Walkers in winter in Scotland. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Walkers in winter in Scotland. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mountain experts in Scotland have launched a campaign to provide reliable information to outdoor enthusiasts heading for the hills.

Mountaineering Scotland said people can feel overloaded with advice, much of it potentially dangerous.

The organisation has joined representatives from training, mountain biking, mountain rescue and snowsport groups to publicise the #ThinkWINTER campaign for a fourth year.

A Mountaineering Scotland spokesperson said: “Although we live in the information age, it can sometimes feel like the information overload age, with an abundance of advice and tips available, some of which is contradictory and much of which is well meaning but may be inappropriate or simply wrong – and potentially dangerously so.

“To tackle the information tangle, Scotland’s leading mountain skills and safety organisations have joined forces for a fourth #ThinkWINTER campaign to direct people to the most relevant sources of advice on winter hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, and ski and snowboard touring in Scotland and make it available free of charge to all who require it.”

The joint venture between Mountaineering Scotland, Scottish Mountain Rescue, Glenmore Lodge, Mountain Training Scotland, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland and Snowsport Scotland, aims to cut through the confusion and provide a trusted and reliable source which everyone can access.

Throughout the winter season, information, advice and tips will be shared through social media posts using the hashtag #ThinkWINTER as well as on the organisations’ websites and through a series of talks and online events.

Stuart Younie, chief executive officer of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “Tackling the Scottish mountains in winter conditions can be a serious undertaking, and it requires careful planning as well as the additional skills and equipment beyond those needed for summer hill walking.

“With so much information now available online and on social media, we want to make sure people know how to access reliable and up to date information to help them keep safe and enjoy their winter adventures.

“We are delighted to be working together with a range of organisations, professional instructors, safety experts and mountain rescuers to ensure we are providing advice that is relevant, useful and, above all, trustworthy.”

Walking on the mountains in winter needs careful planning. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Walking on the mountains in winter needs careful planning. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Shaun Roberts, principal of Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre, said: “We’re all eager to make the most of this winter after such a difficult year and for many of us this will be our first winter days out in a very long time.

“We’ll all need to be honest with ourselves around skills fade and to take time to remember to dial in our winter mountain sense, be that on a pair of skis or on foot. Access the Scottish Avalanche Information Service forecasts and blog posts, build back up slowly and let’s make this a winter full of good memories.”

While the #ThinkWINTER campaign aims to provide information to help people be self-sufficient in the mountains and avoid the need for help from volunteer mountain rescue teams, the organisations involved also want to make sure people know how to call for help and what to do in the event that things do go wrong.

Damon Powell, chairman of Scottish Mountain Rescue, the umbrella organisation for most mountain rescue teams in Scotland, said: “Spending time in our mountains and wild places across Scotland has become more important than ever, whether you are new to the hills or an experienced mountaineer.

“If you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy Scotland’s mountains, when many would say they are at their finest, we would urge you to #ThinkWINTER and ensure you are suitably equipped, with the necessary skills, to enjoy our incredible outdoors safely and thereby support our volunteer teams who will assist you any hour, any day and any weather.

“And remember, if you are lost, injured and in need of assistance or in an emergency, dial 999 ask for police then mountain rescue.”

Graeme McLean, head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, said: “Mountain biking in Scotland is accessible all year round, with a choice of outstanding trail centres and so many natural rides spread across the country.

“We know that riding in the winter months brings an extra element to mountain biking safely, and we are keen to provide good advice and promote responsible messaging to help keep the mountain bike community safe through the winter months, wherever they choose to ride.

“We are delighted to again be part of the #THINKWINTER campaign to promote these important winter safety messages to all mountain bikers.”

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