Anyone heading out into the hills this season is being advised to:
- Check the weather forecast before you set off and remember that conditions can change quickly. Localised forecasts are available on the Mountain Weather Information Service (www.mwis.org.uk) and the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (www.sais.gov.uk/latest-forecasts.asp).
- Make sure you know your limits and don’t tackle anything too ambitious. Winter in the mountains can be challenging and a route that at any other time of year is easy, can take longer and be more physically demanding.
- Whether going for a relaxing walk or for a challenging climb, be properly equipped and ready to cope with changing ground and weather conditions.
- Consider joining a hillwalking or mountaineering club where advice and access to experience and knowledge is available.
- Take a map and compass and know how to use them. Do not rely solely on technology such as GPS or an electronic compass.
- Winter conditions can be serious so if you’re going high carry an ice axe and crampons, know how to use them and practise on less serious terrain.
- Tell someone where you are going, what your route is and how long you expect to be on the hill.
The sporstland Avalanche Information Service gives winter hill-goers daily forecasts at five key locations in Scotland. The service runs from December to April. The Mountain Weather Information Service produces forecasts for eight mountain areas.
Wherever you are walking in Scotland this winter. Enjoy it but please take care.
I have been caught out by snow while camping in the mountains behind Achiltibuie in September…