Highlands & Islands

Hillwalkers urged to leave details of routes

Coastguard helicopter Image copyright Braemar MRT
Image caption The Coastguard has asked that people check weather forecasts before heading into the hills

Mountain rescue teams are being "increasingly challenged" by searches for people who leave little or no information of their routes.

Hillwalkers are encouraged to leave such details with family, friends or another contact in case they get into difficulty on a walk or climb.

But rescue teams and police said they have been involved in searches where this has not happened.

In a joint message, they have asked people to enjoy the hills safely.

Supt Colin Gough, of Police Scotland, said: "We do not want to put anybody off these great outdoor experiences.

"We are all, however, increasingly challenged by searches for people who have left minimal or no information regarding their intentions.

"We know that not everyone will want to leave a written route card, but we are asking the hill-going public, and even those on lower level rambles, to make sure that somebody knows where they are going, so that we have a better idea where to look for them if they are overdue."

Image copyright Braemar MRT
Image caption Rescue teams said details left with family or friends can greatly aid rescue efforts

Scottish Mountain Rescue, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Police Scotland and Mountaineering Scotland have issued the joint statement following what they described as a "spate of mountain rescues".

Damien Oliver, assistant director for aviation for the MCA said: "In the last few weeks there have been a number of helicopter rescues carried out in the Scottish mountains in response to people who have become injured, lost and at risk of exposure.

"The UK Coastguard helicopters are equipped to fly in the most hostile of conditions in support of the invaluable work of Scotland's volunteer mountain rescue experts.

"So it's vital that we get the message out to everyone who's planning to go into the mountains to please check the weather conditions for your area before you go and make sure you're well equipped.

"Tell someone your planned route and what time you will be expected back. If you do get into trouble call 999 immediately and ask for the police."

Mountaineering Scotland said it has guidance for walkers on its website.

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