News Headlines     |     


Tuesday October 3, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The last remaining patch of snow in the UK has melted. It's the first time the island has been completely snowless in 11 years.



Known as the Sphinx, the snow at Garbh Choire Mor on Braeriach in the Cairngorms is historically the longest-lasting in Scotland's mountains.

It last melted in 2006 and this is only the seventh time it's done so in the last 300 years.

The records show that it melted in 1933, 1953, 1959, 1996, 2003 and 2006.

It was thought that it might have disappeared just over a week ago, as we reported at the time, but it hung on to life a little longer, finally melting away at the weekend after splitting into two.

The SphinxThe shrinking Sphinx with a large water bottle for scale - 2 October 2017
















Iain Cameron, who studies the snow patches, confirmed that the snow on Scotland's third highest mountain - which rises to 1,296 metres -  would all be gone by Sunday.

"And so that is that for 2017, folks," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

"Garbh Choire Mor's Sphinx was small enough to carry today. Scotland's last snow will be gone tomorrow."

Last remaining snow in UKSmall enough to carry - 30 September 2017 (photo Iain Cameron)















The SphinxInspecting The Sphinx - 2 October 2017 (photo Iain Cameron)















The Sphinx lasts longer than other snow in the Highlands because of its position.  It is largely protected from direct sunlight.

The only other patch of snow that had survived into September on Aonach Beag melted last week.

Scotland had a poor, mild winter with very little snow.

The snowsports body that represents all five of the outdoor ski resorts, Ski-Scotland, described the ski season as "challenging".

Several initiatives are being introduced to ensure snowsports can continue:

The mild, dry weather was a major factor in the death of the long-lasting snow patches.

In August, for the first time in 11 years, there was no snow on Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

Ben Nevis, ScotlandSnowless Ben Nevis, Scotland













See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

Related Articles

MORE SNOW IS FALLING (Tuesday March 20, 2018)
BEAST FROM THE EAST (Wednesday March 7, 2018)
SNOW-GO (Saturday March 3, 2018)
PLANETSKI SNOW REPORT (Saturday March 3, 2018)
IT SNOWS IN USA (Saturday March 3, 2018)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners