Sunday 4 October 2009

First Snow of the Autumn in the Cairngorms

The first of the big autumn storms arrived two days ago, bringing rain at lower levels along with fierce winds. I never caught a glimpse of the mountains but a brief report on the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website described a light dusting of snow on Cairn Gorm and Braeriach. Yesterday the storm raged on, making the drive south to give a talk at the East Perthshire Walking Festival difficult at times as the wind tried to blow the car off the road and lorries sent huge waves of spray lashing across the windscreen. Again I didn’t see the hills. Those who were on them reported extreme conditions. In a comment on my October 2 AWalk In the Early Autumn Woods post Mike Fae Dundee said he had to crawl the last 100 metres to the summit of Bynack More, so strong was the wind. The Cairngorm Weather Station recorded a gust of 105mph in the middle of the day.

Today was calmer with sunshine to the east of the cloud-shrouded mountains. I spent the afternoon outside cutting firewood. I can see the Cairngorms from my garden and several times the clouds rose above the summits revealing a coating of snow on their flanks. The snow doesn’t look very thick but more big storms bringing more snow are forecast for later in the week. It’s time to change my thinking about the hills and to prepare for cold and snow and wintery conditions.

Photo info: Fresh snow on Cairn Gorm and Bynack More, viewed across Strathspey. Canon EOS 450D, Canon EF-S 55-250 IS@250mm, 1/800 @ f16, ISO 400, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.4.


  1. I read the MWIS forecast on Friday, mainly as I had seen the BBC forecast on the box and it showed northerly flow on the bars, it mentioned snow showers above 900m. Fantastic to see it though so thanks for posting the piccie. Brought a smile to my face. Don't know what it is about the first snow or sign of it but it gets me excited every year!

  2. Yep, first snow of the year fell here in Bergen over-night too. Today was sunny so I took a walk around the reservoir just to take some photographs and noticed a light dusting up on the tops.