THE moment a rare “snownado” touched down on a Scottish mountain has been captured in a dramatic video.
The “beautiful but scary” snow devil can be seen whirling snow and ice in a circle at least 100ft high near the car park on Cairngorm, near Aviemore.
Lynn Godfrey was on holiday in Aviemore for the annual dog sled rally when she filmed the unusual weather phenomenon on January 30.
Skiers and walkers are dwarfed by the spiralling pillar of snow, which disappears as quickly as it appeared.
The phenomenon – which is also known as a willy-willy – typically forms when a cold air mass passes over a warmer surface, heated by sunlight.
Wind shear then causes the rising air to spin.
Lynn, from Newmains, North Lanarkshire, described the sight as “beautiful but scary”.
The 49 year-old said: “We were in Aviemore on holiday, we came for the dog sled rally and stayed an extra week for the walking.
“We have two Malamutes, a Malamute/German Shepard and a Labrador with us so we walk constantly.
“It was so windy, our van was almost blown over.
“I’ve never seen anything so beautiful but so scary before.”
Met Office meteorologist Emma Sharples explained that the snow-devil formation can be caused by a variety of factors.
She said: “It’s fairly rare to see the formation on snow. It’s probably captured on camera less because there’s not as many people up in the mountains, but they unusually form in deserts or semi-arid ground, not normally on snow.”
According to the Met Office, the air temperature at the car park was around 3 degrees C with the wind speed in nearby Aviemore blowing at around 8mph (5 knots).