Scotland’s weather: Country ‘colder than Antarctica’

A Highland village has recorded a temperature colder than the South Pole and forecasters have warned of heavy snow, freezing fog and 50mph gales this week.

Deer me, it's freezing! A herd of deer pictured roaming amid snow-covered ground on Sunday. Picture: PA
Deer me, it's freezing! A herd of deer pictured roaming amid snow-covered ground on Sunday. Picture: PA

Dalwhinnie in Badenoch and Strathspey saw overnight temperatures on Saturday into Sunday fall to -8.7C, colder than Antarctica’s McMurdo research base.

The base is 800 miles from the South Pole and is the joint closest coastal station to the Pole. The US facility recorded a temperature of -6C.

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Antarctica, being a southern hemisphere continent, is currently enjoying its summer, though temperatures are still routinely well below zero.

The temperature recorded in the Highlands is the coldest so far this winter in Scotland.

However, forecasters expect that record to be broken this week as the Met Office issues a yellow severe weather warning for the Central Belt and the Highlands.

Traffic Scotland has warned motorists to beware of icy stretches of road on untreated routes and urged commuters to allow extra time for journeys in the wake of the Forth Road Bridge closure.

Scottish Borders Council urged drivers to take extra care due to the risk of snow and flooding caused by heavy rainfall, which could see roads become treacherously icy.

Parts of the Borders including Hawick were hit by severe flooding earlier this week, while snow fell in parts of Cumbria and northern England on Sunday morning.

A Met Office spokesman said: “Milder air currently across southern Britain is pushing slowly northwards, and the warm front at the leading edge of this milder air will bring outbreaks of rain to some parts.

“As this warm front meets the colder airmass currently over Scotland, associated rain is expected to turn to snow, especially on ground above 200m, and with this front stalling, a relatively prolonged spell of snow is expected for parts of Scotland covered by the yellow area in this warning.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman added: “As ever, we would urge people to take conditions into account when they are making travel plans or commuting, and to allow extra time for their journeys – especially in light of the current closure of the Forth Road Bridge.”

Advice was issued to walkers and climbers yesterday to help avoid tragedy on Scotland’s mountains this winter.

In 2014 mountain rescue teams helped 608 people who got into difficulties, with 12 fatalities.Safety experts said simple precautions, basic knowledge and appropriate equipment were the key to avoiding accident and injury in wild places.

Mark Diggins, from the Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service, said: “The fast-changing weather, with its snowfall, avalanche hazard, strong winds, and poor visibility requires us to be much more prepared when going into the mountains in the winter.”

The Scottish Government said it will provide £1.81 million towards mountain safety this year, including £312,000 annual grant funding for mountain rescue teams and £1,041,000 for the Sportscotland national outdoor training centre at Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore.

Sport minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Scotland’s wild places can be at their most beautiful during the winter months, and we want people to be able to enjoy them right through the year.

“There’s no doubt that the weather conditions make this more challenging, and while this challenge is part of the appeal for many, it must be treated with the utmost respect.

“Simple precautions and basic common sense can greatly reduce the risk of getting into trouble.”