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Hillwalkers urged to be prepared ahead of mountain expeditions

Hillwalkers are being urged to take precautions before they set out to ensure they stay safe in the mountains this summer.

Police and partner agencies issued the advice after a spate of incidents in the past week.

A climber died after falling on Ben Nevis on Saturday while five search-and-rescue operations have been carried out on mountains in the Highlands since July 10.

No-one suffered serious injury in the incidents this week.

Walkers are being urged to plan their routes and make sure they leave details of where they expect to go and an expected return time.

They are also advised to make sure they are well-equipped for the environment with appropriate clothing and footwear, and carry navigational equipment and a means of communicating if they do get into difficulty.

Inspector Mike Middlehurst, of Police Scotland, said: “At this time of year, people rightly come to the Scottish hills and mountains in search of the excellent walking and climbing challenges available.

“We do not want to put anyone off making the most of these great experiences but we would ask that people take sensible precautions before heading out.

“This means that walkers and climbers can make the most of  Scotland’s natural landscape while it also means police and our partner agencies can help them if something adverse does happen.

“Attempts to help people in difficulty can be made more difficult if they haven’t left details of where they are going or if they are underprepared for the environment they are travelling into.”

Mountain experts warned that conditions can change quickly at higher levels and urged people to be prepared.

David Gibson, chief executive officer of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “It’s the middle of July and relatively mild at glen level, but a Scottish summer can bring frequent combinations of wind, cloud and rain at munro height.

“This can turn a pleasant summer walk into a strength-sapping, navigational challenge for even the most experienced hillwalker.”

Ian Sherrington, chief instructor at Scotland’s national outdoor training centre Glenmore Lodge, said: “The mountains are a special place at this time of year, but the scale and complexity of the terrain can become overwhelming and will quickly show up any lack of preparation, so choose your route based on the abilities of the whole group.”

–  THE HERALD

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