Call for hillwalkers to survey snow patches

snowcoveredtrackThis year there looks set to be a fair amount of residual snow on the Scottish mountains following the heavy winter snowfall. For the last six years a survey has been held in late August to try and survey every remaining snow patch in order to build up a scientific log of changing conditions. This year, the organisers are calling on hillwalkers to take part on 22 or 23 August.

Survey organiser Iain Cameron says, “For the last six years I’ve organised a late-August survey on the hills of Scotland, where we try and count up every last snow patch dotted throughout the country. I say ‘we’, as this is very much a collective effort, rather than an heroic attempt by one individual.

“The reason for doing this survey is to try and build up a long-term picture of whether lots of patches earlier in the season equates to survivals when lasting snow arrives. Also it’s a good reason to get out on the hill, dressed up in the name of science.

“Since the survey was started in 2008 we’ve had (2008-2013) 34, 35, 34, 36, 72 and 81 patches. The number of surviving (that is, surviving until winter snows bury them) patches in the corresponding years is: 12, 6, 6, 2, 6 and 6. At the moment there doesn’t appear to be any correlation, but it’s too early to draw any conclusions, but as each year passes then this data becomes more useful.”

The survey usually runs as close to the 21st as possible and this year’s date is Friday 22nd August although Iain says that the 23rd will do as well.

The survey will take place in the locations listed below – the ones in bold were still looking for volunteers at the time of publication. So if you are planning a hillwalk on those dates Iain asks that you get in touch via Twitter @theiaincameron or email on iainjamescameron@hotmail.com and he will be delighted to point you in the right direction.

1. Nevis range (any of the four 4000 footers)

2. Grey Corries

3. Glen Coe (specifically, Bidean nam Bian)

4. West Drumochter – Geal-charn (Alder), Ben Alder and Beinn Udlamain will all have snow. Maybe others.

5. Creag Meagaidh

6. Ardverikie (Beinn a’ Chlachair, Geal Charn)

7. Ben Macdui/Cairn Gorm plateau

8. Braeriach/Cairn Toul

10. Lochnagar

11. Beinn Bhrotain/Monadh Mòr (Cairngorms)

12. East Cairngorms (Ben Avon, Beinn a’ Bhuird)

13. Glen Affric/Strathfarrar/Mullardoch

14. White Mounth, including Glenshee ski area hills

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