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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 16:40 GMT
Mountain forecast views are aired
There has been controversy over the service
Discussions have taken place in a bid to resolve a dispute over who should provide crucial weather forecasts for Scotland's mountain ranges.

A private forecaster from Galloway has developed a web service which is backed by mountaineers and walkers.

They called for Scottish Executive funding for the service, which the Met Office also wants to provide.

All the parties involved have met in Edinburgh to try to establish a way forward for the mountain forecasts.

Two more deaths in the Cairngorms last month underlined the critical importance of accurate mountain weather information.

Four years ago, in consultation with mountain users, independent forecaster and hillwalker Geoff Monk from Laurieston, Galloway, developed the free internet based Mountain Weather Information Service.

It is highly thought of by climbers and was recommended by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland for Scottish Executive funding, without which it is unlikely to be able to continue.

However, that funding was put on hold when the Met Office claimed it could provide a similar service from its pool of forecasters at Aberdeen weather centre.

The claim has been met with scepticism by some in the mountaineering community who doubt the forecasters have the necessary specialist knowledge.

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