Highlands & Islands

'Major improvements' to Met Office Mountain Forecasts

Glen Coe

The Met Office says it has made "major improvements" to its Mountain Forecast.

The service aims to provide forecasts for peaks and upland areas across Great Britain, including most of the high ground in Scotland.

It also covers the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons.

Mountain weather research in Scotland has helped to create the updated service.

The service has been updated for the summer walking season.

It also follows research commissioned by the Met Office that suggests more than half the people in the UK who head outdoors have been caught out by bad weather.

The survey also suggests that one third of those who regard themselves as outdoor enthusiasts said they had put themselves in a dangerous situation by not checking the weather.

Being prepared 'essential'

The Met Office said it would be able to give more detail in its area-specific forecasts for weather conditions in three-hourly periods.

The conditions include wind speed and direction, temperature, the probability of rain or snow, visibility levels and whether cloud is expected over hill tops.

Image copyright Met Office

Shaun Roberts, principal at Scotland's National Outdoor Training Centre, said: "Detailed mountain weather forecasting is an integral and critical part of our daily planning.

"We are delighted that the SportScotland Mountain Weather Research in 2015 has helped influence commitment and developments into public mountain weather service provision and welcome the investment that the Met office has made to support those heading into our hills and mountains."

Richard Orrell, of the Met Office, added: "Mountain weather can change very quickly.

"Good weather can rapidly turn severe when altitude is added to the mix, so being prepared is essential.

"Our new and improved Mountain Forecast is compiled by specially-trained meteorologists who often spend time in the hills and mountains and know the ins and outs of mountain weather."

'Notoriously fickle'

Mountaineering Scotland, which represents the interests of outdoor pursuits enthusiasts, said good weather forecasts were essential to enjoying the hills safely.

The organisation's Neil Reid said: "We strongly recommend checking a dedicated mountain weather forecast as an essential part of preparation before heading for the hills.

"The weather in the mountains can be very different from that at lower level - and is notoriously fickle - so even when you've checked the forecast you should ensure you have suitable clothing and equipment."

Mountaineering Scotland has information on summer hillwalking on its website.

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