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The weather

We all hope for days of glorious sunshine in the hills, but sadly it doesn't always happen. However with good waterproof and warm clothing even a wet and windy day can be enjoyable. As they say, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing".

It's important to remember that the weather in the hills can be very different from what is forecast for the wider area, which may contain lowlands as well. By their very nature hills and mountains have their own micro-climate. On the tops it is often wetter, windier and colder than in the valley where you start. So it is as well to be prepared for the unexpected, whatever the forecast says.

Forecasting is a very sophisticated science and is getting better all the time. Even so a really accurate forecast can only be made for the next 24 hours or so. Longer range forecasts become progressively less accurate, though they may give a good indication of the likely weather conditions. Consquently it is important, if at all possible, to read the very latest forecast on the day of your outing.

Forecasts are often posted up in mountain areas in hotels, hostels, outdoor shops and tourist centres. Or, if you have access to the internet, you can get them online.

Daily weather forecasts can be obtained from the MetOffice website or via an app for the iPhone. Click on the map for an area forecast or on the link for specific mountain area forecasts for Britain's main mountain areas; the Highlands, Lake District, Snowdonia, Yorkshire Dales, Brecon Beacons and the Peak District.

The Mountain Weather Information Service gives detailed forecasts for the Highlands, Cairngorms, Southern Uplands, Lake District, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales and Snowdonia. There is a simplified version of the website for internet enabled mobile phones.

Useful publications

Mountain Weather: A Practical Guide for Hillwalkers and Climbers in the British Isles is a good practical guide to the weather and why it is so often different in the hills and mountains. As well as explaining why 'weather happens' illustrates the tell-tale signs to watch out for while you are out in the hills.

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