Poor visibility

25th March 2024

It was a dry start to the day with occasional light snow showers from late morning onwards. Visibility was poor in cloud above around 900 metres so not a good day for photos.

There were quite a few disappointed people waiting for the climber’s gondola at Nevis Range today which didn’t run due to strong winds. The forecast winds weren’t too strong but the direction was South-Easterly. Winds from the South-East compass quadrant tend to accelerate in the area around the top of the gondola with strong gusts. This effect is caused by the mountain topography. In the table below giving forecast and actual wind speeds in mph at 08:00 you’ll notice that the gondola mean speed, despite being at a much lower elevation, is greater than that for Ben Nevis or Aonach Mor and the gust speed is much greater.


Mean Wind Speed

Wind Gust Speed

Ben Nevis (forecast) 1345m



Aonach Mor (actual) 1130m



Gondola T17 (actual) 650m



In contrast if the wind is from the North-West the gondola will (almost) always run.

Weakness remain in areas of recent windslab. Aspects that got some sun yesterday have a crust on top which is helping to improve stability with steep shaded North to East aspects the main area of concern today.

Good snow cover on the North aspect at 1000 metres in the foreground but much less on the North-West aspect in the distance where 2 skiers can be seen ascending (if you look closely).


Aonach Mor summit plateau.

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