Hillwalkers need to wise up before haring up the mountain. Photo: Lorne Gill/SNH

Hillwalkers need to wise up before haring up the mountain. Photo: Lorne Gill/SNH

Mountain experts are appealing to walkers to wise up before they go haring up the hills this spring.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said, just as the mountain hare is changing its coat and getting a spring in its step, hillwalkers are putting their minds to the ascent of the nation’s hills.

But it warned that, even as winter starts to recede, the Scottish mountains hold hazards for the unprepared.

The council, which represents hillwalkers, mountaineers and climbers north of the border, said it has plenty of information for people heading for the high ground.

It said: “The Mountaineering Council of Scotland is calling out to hillwalkers, especially those working their way through the munros and corbetts, with a springtime message to consider their skill levels and look at the information and other services offered by the MCofS ahead of the summer season.

“The fatalities of the winter season were a stark reminder of the uncompromising nature of Scotland’s rugged mountains. Even at the height of summer, mountains can be hazardous to those with insufficient experience.

“With this in mind, the MCofS is urging hillwalkers to use its website for a wide range of information that will help prepare them for the challenges to be found in the Scottish mountains.

“The MCofS believes that hillwalkers who become aware of and use the skills needed to improve self-reliance in the mountains are less likely to be involved in mountaineering incidents.

“Those who are better informed are also more likely to be aware of their access rights and associated responsibilities.”

MCofS chief officer David Gibson said: “If you are a hillwalker getting your boots and rucksack ready for the summer season, our message is that this is the right time to be thinking about your skill levels and consider how you can acquire any training you might need, before you head for the hills.”

MCofS mountain safety adviser Heather Morning added: “As well as running members-only skills courses, the MCofS also provides some very informative webpages that contain useful knowledge.

“I would urge every hillwalker to spend at least an hour reading through our mountain safety webpages. Doing so could save your life.”

Safety advice and other information can be found on the MCofS website.

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