Protecting the Peaks Together

November 2017

Ben Nevis weather station

For the first time in 113 years Ben Nevis has a weather station. The station is part of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science’s (NCAS) “Operation Weather Rescue”. This recent citizen science project aimed to digitise all the raw weather observations from the observatory which once stood on the summit of Ben Nevis. Between the 1883-1904 weather data was collected every hour of every day resulting in endless spread sheets of figures.

In the summer of 1881, Clement Lindley Wragge climbed the mountain daily to make initial observations, leading to the opening on 17 October 1883 of a permanent observatory. The building was manned full-time until 1904, when it was closed due to inadequate government funding. The twenty years of readings still provide the most comprehensive set of data on mountain weather in Great Britain.

The Ben Nevis weather observatory.

With the present day weather station it will be possible to compare the data from over 100 years ago. The old information is still useful because it can shed light on past storms in the Scottish Highlands as well as providing ongoing insights into how weather systems evolve as they pass over Scotland’s largest mountains.

It is planned that the weather station will be removed in December and the results will be presented in the UKCP18 report which will detail projections of how the UK climate could change. Although temporary, NCAS hope to secure long term funding to place a permanent weather station on the summit of Ben Nevis.


The temporary weather station currently on Ben Nevis.

Would you like to see a permanent weather station on Ben Nevis? Comment with your views below.