Or­gan­i­sa­tions team up to of­fer safety mes­sage

The Oban Times - - News - KATIE CARABINE fort@oban­times.co.uk

MOUN­TAINEER­ING Scot­land and Scot­tish Moun­tain Res­cue have joined forces to of­fer spring safety ad­vice for hill walk­ers and moun­taineers.

The or­gan­i­sa­tions are work­ing to­gether to warn peo­ple head­ing out on the hills about the haz­ards that re­main, even af­ter the weather turns warmer.

With some peo­ple al­ready en­joy­ing an Easter break in the re­gion and oth­ers look­ing for­ward to it in the com­ing week, more peo­ple are getting ready to spend time in the moun­tains.

The milder than usual win­ter means that many paths are al­ready clear of snow and con­di­tions are gen­er­ally good.

How­ever, ex­perts are re­mind­ing peo­ple that win­tery spells are still pos­si­ble well into spring.

Icy snow, sud­den changes in weather, and gen­eral fit­ness can all lead to prob­lems for peo­ple in­tend­ing spend­ing time on the hills.

Moun­taineer­ing Scot­land’s moun­tain safety ad­viser, Heather Morn­ing, said: ‘ What snow is still about in the moun­tains can vary from be­ing quite sug­ary and easy to kick steps in, to be­ing hard and icy and an ab­soloute death trap if you don’t have cram­pons and an ice axe. And the same patch of snow can change in con­sis­tency as con­di­tions change through the day; a patch can be hard and icy in the morn­ing but softer in the af­ter­noon.’

She added: ‘ The weather can catch you out at this time of year too. A day that tempts peo­ple down to shorts and a T- shirt can very eas­ily change to bl­iz­zard con­di­tions. Sub­stan­tial falls of snow can hap­pen right up un­til May.’

In­for­ma­tion about moun­tain con­di­tions can be found on the Scot­tish Avalanche In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice blogs at www. sais. gov.uk.

Its avalanche fore­casts have ended for this win­ter, but the ser­vice will con­tinue to mon­i­tor weather and snow con­di­tions lead­ing up to and dur­ing the Easter hol­i­days.

Scot­tish Moun­tain Res­cue chair­man Kev Mitchell added: ‘A lot of peo­ple will have had a break over the win­ter and will now be ea­ger to get back into the moun­tains, but they should think about tak­ing it easy for the first cou­ple of trips, to get back into the swing of things and get fit­ness lev­els back up.

‘It’s great to see so many peo­ple so keen to get out into the moun­tains and en­joy them­selves – we’re just the same – but if you’re a be­gin­ner or have been away from it for a cou­ple of months, a lit­tle cau­tion al­ways pays div­i­dends.’

In the event of an ac­ci­dent, peo­ple should dial 999 and ask for po­lice and then moun­tain res­cue.

More in­for­ma­tion on what to do in an emer­gency can be found on the Moun­taineer­ing Scot­land web­site: https:// www. moun­taineer­ing. scot/ safety- and- ski l ls/ es­sen­tial- skills/moun­tain-res­cue/ call­ing-for-help.

A day that tempts peo­ple down to shorts and a t-shirt can very eas­ily change to bl­iz­zard con­di­tions, so walk­ers are be­ing warned to pre­pare if they plan to go out on the hills.

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