glasgow from the Kilmalcolm road then they're very visible. You can see them (from memory) just as you pass Port Glasgow High School, immediately to the right of Ben Lomond. The lower down you get, the more they're obscured. I'm pretty sure they're not visible from Glasgow, unless you get up high onto Eaglesham Moor or similar. The further east you come towards Edinburgh, the less I'm sure.

    If we move farther north (Stirling area) then they become obscured from the road-side by other mountains (most notably, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin near Lochearnhead), which can be mistaken for Ben More and Stob Binnein, though they're further east (see this photograph, which I think was taken from the Kippen area, and note the 'pointy' similarity).

    I suspect the hills you are seeing from the central belt are Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin, but are definitely Ben More and Stob Binnein when viewed from upper Port Glasgow, which is doubtless the view you are most familiar with.

    By-the-way, if you were going the scenic route home from Callander past Ben More then that's one heck of a diversion! That said, the drive from Callander up the side of Loch Lubnaig, with Ben Ledi to the left, then passing Lochearnhead and up into Glen Ogle, passing over the top with the stunning views over to Ben Lawers and the Tarmachan ridge, before striking along the A85 towards Crianlarich, is a memorable one, and I envy you!

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    Posted
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL
    ...but are definitely Ben More and Stob Binnein when viewed from upper Port Glasgow, which is doubtless the view you are most familiar with.

    Do you mean the views from Bardrainney?! If you look at the view, the kids would be away with your car's wheels :lol:

    The husband (who's from the Gibby) says Upper Bogston (pmsl) has much better views :D

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    Haha!

    No, upper Port Glasgow has better views than Greenock to Ben More. There's less high ground to interrupt the line of sight.

    Just as an addendum to my last post, the view of Ben More and Stob Binnein are blocked from Glasgow by the Campsie Fells, but once you are on the other side of them (looking across Flanders Moss), they become very visible. If you know what you are looking at, this photograph shows the Campsies in the distance (to the left of Stob Binnein), with the knobbly peak of Dumgoyne visible on their right hand extremity. This is the range that blocks the direct line of sight.

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    Posted
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent
    100% meant the view coming down the A761 from Kilmacolm to Port Glasgow. In the last two weeks the air has been so clear up this way, usually you are lucky to see the far side of the Clyde, let alone 60-70 miles. At most times in the last two weeks not only has Tinto Hill to the far south-west of Glasgow been visible from the back roads but what I now know to be Ben More and Stob Binnein have been visible. As for the "diversion" it happened by accident leaving Callander on our second visit last year. I couldn't get turned right out of the Meadows at Callander and told MrsCatch that we could go via Crianlarich and "it won't take much longer honest". It is at least a 40 mile detour on a 65 mile journey, but she now demands we take that route. It is such a nice drive, past Lochearnhead, over Glen Ogle with the Victorian railway viaduct. Amazing. We do that drive about four times a year now, with the boys invariably sleeping in the back!!

    Just to add to where these hills are visible from, probably only from the back roads up my way, Ben Lomond can only be seen westwards of Paisley. Many of the big hills can be seen from the moors above Kilmacolm, some of which I cannot identify lie to the north and west of Ben More and Stob Binnein, but it is really unusual to have any visual range in the west of Scotland. The clear views have been quite exceptional in the last two weeks, I can't get over how amazing it has been.

    Ah, Tinto hill. That is one of my favourites. I remember it well from my few journeys into Scotland. I had cause to deliver quite close to it one day & was surprised how small & dissapointing it is when you are close to it!

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