'Common sense' warning to avoid mountain tragedies

Glencoe Image copyright SAIS Glencoe

Walkers and climbers heading to Scotland's mountains this winter have been urged to take simple precautions and use basic common sense.

Mountain rescue teams helped 608 people who got into difficulties in 2014, with 12 fatalities.

Safety experts have issued life-saving advice in a bid to avoid further tragedies.

The Scottish government said it will provide a total of £1.81m towards mountain safety this year.

The tips for winter safety include:

  • Check the weather forecast and avalanche information service
  • Carry a compass and map and know how to use it. Don't rely on GPS or smartphone
  • Have an alternative plan in case weather conditions worsen
  • Attend a winter mountaineering course
  • Have all the appropriate equipment, including ice axe and crampons
  • Leave a note with details of your route and when you expect to return
  • Read up about the risk of avalanche

Mark Diggins, from Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service, said: "Many thousands of enthusiasts enjoy the Scottish mountains every winter.

"However, the fast changing weather, with its snowfall, avalanche hazard, strong winds and poor visibility, requires us to be much more prepared when going into the mountains in the winter.

"Good clothing, navigational ability, appropriate equipment, movement skills on steep terrain, and use of ice axe and crampons are a necessary requirement for our enjoyment and safety."

Sport Minister Jamie Hepburn added: "Scotland's wild places can be at their most beautiful during the winter months, and we want people to be able to enjoy them right through the year.

"There's no doubt that the weather conditions make this more challenging, and while this challenge is part of the appeal for many, it must be treated with the utmost respect.

"Simple precautions and basic common sense can greatly reduce the risk of getting into trouble."

The Scottish government funding includes a £312,000 annual grant for mountain rescue teams and £1,041,000 for the Sportscotland national outdoor training centre at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore.

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