The hills are looking great and I was out on Friday enjoying a wild winter day in the Cairngorms and though it was a short day it was hard work at times. The 5 hours in the hills in the wind and snow takes it out of you and with the shortness of daylight you have to be away early to get the full benefit. The cliffs were looking great with a build up of snow long awaited and I knew that the hills would be busy this weekend. The climbers have been out on such remote cliffs like Ben A Bhuird where a team from North Wales after a 5 hour drive and a huge walk/cycle into the cliff climbed the Cumming Crofton Route an Alpine route on a remote face what a great effort at this time of year. Nearer home that man Andy Nisbet and pals have been new routing in the local Lurchers crag in the Cairngorms. I would imagine the Northern Corries were busy with the stick people ( ice climbers) So many were out enjoying the hills so its worth checking out the advice via the BBC I have added where I felt I could!
“It is in winter that the Scottish Mountains Excel No one who has seen the skyward thrust of a snow peak, girdled by its early morning cloud and flushed with the low sun, will dispute with me.Follow a long ridge of encrusted snow to its sunset tower and tread the summit at moonrise.
This is Scottish winter climbing!”
The BBC have produced a Aware Notice
“Walkers and climbers heading to Scotland’s mountains this winter have been urged to take simple precautions and use basic common sense.
Mountain rescue teams helped 608 people who got into difficulties in 2014, with 12 fatalities.
Safety experts have issued life-saving advice in a bid to avoid further tragedies.
The Scottish government said it will provide a total of £1.81m towards mountain safety this year. (I would like to see the breakdown of this cash?) The Scottish government funding includes a £312,000 annual grant for mountain rescue teams and £1,041,000 for the Sportscotland national outdoor training centre at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore.
(In this figure I would add the Avalanche Service costings, the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) and the Mountaineering Council Of Scotland ? ) Value for money I am sure that will be an interesting discussion?)
The tips for winter safety include:
- Check the weather forecast and avalanche information service
- Carry a compass and map and know how to use it. Don’t rely on GPS or smartphone
- Have an alternative plan in case weather conditions worsen
- Attend a winter mountaineering course (and learn to use the winter tools)
- Have all the appropriate equipment,(head torch) including ice axe and crampons
- Leave a note with details of your route and when you expect to return
- Read up about the risk of avalanche. I would advise everyone to do an Avalanche Course!
- Get away early it is winter
Mark Diggins, from Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service, said: “Many thousands of enthusiasts enjoy the Scottish mountains every winter.
“However, the fast changing weather, with its snowfall, avalanche hazard, strong winds and poor visibility, requires us to be much more prepared when going into the mountains in the winter.
“Good clothing, navigational ability, appropriate equipment, movement skills on steep terrain, and use of ice axe and crampons are a necessary requirement for our enjoyment and safety.”
Sport Minister Jamie Hepburn added: “Scotland’s wild places can be at their most beautiful during the winter months, and we want people to be able to enjoy them right through the year.
“There’s no doubt that the weather conditions make this more challenging, and while this challenge is part of the appeal for many, it must be treated with the utmost respect.
“Simple precautions and basic common sense can greatly reduce the risk of getting into trouble.”
The Scottish government funding includes a £312,000 annual grant for mountain rescue teams and £1,041,000 for the Sportscotland national outdoor training centre at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore. ”
Enjoy and be safe!