Warning of avalanches following heavy snowfalls

Published
image copyrightDave Wright/Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team
image captionAvalanche debris on Turnhouse in the Pentland Hills.

Heavy snowfall has heightened the potential risk of avalanches in Scotland's hills.

Warnings include the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, where the hazard is less common.

An avalanche on Turnhouse on Thursday was believed to be the first in the Pentland Hills in about 10 years.

Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team said people who visit the hills to walk, ski or snowboard should be aware of the potential hazard.

While there are strict limits on travel due to the Covid pandemic, the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) is continuing to assess conditions in six mountain areas - Glen Coe, Lochaber, Creag Meagaidh, Torridon and Northern and Southern Cairngorms.

The potential hazard in the areas has been rated as "considerable", meaning "very large" avalanches are possible.

SAIS has recorded more than 30 avalanches so far in its latest season, which started in mid-December.

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Mountaineering Scotland, whose members include walkers and climbers, and Scotland's national outdoor training centre, Glenmore Lodge, have urged people to heed the avalanche warnings.

image copyrightSAIS Southern Cairngorms
image captionScotland's avalanche information service is continuing its work through lockdown

Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team said the "full depth" avalanche on Turnhouse had enough snow to knock a person off their feet, or even bury them.

Team leader Dave Wright, who photographed the snow slide from Penicuik, said avalanches in the Pentland Hills were unusual and walkers, skiers and snowboarders might not appreciate the potential risk.

He said there had been heavy snowfalls in the hills this week and the avalanche occurred at some point on Thursday afternoon.

The Met Office has issued yellow "be aware" warnings for further snow and ice for Friday and Saturday.