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Mountain weather and avalanche forecasts

The links on this page will take you to specialist weather and avalanche forecasts which should be an essential part of planning your activities on the hill.

The Mountain Weather Information Service produces forecasts for ten different mountain areas of the UK as an aid to mountain safety.

Forecasts are produced manually using information from a range of forecast models and forecasters' knowledge of mountain weather. New forecasts, for the next three days are produced by 4:30pm daily, normally earlier in the winter, and amended as necessary.

You can also access pdf and internet-enabled mobile forecasts from this website

The Met Office has a dedicated mountain weather forecast site worth checking out, providing mountain forecasts for the main mountain areas. Forecasts are issued twice a day and cover daylight hours.

The sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) publishes daily forecasts of the avalanche, snow, and climbing conditions for six climbing areas of Scotland during the winter. The season generally starts in mid-December and goes through to early April depending on snow cover.

Alongside the avalanche forecast, each area forecaster also posts a daily blog with photos attached providing additional important information to add to your planning – well worth a look at.

In winter it is vital to consult the avalanche forecast before you venture into the mountains, but that doesn't mean anything unless you know how to read and interpret what you see, This video, with subtitles, from Mark Diggins, of the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service explains what you'll see and what it means for your trip.

A free training resource is available to help hillwalkers, climbers, mountaineers and skiers understand and avoid avalanche dangers in the hills.

Aimed at individuals making critical decisions in the winter mountains, the free digital version of the ‘Be Avalanche Aware’ planning tool is clear and easy to follow, equipping people travelling in mountain terrain with practical information and advice to make them more aware of the avalanche risks and the factors that influence their own planning and journey decision making.

The online avalanche awareness training initiative has been created by The Snow and Avalanche Foundation of Scotland (SAFOS), with development support from member organisations Mountain Training Scotland and Glenmore Lodge.

Below are listed several other sources of specialist weather forecast information which may help you with your planning. Please note: Mountaineering Scotland does not endorse the content or integrity of these sites.

  • mountain-forecast.com - covers mountain ranges and individual mountains worldwide, including Scottish highlands and lowlands
  • WEATHER2 – Hill and Mountain Forecasts for 30 UK areas, including 11 Scottish mountain areas
  • WETTER ZENTRALE – Synoptic charts for next 9 days
  • CAIRNGORM WEATHER STATION – Weather station on summit of Cairngorm operated by Herriot Watt University
  • YR – Norwegian weather service, with forecasts for UK searchable for individual Scottish mountains and other locations

Of course knowing what the weather is likely to be is only part of the story. You also need to know how best to deal with different types of weather and conditions you will meet on the hill. Check out our Weather conditions pages for more advice.