Blowin’ in the (variable) Wind

5th February 2021

Covid -19
The Scottish Avalanche Information Service issues information to support permitted activity under current Scottish Government guidance.
Please be aware of current mandatory travel restrictions in Local Authority areas within Scotland and respect local communities by referring to Scottish Government guidance and safe route choices for exercise. For further guidance please refer to the following information for hillwalkers and climbers and snowsports on ski and board.
This blog is intended to provide hazard and mountain condition information to help plan safer mountain trips.
It was a windy and wild day on Aonach Mor today. Overall the wind is from the South-East and this tends to produce very variable local winds around the top station on Nevis Range. Walking up past the top station, the winds would go from calm to 50mph, and then back down to also calm a few second later. One minute it would be coming from one direction, the next moment from another direction. Quite a few times I felt I was going the way the wind wanted me to go which was not necessarily the way I wanted to go! This variability on a South Easterly is well known by those who work up there a lot, and I think I probably has something to do with the shape of the hill (if anybody has a good explanation it would be great to hear it). Visibility was not great, but there is certainly plenty of new snow at that level.

Lost of blowing snow at the Nevis Range top station. 

Good snow cover around the top station. Pretty hard going on foot though!

A plot of the wind direction from the Tower 17 holfuy station for the last 24 hours. Tower 17 is one of the last gondola towers and is just below the top station.  You can see at the start of the 24 hour period (yesterday afternoon) the wind was consistently from the East. However, from about 18:00 onwards it becomes very variable in direction with with all directions being recorded.  That fits with my experience from that part of the mountain today, the wind was all over the place in terms of both strength and direction.

Comments on this post

  • Graeme brown
    5th February 2021 9:05 pm

    Really interesting info on the variations of wind speed and direction with a mainly SE wind. Plot of direction was great. Thanks for the blog.

Got something to say? Leave a comment

    Latest Lochaber Avalanche Report
    RSS Feed
    Keep up to date by subscribing to our RSS feed
Service funded by sportscotland
Forecast data supplied by the Met Office
SAIS Sponsors