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Coping with mountain weather and conditions

Coping with the weather and conditions in the Scottish mountains can be a massive challenge, no matter what time of year.

Conditions can vary enormously from warm, calm, blue-sky days to ferocious winds, heavy rainfall, blizzard conditions and temperatures well below freezing. And on some days the transformation from a pleasant day to one which challenges survival can be terrifyingly sudden.

Having the right equipment is only part of the solution. You also need the right knowledge to deal with the kind of problems you might well face at any season.

For anyone wishing to enjoy the challenge of the mountains it would be wise to check out the information in these pages, from recognising and dealing with hypothermia, to avalanche awareness and education, to the often forgotten hazards of lightning.


Although most common in winter, hypothermia can affect people at any season. Learn the early warning signs, treatment and avoidance.


Everyone who ventures into the mountains in snowy conditions should learn about the dangers of avalanche


It tends to be the forgotten hazard in Scotland's mountains, but lightning strikes do happen and you should be aware.

Wind in the mountains can be a real show-stopper, in a way that rain, snow and temperature are not. Read more here to find out just what effect wind can have on your journey, ways to mitigate its effects, and when the wind strength just becomes too much.

This BMC/Association of Mountaineering Instructor video describes the types of weather and conditions that have to be considered when planning a winter day in the mountains.

Torrential rain in the Cairngorms - in August. Photo by Neil Reid

It's an essential part of planning your trip, whether it be for one day or several, that you check out what sort of weather can be expected.

There is a range of weather forecasting services specifically prepared for mountain areas and available online, and some of those recommended can be found on our Mountain Weather and avalanche forecasts page.