Mountaineering Scotland advice on returning to the hills

Advice to walkers and climbers for a safe and hassle-free trip

Mountaineering Scotland has welcomed the good news that the travel restrictions have been lifted from Friday the 16th of April, earlier than expected, and people heading for the hills are urged to make sure they are properly prepared and ready to be flexible in their plans.

CEO Stuart Younie said: “We are delighted with the unexpected news and particularly for those living in the cities and smaller local authority areas who have had limited access to the outdoors during this lockdown, as they can now get back to doing what they love. The last 12 months have demonstrated how important outdoor recreation is for our physical and mental wellbeing and as things start to ease it will play an important role in our economic recovery, particularly in rural areas.”

Popular destinations are expected to be very busy, meaning walkers and climbers travelling by car may have to set off early or consider going somewhere less busy.

Mountaineering Scotland also advises that to get the most out of their day, people should think carefully about the conditions they are likely to meet on the hill.

Snow still lies extensively on the higher hills, and fluctuating temperatures have meant much of it is likely to be very icy, and the consequences of a slip more likely to be serious. That caution is particularly relevant in the mornings on north or north-east-facing slopes.

Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor for Mountaineering Scotland said: “An ice axe and crampons to cope with any icy stretches really are still essential items of kit at this time of year.

“People should also be conscious that, with limited opportunity to climb in the hills over the last few months, they may have lost some hill-fitness and may well prefer to take on easier walks to begin with so they can ease themselves back into the swing of things.”

It is also important to act in a responsible manner while enjoying access to the hills, especially with the extra pressures due to higher visitor numbers.

“We’ve all been through a stressful few months,” Stuart added. “So we should be considerate of local residents and our fellow visitors, whether that’s by parking considerately, making sure we leave no litter or damage, or just in interacting with others.

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