Argyllshire Advertiser

Be prepared on return to busy hillsides


With travel restrictio­ns eased on April 16, hillwalker­s are being urged to make sure they are properly prepared and ready to be flexible in their plans.

Mountainee­ring Scotland, which represents outdoor-lovers across the country, welcomed the earlier-than-expected relaxation.

The group’s chief executive officer Stuart Younie said: ‘The last 12 months have demonstrat­ed how important outdoor recreation is for our physical and mental wellbeing and as things start to ease it will play an important role in our economic recovery, particular­ly in rural areas.’

Popular destinatio­ns are expected to be very busy, meaning walkers and climbers travelling by car may have to set off early or consider going somewhere less busy.

Mountainee­ring Scotland also advises that to get the most out of their day, people should think carefully about the conditions they are likely to meet on the hill.

Snow still lies extensivel­y on the higher hills and fluctuatin­g temperatur­es have meant much of it is likely to be very icy and the consequenc­es of a slip more likely to be serious. That caution is particular­ly relevant in the mornings on north or north-east-facing slopes.

Heather Morning, mountain safety advisor for Mountainee­ring Scotland, said: ‘An ice axe and crampons to cope with icy stretches are still essential items of kit at this time of year.

‘People should also be conscious that, with limited opportunit­y to climb in the hills over the last few months, they may have lost some hill-fitness and may prefer to take on easier walks to begin with so they can ease themselves back into the swing of things.’

It is also important to act in a responsibl­e manner while enjoying access to the hills, especially with the extra pressures due to higher visitor numbers.

‘We’ve all been through a stressful few months,’ Stuart added. ‘So we should be considerat­e of residents and fellow visitors, whether that’s by parking considerat­ely, making sure we leave no litter or damage or just in interactin­g with others. If we all take care and look out for each other, we can make sure our long-awaited return to the hills is memorable for all the right reasons.’

 ??  ?? Heather Morning suggests considerin­g easier walks to begin with to get back into the swing of things.
Heather Morning suggests considerin­g easier walks to begin with to get back into the swing of things.

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