Scotland’s weather: Snow forecast as gritters seen

OUTDOORS enthusiasts and holidaymakers heading out to enjoy Scotland’s landscapes would be wise to pack everything from sunscreen and midge repellent to wellies and waterproofs in one of the most dismal summers in living memory. But hats, scarves and gloves – in July?

A gritter was spotted out and about on the A90. Picture: Ian Georgeson
A gritter was spotted out and about on the A90. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The winter woollies alert comes as forecasters predict the country will be hit by unseasonably cold conditions, with the possibility of snow in some of the most scenic parts of the country.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, a gritter was also spotted yesterday on the A90.

It’s the second time this month snow has been forecast.

The latest extreme weather stands in stark contrast to the scorching start of the month, which saw thermometers shoot up to 30C in Inverness and the north-west Highlands.

But the Mountain Weather Information Service is now warning of showers, hail and plunging temperatures across most mountain areas until the weekend, with rain turning to snow on the highest peaks.

The coldest spells are expected in the Highlands today, with thermometers dipping below freezing in certain spots. Frost will form in some valleys and corries overnight.

There are many locations on Scottish mountains where winter snow fails to melt and regularly remains as late as August and September, with a few being almost permanent.

The longest surviving patches are usually found in the Cairngorm and Lochaber ranges, which are home to all Scotland’s peaks over 4,000 feet, including Ben Nevis.

However, it is unusual for fresh snow to fall at this time of year. Scotland’s main ski resort at Cairngorm Mountain has been able to remain open into June just once in more than 20 years, after unexpected heavy snowfalls in 2010.

Though it may be jumping the gun to advertise Scotland as a year-round ski destination, a gritter has been spotted by commuters in eastern Scotland.

Drivers on the A90 spotted the vehicle, though it was unclear whether it was spreading grit.

A photographer who snapped a picture of the truck captioned it: “On the A90 this morning. Yes, that’s a gritter and this is July.”

The latest cold spell comes just days after it emerged that this summer’s wild and stormy weather has put 2015 on track to be the windiest year for at least two decades.

Records show there have been only eight officially calm days this year. Fewer than 19 in total would make 2015 the windiest year since 1995 or earlier.

Meanwhile, this month could also turn out to be one of Scotland’s wettest Julys after 72 per cent of the expected monthly rain landed in the first 15 days. Some areas have had more than double the amount expected.

Perth has had 225 per cent more rain than usual, while Dundee has had 196 per cent.

Temperatures have also been autumnal, with some claiming June could be the coldest summer month in 40 years.

But Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Whether it’s stormy clouds over the mountains of Glencoe or blue skies over coral beaches in Skye, visitors are in awe of the breathtaking scenery and visit and re-visit in their droves for the landscapes, cities, culture and friendly people.”