If you live in the United Kingdom, then you are most probably aware of the extreme weather conditions the mountain side can harbour. Being someone who loves winter as much as I do and be willing to play around in the mountains during all my free hours. The most important thing is to take a look at the weather forecast to be prepared for what’s to come next for you.

The few things that need immediate focus while looking at the forecast are – Wind speed – Visibility – Precipitation – Temperature. Let’s take a closer look at how these factors can affect your time in the mountains.

Keep Track of the Wind Speed

I don’t know about others, but the forces of wind are what influence my plans the most. The winds on the summits of UK are about twice as strong than they are in the valleys. Make sure you a have a fixed cut off speed in your mind while reading the forecast. For me, it varies somewhere between 30-35 mph when I plan on going to a narrow ridge. However, I prefer 50- 55 mph as the maximum speed while on the summits. These can serve as good reference points if you are a novice and you can develop your tolerance in due time, it’s not like this is a constant value. According to the Beaufort scale, 32-38 mph is described as a Force 7 or Moderate Gale wind, in which whole trees seem in motion and high resistance is felt in walking. However, 55-63 mph suggests that a whole Gale worth Force 10 is in motion, that usually points towards structural damage on land. Whereas, at the same time, the speed in the valleys may be 20mph.

Ensure Visibility of Your Route

High altitudes clubbed with low temperature results in extreme fog that might affect your vision. In such cases, it is best to plan out your routes in such a way that matches your navigation skills and you are able to find your way easily. In case you are new to using a map and compass for navigation, then keep it on simple days when clouds are lower to the ground. However, the most striking of the factors that affect visibility is the sunlight and so it is advisable that you plan your route accordingly.

Check Precipitation Reports

It is obvious that I would carry waterproof clothing whenever I go hiking in the mountains, and I will suggest the same for any of those out there who are novices when it comes to hiking in the windy summits. The only reason for carrying and wearing waterproof gear is to avoid getting cold. Often, our trail routes include stream crossings or sometimes unwanted rains pour which can surely make you dripping wet in the harsh weather.
In case of heavy rains, try to avoid the summits altogether because the lightning and thunder won’t be great for your safety.

However, if the freezing level drops and starts snowing, then a winter kit is a must.

Do a Temperature Check

When I plan a day out in the mountains, I make sure to check the temperature in the summits before heading out. Doing so helps me be prepared with extra clothing and gear such as my winter kit, ice axe and crampons. As we climb higher, the altitude drops. However, one can expect the temperature to drop by 1 degree Celsius for every 100m height gained, or 1 degree for every 300 m of height gained. In fact, the windier it gets, the exposed skin will get colder still.

I hope my experiences and the information I have provided proves to be a bit helpful when you plan a trek or hike the next time in the mountains.