A tick

A tick

A mountain expert is urging outdoor enthusiasts to check for ticks after a camping trip left her with a number of unwanted guests.

Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland said the recent mild winter has led to an increase in the number of the nasty parasites.

Ticks attach themselves to the body after lurking in vegetated areas. Ms Morning said the small arthropods, related to spiders and scorpions, are particularly suited to mild damp climates and therefore thrive in the west coast mountain regions of Scotland.

As well as being a nuisance, ticks carry diseases, including Lyme disease which can be extremely serious if not diagnosed early, she said.

She said: “Last weekend we enjoyed a camping trip over in Moidart in the most stunning weather.

“Relaxing at the campsite after a day on the hill, we noticed several ticks on our feet and during the following week found several latched onto our bodies even though we had thoroughly checked ourselves when we got home.

“The dog didn’t escape either; we have been removing engorged ticks from her for several days now.”

Ms Morning recommends that hillwalkers are vigilant and take some simple precautions such as tucking trousers into socks or wearing gaiters when on the hill.

It’s also well worth taking a good look at yourself when you return home to spot the ticks before they latch on. From experience, they seem to appear even a few days later, she added.

If you find one attached to you, remove with a tick hook. If in doubt seek advice from your doctor.

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