Mountaineering Scotland – the body which represents Scotland’s hillwalkers and mountaineers – has issued the following statement on its website regarding the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS):
“Mountaineering Scotland was influential in securing the original Scottish Government funding, provided through sportscotland, which secured regular provision of Scottish mountain forecasts produced by Geoff Monk since 2007. The agreement was for Scottish forecasts and has never applied to English and Welsh forecasts.
“Prior to provision of funding, the forecasts had been produced daily by Geoff Monk free of charge for a number of years but together with many other organisations, we felt that this situation was unsustainable and that the forecasts were a major contribution to mountain safety, hence the need for government funding.
“Until April 2016 we managed the contract with Geoff, following which sportscotland took that responsibility. Geoff had already indicated prior to April that he wished to reduce his level of activity and sportscotland had advised us they wished to see a sustainable solution which would ensure forecasts were not solely reliant on Geoff’s relatively limited resources and that would leave a lasting legacy when he eventually retired. That solution involved the Met Office and we have not been involved in any of the subsequent negotiations between Geoff, sportscotland and the Met Office.
“A number of alternative mountain weather forecasts have been launched in recent years and are in use regularly by mountaineers and skiers, offering a choice and enabling comparison of forecasts.
“MWIS is not the only option available to users but it offers unique features that have earned massive support in the mountaineering community and made it the number one choice.
“Mountaineering Scotland wish to see continuity in the daily production of Scottish mountain weather forecasts, which are publicly funded, available free to users, and which provide at least the same range of forecast features as MWIS.
“We believe there is an urgent need for the three parties to reconvene their dialogue to ensure that there is continuity, especially with the onset of winter and the critical need for mountaineers and skiers to be able to assess forecast conditions and plan their activities accordingly.”