A senior police officer said today anyone going ill equipped on to the Scottish hills is playing with people’s lives.
Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater of Central Scotland Police urged walkers and climbers to be prepared for all weather after a man was caught in a whiteout for 10 hours on a Perthshire Mountain.
The man was rescued calling for help after being caught in blizzard conditions on the summit of the 879m (2,884ft) corbett Ben Ledi, near Callander.
Ch Insp Findlater said: “To go up the hills at this time of the year and not to be properly equipped or prepared for extreme conditions is inexcusable. It is playing with people’s lives and this should not be taken lightly.”
The officer said the walker was a regular on Ben Ledi, but had not taken account of the weather conditions.
“This man had climbed this hill numerous times and decided to travel light,” Ch Insp Findlater said. “When he reached the summit he was stuck in whiteout conditions and managed to text his wife for help. He had no map or compass, no extra clothing and no food.”
Police called out Killin Mountain Rescue Team and a search was mounted for the walker.
Ch Insp Findlater said: “The conditions towards the upper slopes were treacherous and team members found themselves waist deep in snow.
“Contact was made with the made with the man, who had dug a snow hole to shelter, regularly by phone and text.
“It took the mountain rescue team five hours to reach the man as conditions were poor. The man was warmed up and walked off the hill with help from the team. He was finally down off the hill 10 hours after the alarm was raised.”
He added: “This man had been complacent and took little notice of the approaching conditions.
“Anyone who climbs the hills should always be prepared and pay close attention to the weather forecasts and the weather conditions. The weather at the bottom can be very different to the conditions at the summit.
“It is irrelevant whether you have climbed the hill numerous times or once. You still need to be properly equipped and you still need to pay close attention to changing weather conditions.
“It is just fortunate that this man was found safe and well. However he has put his own life at risk and that of other people who were out looking for him.”