Supt Gus MacPherson, Andy Rockall of Scottish Mountain Rescue and Heather Morning with a copy of the form at CairnGorm Mountain

Supt Gus MacPherson, Andy Rockall of Scottish Mountain Rescue and Heather Morning with a copy of the form at CairnGorm Mountain

Mountain experts have teamed up with police to encourage walkers heading for the hills north of the border to fill out an updated contact form before setting off.

Police in the Highlands and Islands said the details are important for rescuers to find stricken walkers and climbers.

The Going to the Hills form was previously only available to pick up in person, but a version has now been made available online.

Police Scotland said it takes only a few minutes to complete and could make a huge difference if outdoors enthusiasts find themselves in difficulty.

Superintendent Gus MacPherson of Police Scotland Highland and Islands division joined Jonathan Hart, chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue and Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor for the Mountaineering Council of Scotland at the CairnGorm Mountain resort to discuss the form and encourage its use.

Supt MacPherson said: “The contact form is not a new idea but as we approach the autumn and winter months it is the ideal time to encourage its use by all those who enjoy the outdoors.

“This information can provide an early alert if you or your party fall into difficulty and early notification can make all the difference to your safety especially during poor weather and low temperatures.”

Jonathan Hart said: “Scottish Mountain Rescue is a world class voluntary service.

“To deliver the best possible outcomes for those in distress in the Scottish mountains, our volunteer team leaders require early notification as well as accurate and reliable data relating to any mountain incident.

“By encouraging wider use of the Going to the Hills form we can ensure that accurate and detailed emergency contact details are available to Police Scotland who co-ordinate the response to these incidents.

“Early notification, along with accurate incident information means that the most appropriate assets are tasked to any mountain incident and that Scottish Mountain Rescue team leaders can ensure that those in distress in the Scottish mountains can be delivered safely and efficiently into definitive care, with the minimum of risk to team members.”

Heather Morning said: “I would encourage anyone, but particularly those who head out into the hills alone, to print off a few of these forms and complete one each time they head out.

“No one thinks that they will have problems in the hills, but sometimes the unexpected happens.

Taking a few minutes to complete a Going to the Hills form could prove to be the most important thing you have ever done.”

The form can be downloaded from the Police Scotland website. It can be left with a responsible person before heading out.

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