Good news for lovers of mountains who rely on more than just a pine cone and seaweed for their weather forecasting.
grough’s preferred meteorologists, the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) has secured funding from the Scottish Executive. Geoff Monk Associates, which has run the forecasting website on a shoestring since 2004, will get £36,000 a year for the next three years.
Winter walking on Aonach Mor: a good weather forecast is essential
In November last year, we reported that the Galloway team of forecasters, which provides mountain-specific weather reports for five areas of Scotland, as well as two in England and Snowdonia in Wales, was in jeopardy because of a lack of money.
Now Scottish sport minister Stewart Maxwell has announced that sportscotland will provide the Geoff Monk team with funding for the next three years. Mr Maxwell said: “Thousands of climbers already rely on the Mountain Weather Information Service for accurate information about conditions on Scotland's mountains.
“It is therefore absolutely vital we have a reliable mountain weather service to reassure walkers they have the best information at their fingertips.
“That's why I'm announcing that this service will be fully funded by the Scottish government, through sportscotland, for the first time from this winter season.
“I want to applaud Geoff Monk and his colleagues for their selfless work to date in helping to ensure the safety of all those who make use of our wonderful natural environment.”
A spokesman for MWIS said: “[We] would like to thank everyone who has so vocally supported us in our bid to obtain funding to allow us to continue and develop our service. Thanks to you, funding has now been approved and our future secured!”
Roger Wild, mountain safety adviser for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “This will be the first publicly funded, comprehensive mountain weather forecast service for outdoor users in Scotland and it will be a major resource in promoting the safety and enjoyment of all who go into the outdoors.”
grough says of MWIS (see our Links menu to the left) that it is: “The site of choice for leaders taking groups into the mountains and moorland of Britain. Eight regions, with the emphasis on Scotland. We can’t help thinking that, if it was down to the Westminster government, the forecast service would have been left to wither on the vine.
So put your barometer away and log on to Geoff and the team’s website before you pull on your boots.