|Difficult conditions in the winter Cairngorms|
For many years now I have consulted the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) forecasts and made decisions about my hill activities based on them, especially outside of summer. I know of no other dedicated forecast that provides the same detailed information, let alone in such an easy to understand manner. That I’m not alone in this was shown over the last weekend when there was an outpouring of comment on social media after it became clear that the future of MWIS is threatened by a funding cut. I’ve rarely seen so many comments, shares and likes on any outdoor topic before. MWIS is clearly important to many people.
Statements have been made by Geoff Monks of MWIS, Mountaineering Scotland (formerly the MCofS), SportScotland (the funding body), and Shaun Roberts, Head of Centre at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre. These can all be found on The Great Outdoors website. Reading them makes it clear that there is disagreement between the various parties but that none of those disagreeing with Geoff Monks deny the plan to cut funding.
This, I think, is a serious situation. I agree with Mountaineering Scotland when it says that MWIS ‘offers unique features that have earned massive support in the mountaineering community and made it the number one choice.' At present there is no credible alternative for forecasts that can be critical in winter. These forecasts are important for safe decision making.
Whatever the causes of the dispute that is obviously going on it needs resolving fast. The first winter storms will soon be here. Given the amount of work Geoff Monks has put into MWIS it would be a shame if the service ceases. What is most important though is that we continue to have a dedicated mountain weather forecast service at least as good as MWIS. Nothing else is acceptable. This is a safety issue.
There's a petition about this here. Please sign if you'd like to see MWIS continue.