There’s a reason the British are obsessed with the weather: namely because it’s so unpredictable. And in a mountain environment, the weather patterns are even more changeable and localised. On one side of Snowdon the weather can be beautiful, while in the next valley it can be cloudy, wet and several degrees colder. So for hillwalking purposes, a general TV forecast is just too general. You don’t have to be a meteorologist to stay safe in the mountains, of course, but it pays to be aware of the more essential weather services. Here are the ones we use all the time.
Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS)
Number one on our list for hillwalkers is the indispensable MWIS forecast. A dedicated team of forecasters produce a three-day forecast for nine mountain areas across the UK including the Lake District, Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and a joint forecast for the Peak District & Yorkshire Dales. It also gives a chance in percentage terms for cloud free summits. The forecast gets updated at least once daily.
Met Office mountain weather forecast
As well as MWIS, we always look at the Met Office’s mountain weather forecast. It highlights seven areas across Britain, including all of those mentioned above. It is easy to read and focuses on weather hazards, as well as hill fog and wind. The site also has some useful articles and tips on the outdoors.
This impressive website has forecasts focussing on specific mountains around the world, an interesting proposition. It offers an in-depth forecast of everything you’ll need, plus a weather model that allows it to forecast the climate at different elevations. It’s advanced, although beginners will still glean useful information from it.
Of course, we’re not all in mountainous areas. This nationwide forecast also includes a weather outlook for coastal areas and other points across Britain. It fits in an impressive amount of detail, including wind, temperature, weather, visibility and pressure conditions for every couple of hours.