Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 12:21 UK

Villagers want brighter outlook

Old Packhorse Bridge, Carrbridge
Tourists are attracted to the area for its scenery and wildlife

A small Highland community has attacked the BBC over "inaccurate" weather forecasts, which it says is putting off tourists and threatening livelihoods.

Villagers claim Carrbridge, which is situated in the Cairngorms National Park near Aviemore and protected by mountains, has its own weather system.

They argue the BBC's localised weather service overlooks the area's micro-climate and instead defers to Aviemore.

The BBC said it was confident it was using the best source of forecast data.

Danny Fullerton, who runs the Landmark forest adventure park, raised the matter with the BBC.

"If you look at the five-day forecast, it can change every day - even on the day it can change ," he said.

"You'd be as well waiting to the actual day and sticking your head out the window."

Even today it's forecast as rain, and yes it's cloudy but there's been really beautiful spells
Andrew Kirk
Local businessman

It is not just the accuracy that residents are unhappy with, they also want to see a change in terminology.

Mr Fullerton said: "Quite often the terminology used is 'showers', which to me implies wet and rain, when in actual case it is 'mainly dry'.

"It may not seem much, but that can mean visitors decide to go elsewhere."

Mr Fullerton is backed by Carrbridge's business community.

Andrew Kirk, chairman of the local business association, who runs Cairns Hotel, described it as the BBC's "glass half empty" approach.

"It's infuriating," he said. "Even today it's forecast as rain, and yes it's cloudy but there's been really beautiful spells.

"Tourists are turning to the web more, using laptops and mobiles, and they're being put off by the weather forecast.

"Weather can be different between Carrbridge and Aviemore which is only seven miles away.

"There are different conditions in both places, yet the BBC gives the impression of giving a localised forecast, when it's actually referring to Aviemore weather."

Audience feedback

Residents said tourism was the lifeblood of Carrbridge - a village of about 250 homes.

People come for the scenery, wildlife, outdoor activities and the many festivals held throughout the year, including the annual competition to find the world's best porridge maker.

The BBC said in a statement: "Our aim at BBC Weather is to present the forecast as clearly as possible and to increase the speed and frequency with which we can update it.

"We are confident we are using the best source of forecast data, which we obtain from the Met Office.

"However, the nature of our climate is such there are times when the weather behaves in unpredictable ways.

"Our terminology aims to be as clear as possible and we constantly review it following our audience comments and feedback."

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