The Cairngorms are busy just now the winds and cold temperatures are keeping the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team busy. It was great to see the couple that were rescued on the news last night looking well and thanking all those involved for their assistance. Yesterday there was also the story of a solo walker out at Ben MacDui in the Cairngorms who was struggling with the conditions and was carried/ walked off the plateau by two walkers. That must have taken some effort and the Rescue helicopter and the Cairngorm Team were called out. Another tale in a busy weekend for the Rescue services but it was great that the two walkers did so much and the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team Leader rightly called them heroes. In these days of so much bad news in the world, of killings and sadness.
It is great to see that there are so many good people about who will help their fellow man or women in trouble. It would have been a hard journey across the plateau yesterday but I would imagine the couple involved will be feeling good for their assistance to that hypothermic and exhausted walker. These hills in winter are not winter walking but winter mountaineering and must be treated as such.
Navigation and the proper gear is essential in these winter conditions the high wind chill takes the energy out of you and walking back into a wind is never easy draining your reserves. Take care and pick a route that the weather and the short winter days allow. Be always prepared to adjust your route and the summit is not always possible remember you have to get back and the top or summit is only the half way point. Always keep an eye on each other on the hills as we can all have a bad day. This is not easy in wild weather when hoods are up and the wind is battering you. Yet get out and enjoy what winter brings and that does not need to be a high summit or a fight for survival. The smaller hills are a great way to learn how to appreciate the winter conditions as is attending a winter skills course or a wander with an experienced mountaineer.
Travel safe. Planning and preparation are the key to a safe winter day.