Testing the snowpack for avalanche riskThe operation of Scotland’s avalanche forecast service should be reviewed, according to an MSP.

Testing the snowpack for avalanche risk

Mike Rumbles, who represents West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in the Scottish Parliament, said he had been contacted by several constituents, concerned that the service had ended despite there being large deposits of snow on the Highland mountains, and further snowfalls.

Mr Mumbles has written to sports minister Stewart Maxwell, asking for the Scottish Avalanche Information Service to be extended. He told the BBC: “It seems clear to me that there cannot simply be a cut-off date for the avalanche warning service. It must surely be dependent on the prevailing weather conditions.”

Earlier this month, grough reported how the service, funded by sportscotland, had come to an end for this season. Many climbers had expressed their concern that they were now unable to get avalanche forecasts for specific Highland areas.

But Tim Walker of Glenore Lodge, the national mountain centre near Aviemore, said it was not possible to keep the service going when there was no statistical evidence to justify it. The last recorded avalanche in Scotland in late April occurred in 1952, he said.

The Scottish Highlands have had their best winter for many years, with snowfall and conditions better than any season in the last decade, and climbers and winter mountaineers enjoying prolonged arctic conditions on the mountaintops. The CairnGorm ski centre said it expected skiing to continue possibly into early May.