Take extra care and plan ahead before heading to the hills and mountains
Police Scotland is appealing to hill users and mountaineers to plan ahead and take extra care in the coming weeks.
Mountain Rescue Teams across Scotland have been experiencing a recent increase in callouts and six people have tragically lost their lives over the last two weeks.
Last night Mountain Rescue Teams dealt with an incident on Ben Nevis when police were made aware of a number of people in difficulty. One man, aged 28 was pronounced dead at the scene and 23 people were assisted off the mountain. Two men, aged 29 and 37 were treated in hospital.
A search for Nick Gillingham, last seen near the summit of Stob Coire Nam Beith, Glencoe, has been stood down today due to weather conditions. It will resume once it is safe for mountain rescue teams to do so.
Inspector Matt Smith, Police Scotland Mountain Rescue coordinator said, “The onset of spring has brought some more settled weather patterns and a welcome increase in daylight hours. We would urge those seeking to venture into the outdoors to take extra care. Challenging winter conditions still prevail in the hills with large areas totally covered in snow and ice.
“Often these areas are completely unavoidable and snow may be rock hard with a high likelihood of a fall unless crampons and an ice axe are carried and most importantly, the group has a knowledge in how and when to use them. A slip in these situations may have very serious or fatal consequences.
“As with all outdoor activities, planning is key and a number of key partners produce resources and guidance to help keep you safe including the current #thinkWINTER campaign backed by Scottish Mountain Rescue and Mountaineering Scotland.
“It is vitally important to understand the risks of your activity, the experience of your group, the prevailing weather conditions during, and at your intended destination and that suitable equipment is carried to allow you to navigate safely over steep or icy terrain. Make a plan, don’t be afraid to adapt and make sure you think about what to do if things go wrong. The photo you’ve seen on social media is not always a true reflection of what you may find when you get there.
“The volunteer Mountain Rescue Teams across Scotland are an amazing network of dedicated and highly skilled people who will do everything they can to assist you if you find yourself in difficulty but responsibility for staying safe on the mountains rest with us all and involves good planning, sound decision making and the ability to carry and use the correct equipment. By all mean enjoy Scotland’s spectacular scenery but do so safely.”
If you do need emergency help on the mountains, dial 999, ask for the police and then for Mountain Rescue.