Snow joke: The Sphinx has melted away in Cairngorms
The longest-lasting patch of snow in Scotland has melted away after 11 years.
Iain Cameron, who seeks out and records snow that survives on Scotland’s highest mountain, said the cover of snow at Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Cairngorms – known as ‘The Sphinx’ – disappeared at the weekend. The last time snow vanished from the spot – known by climbers and walkers as ‘Scotland’s glacier’ – was 2006.
Scientists say the patch has disappeared only six times in the last 300 years, previously melting in 1933, 1953, 1959, 1996, 2003 and 2006.
Stirling-based Mr Cameron revealed the snow on social media following a visit to the site at the weekend. He has also written an article about the vanishing snow on the mountain for The Great Outdoors magazine, published yesterday.
He states that mild and wet weather during the most recent winter was a major factor in reducing the snow melting away on Britain’s third highest peak.
In 2015, 73 patches of snow were found to have survived on Scotland’s hills from the previous winter – the most for 21 years.
Snow was a rare feature of the Scottish winter of 2016 into 2017, resulting in a ‘challenging season’ for the country’s outdoor ski resorts. Braeriach is a 1,296m (4,252ft) Munro in the Cairngorms.
Garbh Choire Mor is described as Scotland’s snowiest corrie because of the amount of snow it can hold even through summer months.
UKClimbing.com warns that it is a place to avoid in winter because of cornices – large overhanging ledges of snow that form above the corrie.
BY ALISTAIR MUNRO