Don't forget to pack a torch; in fact, take two. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Don't forget to pack a torch; in fact, take two. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A ‘midnight mountaineer’ has offered tips to hillgoers heading for the hills to take advantage of the short midsummer nights.

Alan Rowan has teamed up with Mountaineering Scotland to give advice to those who fancy a night-time ascent of Scotland’s peaks.

Mountaineering Scotland said: “At a time when most are heading home after a day in the hills, some walkers can be seen getting out of their cars and heading upwards into the summer twilight, only to return in the morning, tired but happy after a sleepless night on the tops.

“Indeed, there’s a tradition amongst many hillwalkers of climbing a hill with a view through the night just to catch the glories of a midsummer sunrise.

“Some will take time off midweek, while others settle for the weekend before or after, but the spectacle can be a marvellous one whichever date is chosen – assuming Scotland’s notoriously fickle weather plays ball.”

Mr Rowan offered five tips to walkers who want to take advantage of the short midsummer nights in Scotland.

  • Around midsummer, twilight levels can last for most of the night. Pick warm, settled, clear weather to take advantage of this. Avoid nights of low cloud, wind or rain. Apart from safety issues, this is meant to be fun
  • Dress well. It may be midsummer, the days may be hot, but on a cloudless night in the mountains the temperature can drop considerably, so make sure you have plenty of warm clothes – and waterproofs
  • Don’t go alone. There is safety in numbers as well as comfort – the quiet stillness, interspersed with the sounds of night on a mountain, increase the feeling of solitude and can be unnerving at first
  • It may seem obvious but even at midsummer there will be a couple of hours when you really need some extra illumination. So take a torch. In fact take two, so that you have a spare in an emergency
  • Stick to the path. You might see what looks like a shortcut, but even well-made paths can be hard to find again in the dark once you’ve stepped off them.

More information on night-time hillwalking can be found on the Mountaineering Scotland website.

You can read more about the midnight mountaineer on Alan Rowan’s website.

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