UK’s longest-lasting patch of snow melts away

Picture: The patch at Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Scottish Cairngorms, nicknamed the Sphinx, has now melted, SWNS
Picture: The patch at Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Scottish Cairngorms, nicknamed the Sphinx, has now melted, SWNS

Britain has lost its longest-lasting patch of snow for the first time in over a decade - an event which has happened only six times in the past 300 years

The final remnant had survived in a shaded corrie at 3,700ft on the UK’s third-highest mountain since 2006.

Picture: Iain Cameron with the last snow patch on Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Cairngorms, which has now disappeared, SWNS

Picture: Iain Cameron with the last snow patch on Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Cairngorms, which has now disappeared, SWNS

But on Sunday morning the last patch at Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Scottish Cairngorms, nicknamed the Sphinx, had disappeared.

All of the snow in Britain has melted only six times in the past 300 years - in 1933, 1953, 1959, 1996, 2003 and 2006.

Iain Cameron, a Stirling-based ‘snow patcher’, climbed the mountain at the weekend and noticed the remaining snow was small enough for him to hold in his hands.

The 44-year-old monitors snow across Britain as a hobby and his findings are published by the Royal Meteorological Society.

He put the unusual occurrence down to a dry and mild winter.

He said: “On Saturday, the Sphinx was so tiny that I could easily hold it in my hands. It’s normally massive.

“I put it down to very little snowfall over winter. We had a very dry and mild winter this year which affects it more than a warmer summer.

“It’s at an altitude of 3,700ft and mostly shaded from direct sunlight.

“It had been snowing at the summit but that all melted away more or less as soon as it hit the ground.

“It’s very interesting because it’s not something that happens very often. It’s only been absent from our records a few times in history.”

Iain is a health and safety manager for an aerospace company in Edinburgh and does his ‘snow patch’ monitoring work for free.

Braeriach is a 1,296m (4,252ft) peak in the Cairngorms.

Snow was scarce throughout the winter in Scotland between 2016 and 2017.

Ski-Scotland described it as a “challenging” season for their ski centres and there was the lowest number of recorded avalanches in almost 10 years.

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