Forecasters are warning of the possibility of widespread disruption as the first heavy snowfall of the season arrives this weekend.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning as blizzards and strong winds are expected to sweep the region over Saturday and Sunday.
North Scotland is expected to bear the brunt of this, with meteorologists anticipating four to eight inches of snow lying on lower ground, and as much as 16ins settling on the hills.
And while scores of gritters – with names including Sprinkles, Sir Grits-A-Lot and Plougher O’Scotland – will be out in force across the country, motorists are being told to check the latest advice before they commit to travelling anywhere.
— Met Office (@metoffice) December 13, 2018
There is also a risk of trains, ferries and flights being cancelled, and Loganair is offering passengers the chance to rebook for a later date to prevent disappointment if their journeys are called off at short notice.
Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: “At the moment, the heaviest snow is expected over higher ground in Scotland with the chance of drifting snow due to strong winds.
“Snow is also expected to settle at lower levels in Scotland and parts of northern England, with the risk of freezing rain and ice on Saturday night.”
20 gritters out tonight in the North East! We'll have #PlougherOScotland out working hard on the #A90 – keep track of where all the trunk road gritters across Scotland are through the @trafficscotland gritter map here: https://t.co/P7ssN62SjH #GritterTwitter #WinterInfo pic.twitter.com/lomjgaeVWA
— BEAR NE Trunk Roads (@NETrunkRoads) December 13, 2018
Stein Connelly, from Transport Scotland, said: “This weather has potential to cause travel disruption, particularly over higher routes.
“As always we encourage motorists to plan their routes ahead of time, leave plenty of time for your journey, follow Police Scotland travel advice and drive to the conditions.”
Anyone with a Loganair flight to or from Inverness, Edinburgh or Glasgow this weekend is being given the chance to rebook on an alternative flight between now and next Sunday.
A yellow warning for #snow & #ice issued from 12 noon on Saturday until 10am Sunday. Please #BeAware & drive to conditions if heading out this weekend! Our teams will be working hard & our control room will be monitoring the network. For more info visit: https://t.co/1nbLWxNnRU pic.twitter.com/Bw8JZetogu
— BEAR NW Trunk Roads (@NWTrunkRoads) December 13, 2018
An airline spokesman said: “There will be no change fee or difference in fare payable – if there is a seat available on an earlier or later flight, customers can transfer a booking to that flight without charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Customers choosing to remain with their original travel plans should rest assured that Loganair will do everything that it safely can to fly to passenger’s intended destination as close to the scheduled time as possible.”
Weather Disruption–Travel for Sat 15th & Sun 16th Dec
In view of the forecast & potential for travel disruption, we are offering customers travelling on flights to & from Edinburgh, Glasgow & Inverness the opportunity to adjust travel without charge. https://t.co/tz6cqotmsv pic.twitter.com/BxeRSPFo8p
— Loganair (@FlyLoganair) December 13, 2018
He added: “It is continuing to plan to fly all its scheduled services and has standby aircraft and crews in place to help recover any disrupted services as soon as reasonably possible once weather conditions permit.”