Walkers and mountaineers should be aware that ideal conditions such as this can change suddenly

Walkers and mountaineers should be aware that ideal conditions such as this can change suddenly

There was a further warning today for walkers heading for the hills as the season turns.

Darker evenings are upon us and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s chief officer warned that the nation’s mountains can turn hostile at a moment’s notice. The council has reminded walkers and climbers to heed its safety advice.

The MCofS’s mountain safety adviser Heather Morning said: “Last year there were 387 mountain rescue callouts in the Scottish mountains, of which 142 were in the winter season.

“There was also sadly a total of 20 fatalities during the year, ten of which occurred during winter. Folk heading out on to the hills in winter should aim to take advantage of the advice and information on offer, to ensure a safe and enjoyable day on the hill.

“As well as making sure you have an ice axe, and crampons that fit, remember that winter days are shorter and colder, so a headtorch with spare batteries is essential. A simple bivouac shelter is also a very good addition to the kit you carry in your winter rucksack.”

The MCofS has a winter safety page with a wealth of advice. It has also arranged a series of free winter safety lectures.

Chris Townsend: essential advice

Chris Townsend: 'essential advice'

MCofS president Chris Townsend said: “The winter safety advice on the MCofS website contains absolutely essential advice and the winter lecture series is a great way of picking up lots of useful tips and life-saving advice.  I would urge all hillwalkers and climbers to visit the MCofS website and check out the winter safety pages.”

The council’s chief officer David Gibson said: “The MCofS puts a lot of its resources into winter mountain safety education, and for good reason. Scotland’s mountains in winter can be incredibly beautiful and rewarding, but they can also be extremely hostile when the conditions turn rough; which they can do at a moment’s notice.”

The MCofS helps fund the Mountain Weather Information Service. The sportscotland Avalanche Information Service has online forecasts from December. Both can be found via our links at the top of this page.

Buff, makers of the head eponymous headwear, have sponsored the winter lecture series.

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