The big snows and a Compass and the weather effect?

The forecast is for big snowfall today and those who are venturing out on the high tops will be in for an interesting day!

Chief Forecaster’s assessment

Snow is expected to develop across parts of Scotland early on Thursday. Snow is likely to become heavy and persistent for a time on Thursday morning before easing and pushing away eastwards during the early afternoon. 2-5 cm of snow is likely for many parts with 10 cm above around 250 m and up to 20 cm over the highest ground.

Expect snow to rapidly accumulate with deep drifts also possible during windy conditions. Progress will be time consuming and physically strenuous, which will significantly affect the distance one is able to travel on foot. Paths will become hidden and difficult to follow, while very poor visibility during snowfall will make route-finding challenging. A heightened avalanche risk is likely and avalanche reports should be consulted where available.

In bad weather despite the great changes in technology with GPS a map and compass is still an essential on the mountains!

This one below is on show at Culloden Battlefield near Inverness it is made of Ivory and had a date on it 1744. What an incredible piece it is and so like a modern compass all those years later.

I wonder if Prince Charlie would have thought his compass would be on show all those years later? I wonder how much it’s worth nowadays ?

Picture below a modern compass incredible and not made of Ivory ! Check your compass is serviceable and the polarity is correct ? If unsure have a look on the Mountaineering Scotland website?

Yet a compass or map is of limited use without the skills to use it! It is worth brushing up on your skills no matter how experienced you are?

Never be a follower take an interest in your day out plan your route and take into consideration the weather and your fitness! It takes longer in winter and daylight especially in late November early December can be short.

Check that forecast check your route and watch the weather !

Question How long to walk 22 ks and 1000 metres of ascent plus breaks in a day in summer?

Same route in winter ? With 10 kg hill bag in Late Nov ? In todays Conditions?

“Expect snow to rapidly accumulate with deep drifts also possible during windy conditions. Progress will be time consuming and physically strenuous, which will significantly affect the distance one is able to travel on foot. Paths will become hidden and difficult to follow, while very poor visibility during snowfall will make route-finding challenging. A heightened avalanche risk is likely and avalanche reports should be consulted where available.”

Blizzards and whiteouts present challenging and serious conditions due to a combination of falling or blowing snow, strong winds and cold temperatures. They can be highly disorientating, often resulting in near-zero visibility with limited or no visual references and no distinction between ground and sky. Cliff edges and cornices may not be apparent, even close up. These conditions require very good navigational skills.

Wind significantly lowers the ‘feels-like’ temperature relative to the actual temperature, with even moderate winds significantly adding to the chilling effect. Strong winds can result in a severe and debilitating wind chill many degrees below the actual temperature. This effect will be enhanced in rain or wet snow. Without protection, prolonged exposure could result in frost nip or frostbite on exposed parts of the body and/or hypothermia”

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Avalanche info, Enviroment, Equipment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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