Heather Morning of Mountaineering Scotland

Heather Morning of Mountaineering Scotland

Preparing for winter in the hills means more than just dusting off your crampons and ice-axe, experts have said.

As temperatures drop and the first dustings of snow cover some of the Scottish mountains, hillwalkers and climbers are being reminded to think ahead before heading out.

For many outdoor enthusiasts, the onset of winter is eagerly anticipated as the most rewarding season.

Heather Morning, mountain safety adviser with Mountaineering Scotland, said: “Folk heading out on to the hills in winter should take advantage of the advice and information on offer to ensure a safe and enjoyable day.

“As well as making sure you have an ice-axe, and crampons that fit, remember that winter days are shorter and colder, so a headtorch with spare batteries is essential.

“A simple bivouac shelter is also a very good addition to the kit you carry in your winter rucksack.”

Ms Morning said information on mountain weather can be obtained online from the Mountain Weather Information Service and the Met Office’s mountain pages.

The Scottish Avalanche Information Service also provides reports and forecasts on conditions in six Highland areas during the peak winter season, usually starting in December.

Kev Mitchell, vice-chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, said: “Mountain rescue in Scotland is provided free by world-class volunteers on call at all times and in all weathers.

“We fully endorse the Mountaineering Scotland winter safety message and would encourage hillgoers to ensure that they have left details of their intended route and expected return time.

“People should also be aware of and use the latest navigation and location technology such as GPS or OS Locate and other similar apps to avoid navigation errors.

“However, it is critical that a paper map and a compass are carried and that people know how to use them.

“If you require assistance on the hills, dial 999 ask for police then mountain rescue.”

Mountaineering Scotland is the representative organisation for hillwalkers, climbers and ski-tourers who live in Scotland or who enjoy Scotland’s mountains. It has more than 14,000 and is funded through a combination of membership subscriptions, non-governmental grants and investment from sportscotland, which supports public initiatives and services in mountain safety, mountain training and the development and promotion of mountaineering activities.

Mountaineering Scotland also offers advice via its website.

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