Heather Morning goes Pokémon hunting in the Cairngorms

Heather Morning goes Pokémon hunting in the Cairngorms

A mountain expert has warned gamers to beware if they go hunting virtual creatures in the Scottish Highlands.

Heather Morning of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has been trying her hand at finding Pokémon Go characters on the Cairngorms peaks, but pleaded with gamers to stay safe while in the hills.

Ms Morning, the council’s mountain safety adviser, said, though there are undoubted health benefits from getting outdoors and active, players need to be aware of where they are and how to get home again.

The council said the craze for collecting virtual Pokémon characters via a phone app has delighted youngsters – and the young at heart – and mystified everyone else, as collectors track down the characters through the GPS feature in their phones.

Ms Morning said: “From a mountain safety perspective there are clearly a few issues here.

“It is not difficult to imagine a situation where a Pokémon Go gamer finds themselves lost and unable to find their way back to safety. It would be equally easy to see how someone could put themselves into danger focusing on their game rather than focusing on the ground in front of them.

“Another aspect of Pokémon Go is the game’s ability to eat your battery life. All the biggest battery-eating culprits are in action, and your screen is the biggest battery hog. On top of that, you will be using your camera, so that you can see the Pokémon in the real world.

“And to top it all off, the ever hungry GPS is a must to find the Pokémon in the first place. A classic combo for a dead phone very quickly.

“If your phone is your only tool for navigating your way out of wherever you have found yourself, then you are in for trouble.”

The safety adviser said the game is a good way of getting outdoors, as long as you keep your wellbeing in mind. “It’s a fun game, and it does encourage folk to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors with all the health benefits that brings.

“However, gamers need to be aware if they are playing in an area that they are not familiar with – particularly in the mountains – that they should very much stay ‘switched on’ to where they are and how to get themselves home safely.”

  • A Pokémon is being blamed for an incident on the UK’s highest mountain which led to rescuers having to retrieve one of their vehicles from a burn after it strayed from the track.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team mounted a technical rescue of their all-terrain rescue vehicle on Ben Nevis after it ended up in the water.

In a tongue-in-cheek explanation for the incident, the team said it was faced with a rescue on the mountain on Saturday in poor conditions. The Lochaber team had two callouts for charity walkers at the weekend, it said.

The mountain rescue all-terrain vehicle is retrieved from the mountain. Photo: Lochaber MRT

The mountain rescue all-terrain vehicle is retrieved from the mountain. Photo: Lochaber MRT

A spokesperson said: “Conditions were very wet and the casualty was at risk of hypothermia. [Inverness Coastguard helicopter] R951 came down to the Fort but unfortunately cloud levels kept his involvement to low levels.

“As the helicopter was restricted to what it could do we sent the Polaris ATVs up the Ben with a stretcher and equipment so that the guys walking up could get to the casualty faster.

“On the path across to the Halfway House John M, who was in the lead bike, said a Pokémon jumped out from behind a rock and on to the path in front of the ATV. John had to turn sharply to the right to avoid the Pokémon.

“He thinks he may have just clipped it as it hirpled up the left side of the Red Burn. He did not have his VR ball to catch it otherwise he would have brought it down. If you are on the Ben in next few weeks keep your eye open for an injured Pokémon – possibly its right leg – so it will be contouring clockwise round the Ben.

“As he swerved to avoid the Pokémon he ran out of path and the ATV set off down the steep slope and ended up in the Red Burn about 50m off the path. Luckily John managed to jump off just before it took off. The ATV stayed upright but hit a large boulder just before the burn and did a fair bit of damage to the front end.”

Team members ascended the mountain the following morning with a second all-terrain vehicle and a tracked vehicle to recover the machine, but they were diverted to rescue an injured walker on the mountain before resuming the mission to retrieve the vehicle.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Mountain expert urges hillgoers to plan for winter as temperatures drop
  2. Hypothermic Pokémon hunter rescued after Linacre Wood tumble
  3. Sign up for text 999 scheme, says mountain expert
  4. Mountain expert Heather Morning will deliver winter safety talks
  5. Mountain expert issues weekend avalanche warning