Having spent heaps of time in the Scottish Highlands and more importantly around the Nevis area (encompassing not only Ben Nevis, but also Carn Mor Dearg and Aonach Mor), I’m partial to falling for a Scottish winter movie or two.
Aonach Mor holds arguably Scotland’s best ski resort and the winter climbing paradise of Nevis Range that gives enthusiastic climbers and skiers some of the most easily accessible winter climbing and backcountry skiing in the region.
“Snow is actually a high temperature material”
Nevis Range is also the home of ‘Dr Snow’ – Blair Fyffe. Blair runs the avalanche forecast for Lochaber and is the focus of the first instalment in the Nevis Landscape Partnerships 6 part series, Nevis Faces. The series aims to explore the faces behind those who live and work around the Nevis area.
Snow science is a technical matter. Each time snow falls on top of old snow, a bond is created between the new and old snow that is either weak or strong, depending on conditions. This requires constant evaluation throughout a winter season, to make sure weak layers are always noted and dangers within the snowpack are made aware of – this is where Blair and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) come in.
No matter how technical and complicated snow is, you can really tell how much Blair gets excited by snow science – he studied it for his PHD after all. The five minute film follows Blair as he goes about his day job of keeping winter mountain goers safe in the hills, which inherently carries its own risk.
Give the film a watch – it’s not edge of your seat excitement – but does go some way to show you the runnings of the man behind the SAIS which all winter mountain users have benefited from in one way or another. Next time you check out the avalanche forecast, give a thought to Blair and his enthusiasm behind snow.