Highlands & Islands

Hot weather warnings for hillwalkers and climbers

Loch Lomond Image copyright PA
Image caption Visitors to Scotland's hills have been urged to take care in the summer heat

Hillwalkers and climbers have been advised to take extra water with them on trips into Scotland's hills during a long spell of hot weather.

Mountaineering Scotland's safety adviser Heather Morning said she could not remember upland areas being so dry.

She said burns were very "low or non-existent" and lochans "disappearing at an alarming rate".

Visitors to the hills have also been urged to take extra precautions to reduce the risk of wildfire.

And while Ms Morning made no mention of the notorious biting Highland midge, creatures that prefer warm and wet conditions, the safety adviser said biting horse flies, or clegs, seemed to be "thriving".

She said: "I do not remember conditions underfoot so dry.

"Bogs are dry, peat is cracking, burns are very low or non-existent and small lochans are either dry or disappearing at an alarming rate. Vegetation on much of the higher ground is parched and lifeless."

Mountaineering Scotland said forecasts for the week ahead suggested that most areas of Scotland would get no rain for at least the next week, with the risk of fire a "very real issue".

'Not adequate'

Ms Morning said: "My advice if you are heading out in the next few days is to ditch some of the usual kit that you carry in your rucksack such as duvet jacket and waterproof trousers and swap them for an extra litre of water, sun hat and high factor sun cream.

"Hydration is a real issue and the normal one litre of fluid I carry is just not adequate. At the moment I'm carrying two litres, replenishing on the hill if at all possible and ensuring that I drink a lot of fluid both before and after my days out on the hill.

"Protecting yourself from the sun and ensuring you drink enough liquids is about more than your health - it also makes the difference between having a miserable time and enjoying a great day out in the mountains."

Grant Moir, of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said the weather had resulted in a heightened risk of wildfires.

He said: "A smouldering cigarette or one campfire ember can ignite in a gust of wind and even the smallest fire can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire hillsides.

"Livestock, wildlife and protected woodland can all be devastated by these fires. The message is quite simple - do not light a fire during long, dry spells of weather.

"We want people to enjoy the Cairngorms National Park but not at the expense of our wildlife and the important habitats that supports it."

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