All those heading for Scotland's winter mountains should check out the avalanche reports. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

All those heading for Scotland's winter mountains should check out the avalanche reports. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A vital winter service for hillgoers in Scotland resumes on Friday.

Reports for six mountain areas will begin on the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, providing forecasts for mountaineers, hillwalkers, climbers and skiers.

The reports are produced on a daily basis after the service’s observers have been out on the mountains, travelling either by ski or on foot. These experts make note of snow profiles and other observations, and combine these with mountain weather forecasts to produce a report for each area.

SAIS said: “Forecasters undergo a verification process on a regular basis, to meet the relevant SAIS observer and forecaster standards and carry out annual continual professional development.

“Additionally, forecasters are experienced and committed climbers, skiers and outdoor enthusiasts who are required to be competent in all the skills necessary for safe travel in the most challenging of winter conditions.

“The team comprise IFMGA mountain guides, instructors and avalanche experts from many countries. Their experience and professionalism is integral to providing a good avalanche forecasting service and safe operational practice.”

The six areas covered by the service are: Glen Coe, Lochaber, Creag Meagaidh, the northern Cairngorms, southern Cairngorms and Torridon.

Last winter, three people were killed in Scottish avalanches, and there were two other fatalities in the mountains that might have been the result of avalanche activity.

There were 205 instances of avalanches recorded by SAIS in the 2015-16 season, of which 46 were triggered by people, 31 involving those on foot and 12 set off by skiers or snowboarders.

The peak occurrences were during a 10-day period in February when 21 human-triggered avalanches happened, including the three fatalities. Worst affected areas were Lochaber and Creag Meagaidh, which both encountered periods of high risk, the most severe classification encountered in Scotland.

The reports for this winter can be found on the Scottish Avalanche Information Service website.

Although the service only covers the Scottish Highlands, avalanches can occur in England and Wales too and two have already been reported during the November snows on Skiddaw.

Mountain weather forecasts can be found via the grough links page.

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