Coldest lows in Scottish Highlands since 1922 – Skiing in May

Also, snowy start to May in northern Ireland.


Snow in May: Lake District skiers ‘giddy’ in unseasonal weather

Skiers in the Lake District have taken advantage of unseasonal snowfall to head to the slopes for the first time in months.

Snow which started on Tuesday was deep enough by Wednesday to allow the club’s tow up Raise, near Helvellyn, to run.

Members were “giddy” at the unusual sight of snow-covered mountains in May, club president Mike Sweeney said.

“I haven’t seen snow at this time of year before, but I was speaking to some other members who said there was snow in June in 1963, although that was a very unusual year for weather,” he said.

“It was fabulous, people were just giddy with excitement.”

“Up here we rely on drifts and have snow fences because we don’t get a great depth of snow, but some of the drifts today are as high as the fences,” said former club president and assistant hut warden Gerard Unthank, 80.

Walkers and climbers have also been enjoying the unusual conditions.

Bethany Smith said a hike up Helvellyn on Wednesday was her first since the end of the third lockdown.

“We knew it was white on the tops and I’m always prepared for all weather conditions, but we didn’t realise quite how deep the snow was until we got to Grisedale Tarn and noticed people descending from Fairfield Peak on their backsides,” she said.

“At some points, the snow drifts were up to our knees.”

“It felt more like we were in the Alps,” she said.

Frost has been unusually prevalent during April and May.

May snowfall brings disruption to Highlands

May snowfall has brought disruption to parts of Scotland, with the Highlands under a thick blanket of snow.

The Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” warning as the unseasonal weather affected travel on key routes in the area.

The southbound carriageway of the A9 at Daviot, south of Inverness, was blocked for a time by a fallen tree.

The A939 near Tomintoul in Moray was closed because a tanker was stuck in snow. Police said diversions would be in place while the road was closed.

Provisional data from the Met Office suggests it was the frostiest April for at least 60 years – with the lowest average minimum temperatures since 1922.

The frostiest place of all was Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, which dropped below freezing on 25 different nights.

Northern Ireland – Exceptional cold spell for early May

Snow was lying on the Glenshane Pass early on Wednesday and was clearly visible on the hills around Londonderry.

The heaviest showers could fall as sleet or snow throughout Wednesday on the highest parts of the Sperrin mountains or the Antrim hills.

That will especially be the case as temperatures fall, bring frost, on Wednesday night.

It is not a night to leave seedlings outdoors and in the coldest spots we could see temperatures drop as low as -4C

Such cold is certainly not an annual event, but it does happen from time to time.

A couple of listeners to the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme texted to say they had memories of snow in early May, including 1997 and 1981.

Thanks to Paul Cresswell for these links

7 thoughts on “Coldest lows in Scottish Highlands since 1922 – Skiing in May”

  1. —-and here in southern England, 30 miles southwest of London, the weather has been very cold for this time of year: roughly 8 C / 48 F during last week.

  2. Nice trick by the Met O to shout about the 60 year record of frosts to try to ignore the coldest April in a century.

    They have been struggling a bit with all this May snow. One spokesman did admit that while snow in May is not unknown the fact that is settled in some depth is unusual. Of course with the lame media we have there was no questioning on why this is happening in their claimed evah-warmer world or its contradiction of snow will never fall again claim.

    • I agree, Gerry. But as long as they’re all ‘giddy with excitement,’ none of the sheeple will question the fact that this kind of snow is rather unusual. Or even remember the warmist idiot who said that snow would be a thing of the past.

    • Gerry, in 1989, there was snow down to 600m in the Cairngorms in mid June. I know because I went the following weekend to hike ‘The Four Tops’ namely Cairngorm, Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul and Braeriach. There was perfect neve on the Cairn Toul/Braeriach plateau and it was like walking in March.

      1990 also saw late snow.

      These things are quite rare but they happened 30 years ago and probably did 60 odd years ago too.

  3. Snowing now again on the mountains here. Timberline, 24F snowing, also on the other mountain cams around the NW and also fresh snow on the Olympic Mountains behind my house.
    Another foot of snow forecast, next ten days at upper elevations.

  4. Snow drifts up to their ‘knees’…heck in 1978 we had drifts 15-20’ high in Eastern Jefferson County KY during that blizzard. Pics on Google of a tractor going thru the drifts are easily found…and I was a NG member who drove his little bitty GP (Jeep) thru that ‘pass’! Great times!!!

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