From snow storms to sunshine, CairnGorm at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park is an incredible place for meteorology enthusiasts to visit.
Thanks to its elevated position and extreme weather it’s said to be possible to see all four seasons in one day as you gaze across Aviemore and far over the Scottish Highlands.
The climate of Scotland has a tendency to be changeable but at CairnGorm Mountain it can be extreme. The Gulf Stream in the Atlantic tends to keep Scotland much warmer than similarly northern countries such as Canada and Scandinavia. However, it still occupies the coolest part of the UK and temperatures have reached as low as -27 Celsius in areas of the Highlands. The mountain massif of the Cairngorms is one of the most extreme weather locations in the British Isles, the weather station at the summit of Cairn Gorm has recorded wind speeds in excess of 170mph – the strongest gust ever recorded in the UK.
The Cairngorms are the snowiest part of Britain. You can visit snow patches at CairnGorm on 200 days per year, on average, and sometimes they last right through to the next winter. The climate here is not as wet as the west coast and attracts the smallest number of thunderstorms in the country. However, rainbows are quite a feature of this high site.
It is the clear air and visibility from the top that is breathtakingly clear, giving a panorama taking in mountain nearly 100 miles distant.
With little or no light pollution these varied conditions make CairnGorm Mountain an incredible vantage point to witness some dramatic weather scenes and night skies. It’s not uncommon to be weather watching on the mountain and see right across the west of Scotland gazing at the weather that’s approaching. The old adage that says “If you don't like the weather here, wait five minutes” holds true for your visit to CairnGorm Mountain. The weather watching terrace at the top will take your breath away – either with the views on offer on the day or the weather that will quickly chase you back indoors for the comfort and shelter of the Ptarmigan Restaurant.