Long-term temperature averages indicate that both annual and daily variations in temperatures are greater in the Cairngorms National Park than on the west coast. This reflects a more continental influence on the climate. Smaller temperature ranges reflecting ‘maritime’ influences are found at higher altitudes, but there are still more air frosts than on mountains in the west.
As in most mountain areas, frost pockets develop in valley bottoms in winter. Temperature inversion, with associated valley mist, is common, especially under anticyclonic conditions. Under these conditions, air humidity is reduced over the summits and the cold air is trapped in the valley bottom, bringing some of the lowest temperatures ever recorded in the UK at localities such as Braemar, Grantown and Glenmore Lodge.
Locally, as you rise in altitude, it normally gets colder (except in an inversion) by 1.5–2 °C for each 300 m of ascent.