The winter is back and what a change from my journey from the deep South and it was an interesting journey home up the windy and snowy A9. Today I have a trip to Aberdeen to take Robyn home and then I am free to get out on the hills. How I like many have missed them since being away.
Many will be like me champing at the bit to get out it is essential to look at the weather forecast and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) www.sais.gov.uk/ and plan ahead.
The planning starts days before your trip, watch the weather, read the Avalanche forecasts and Blogs get a picture of what is happening. On your journey use your eyes and see what is happening see if a lot of snow is fallen and through experience pick out the danger signs. Big winds move the snow and this can cause changeable conditions.
The SAIS publish daily reports of observed and forecast, avalanche, snow, and mountain conditions for the 6 most popular mountain areas of Scotland. The North West has a new full – time forecast and is essential reading and worth looking at the days prior to your visit to the hills. There is so much advice on this website and the daily forecasts and Blogs are great reading.
Terrain traps. These are locations in the hills and mountains where the consequences of even a small avalanche can be amplified by the terrain a victim may be carried into. Narrow gullies and valleys, boulder fields, small buttresses and cliffs are places that limit your survival chances greatly if you are carried into or over them. Likewise when travelling above buttresses or boulder fields or through narrow valleys and below small banks be aware of the consequences of avalanches occurring from above, whether natural or triggered by human activity.
It is well worth learning about the winter by going on some winter training and this will include Avalanche Awareness a must for safe winter travel. We spend the money on new jackets and gear but so little on improving our skills that may save our life? There are specific Avalanche Awareness courses and the will give you great insight into the world of the winter snows. Worth looking at, it may save your life.