Conditions on the mountains can change quickly. Photo: John Grisdale

Conditions on the mountains can change quickly. Photo: John Grisdale

Mountain experts are warning hillgoers to be prepared so they don’t get caught out in the dark.

Rescue teams in Snowdonia face an increase in callouts as the end of British Summer Time heralds darkness enveloping the mountains earlier.

The MountainSafe Partnership issued five vital points as it expects an increase in visitors to the national park during this week’s school holidays, coinciding with the clocks going back.

Walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts are urged to follow the organisation’s advice when heading for the hills as the days shorten and weather turns cooler and wetter to avoid getting into trouble on the area’s peaks and high ground.

  1. Prepare well. Have the right equipment with you for the best and worst-case scenario. You’ll need a map and compass, torch, food and drink, whistle, first aid kit and a fully charged mobile phone
  2. Have the latest weather and ground information. Check the Met Office Mountain Weather forecast before you set out and be prepared to turn back if the weather worsens – the mountains will still be here for you to enjoy the next time you visit
  3. Dress appropriately. The weather and temperature can change dramatically between the foot of the mountain and the summit. You’ll need strong walking boots, several layers of clothing including warm ones, gloves, a hat and waterproof jacket and trousers
  4. Know where you’re going. Plan your route before setting off and ask for local advice. Have a map and compass and know how to use them and choose a route which is suitable for you and your group’s experience and fitness level. Find out how long it should take and when it gets dark
  5. Know your limits. While being very enjoyable, getting out into the mountains can be hard work – challenge yourself but be aware of the fitness levels, and experience of the group as a whole – not just your own.

Phil Benbow, a mountain rescue team member and chairman of the MountainSafe Partnership, said: “There is a significant increase in the number of calls to rescue teams when the clocks go back, due to people becoming caught out by the reduction in daylight hours.

“At this time of year it is important to carry a working torch, even if you plan to get back before dark, and don’t rely on your mobile phone and the rescue team to get you out of trouble.”

The MountainSafe Partnership consists of Snowdonia National Park Authority, North Wales Police, North Wales Mountain Rescue Association, Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre, British Mountaineering Council, Mountain Leader Training (Wales), Snowdonia Active, and the Met Office, with funding from the Welsh Government, via Sport Wales.

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