/ when to start climing hills/mountains Scotland

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edd78 - on 11 Jan 2013
hi all

i am new to hillwalking done a couple of munros last year in the summer season. i want to know when is the best time to hit the hills again dont want to go when its covered in snow is is there any website that i can use to see if there is any snow at the summit i know Google earth does not show live footage. i dont really want to drive all the way up to find that there is snow on the summit making it a wasted journey and petrol

thank you for reading

edd78
girlymonkey - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78:
The ski centres all have webcams you can check so that should give you a general idea what the area is looking like.
But, I'd say go and learn to do snowey stuff - it's the best time of year on the hills!! Get on a winter skills course if you don't know anyone who can take you out in winter conditions. There's not too much extra to learn if you are sticking to the main munroist paths. Snow is fab :-)
redsonja - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: i would second this. the mountains are fab when there is snow and if you go on a winter skills course (plas y brenin are the best) you will learn how to both deal with and enjoy the winter conditions. good luck
Kevin Woods - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78: Agree. Either wait a while and ease yourself into winter or go on a skills course. Winter is amazing, give it a go!

To answer your question, mid-May is a pretty sure bet that the last snows will be gone. After then the snowfields will just be receding. But I've done the Fisherfields in a snowless heatwave, last March ... so anythings possible.
wee jamie on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78: Here's a website I use to check snow cover (and I live here!) - http://www.scotland-landscapes.com/mountain-information/scotland-mountain-webcams/

It hasn't been updated in a while so some of the links aren't functioning including the traffic scotland links. If in doubt, check the date on the webcam image.

Don't be afraid of the snow - it turns the hills into mountains. All you need is an axe and crampons and you have access to a whole new world
Eric9Points - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78:

Winter will have left most of the hills by Easter.
Father Noel Furlong on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78:

My dad took me up the hills when I was 8 with nowt but a tin of cold soup for lunch, wellies and a crappy cagoule.

Toughen up and just go. What's the worst that could happen?
Howard J - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78: You can get snow in Scotland (and south of the Border for that matter) at any time of year.

I've been on Ben Nevis in May when there was quite a lot of snow about, and even seen small patches in August (although they wouldn't cause you any problems).

Best to look at good weather forecasts which give plenty of detail (try mwis.org.uk) and go prepared. If you find that conditions are more difficult than you expected (and this need not just mean snow) then be prepared to alter your plans. There's no reason why you shouldn't manage a good day out even if you are unable to summit.
edd78 - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to girlymonkey: thank you and the rest of you for the reply to my question Im trying to gain experience on the easeist munros first then gradually as i gain experience then i will try some walking on hills like the pentlands to gain experience on walking in the snow saying that i went up beinn narnain in light snow cover enjoyable yet scary walk on route over Cruach nam Miseag towards the spear head the top you are greeted with majestic panoranic views towards the Arrochar Alps and beyond with snow covered tops
so it makes it worthwhile i will be staying away from the likes of the ring of steall ect there is one more guestion who would you recommend for navigation courses
nufkin - on 11 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78:

Take a breath, man! Slow down. Relax. And punctuate.

As mentioned, snow isn't necessarily scary if you choose your route and conditions wisely. As for courses, somewhere like Glenmore Lodge is an obvious option, but you'd also do well to have a look in the back of walking and climbing mags for freelance guides. I think the Mountain Leader Training website might have links, too.
redsonja - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78: plas y brenin
Rigid Raider - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78:

You NEED to learn to deal with snow because you could encouter a patch at any time during the early part of the year and snow is just one of a whole lot of possible hazards that a mountaineer has to negotiate. Anyway walking and climbing in snow is fantastic fun.
kinley2 - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:

Of course you don't need to be a mountaineer to walk up the Scottish hills.

...and for most of the year the major decision re snow is whether to walk over or round the snow patch.
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Flinticus - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to edd78:
Get on the hills when there is still a remnant of snow: not enough to avalanche or slow you right down / too deep or extensive. That's a good way to build up experience. Keep an eye on the weather: March - May should be good for this though usual warnings over weather apply.

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