Scotland is snow free

Even in my relatively short time on the Scottish mountains, I can recall perennial snow in Tower Gully on Ben Nevis, below the north face of Aonach Beag and various patches in the Cairngorms.

For anyone on twitter, I can recommend following @theiaincameron who is the amataur scientist that undertakes snowfield surveys in the UK.


Interesting report Fraser.

50 years ago we had occasional sheets of snow on our higher peaks lasting into mid January. I have seen people skiing on snow sheets between Christmas and New Year on Thredbo. 100 years ago it was normal for the last vestiges of snow to last to mid summer. In those days official downhill racing events were conducted in Spring on one of the near SOTA peaks where tobogganing is now barely possible for a fortnight mid season.

Doubtless similar stories can be told from other areas



Opinion is divided on the subject, with global warming trends leading some to predict that bananas will be grown in the Hebridean islands within the next 50 years, while others point out that, if the Atlantic Gulf Stream fails, the British Isles will experience a mix of Arctic maritime and Siberian climate conditions. If the latter proves to be the case, just imagine the year-round Scottish ice-climbing scene!


Other things being equal it would certainly bring back glaciers, but I think that the position of the jet stream in a warmer world would be a factor - how prevalent would a southerly wind be?

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I’m sure some of you might be aware that glaciers were still in existence in the not too distant past.

There’s evidence that the last (smallish) glacier/s in the Scottish highlands lasted until the late 1700s

This link shows the evidence Scotland had a glacier up to 1700s, say scientists - BBC News
But I recall reading, many years ago about research based on the age of various slow growing lichens on the beds of sheltered corries which also estimated they lasted until to about the same age.


The conclusions of the lichen research were described in one of the SMC regional guides. Given the descriptions of conditions encountered by travellers during the “Little Ice Age”, the presence of glaciers seems quite reasonable, though I doubt that they were there before that cold period began.


…and the last great Ice Age, which lasted some 100,000 years and covered most of Northern Europe and most of the British Isles in glaciers and ice sheets and which, if my understanding serves me correctly, occurred “before that cold period began,” was nothing but a blip in the climate records? Blink and you don’t see it?