Thank you for those that came to the Moray Club talk on Mountain Safety in Elgin.

Myself with the Moray Club President – Simon

I had said I would do a talk to the club about Mountain Safety mainly winter skills for my Mountaineering club. It was held in the Drouthy Cobbler last night. As the winter is fading but could easy comeback we varied the chat.

The audience was varied from Becky Andy’s young daughter an avid hill walker to a member of the Braemar MRT a great pal John Drysdale and an Engineer from the SAR helicopter another pal ex RAF MRT and Mountaineer from the Inverness Club.

In all it was a good turn out and thank you all.

My main points are always the same preparation for a day out. This involves the weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts and local conditions. . The planning and leaving a route of where you are going the importance of navigation and having a plan if it all goes wrong.

It’s all the same things every time you go out. I emphasise advice on what to carry the use of crampons and ice axes and the need to practice all the skills. The use of technology and how to use it but also the need for a map and compass and again to practice their use.

I believe we should all be self reliant as possible on the hills and if we have a problem try to get ourselves out of it?

If that’s not the case how to call for help and how to assist your injured companion.

Rescue In the Mountains or in the wild unlike on the Tv is rarely instant. It can take time I asked do you have enough warm gear to cope. Simple things like a bothy bag or a small duvet are worth their weight if it all goes wrong.

I also speak about call outs and what caused them and how the emergency services are mainly unpaid volunteers.

The Mountain Rescue Teams and SARDA are a huge asset but we should do our best to be a safe as possible. Maybe time to retire the old comfortable boots with no tread left to local walks in the forestry or beach. Your boots need a good tread on them to stop you slipping.


We spoke about Emergency Beacons and how useful they can be and how I have noticed that a few more are carrying them nowadays. many are bought by relatives to give a piece of mind. It is interesting the way things move on. John mentioned SARLock and how it can give you position to Rescue Teams if enabled. We also spoke of the various apps available on your phone but that the phone needs you to carry a spare battery as a back up.

We spoke about climbing the use of helmets and good belays . The club has an active climbing group and are out midweek most weeks I spoke about maybe running a trip to Ben Nevis over a weekend.

We spoke about looking after the environment and the rubbish left by folk on the hills and the seas. How we should look after and respect these places and do our bit to educate and look after this land.

There were questions about Mountaineering Courses and who to use. There are so many available and most are great value. As a member of the Moray Club we are also affiliated to Mountaineering Scotland who look after so much for us.

Their website will answer most questions on gear, safety so many topics. They also speak about Access and environmental issues to the mountains a huge thing that we take for granted . This needs constant monitoring as it was a huge joint effort by all political parties to get what we have in Freedom of Access. This is unique and the envy of the world . It needs looking after as a few landlords try their luck in blocking access:paths etc.

Statutory Access Rights

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (which came into force in 2005) gives everyone rights of access over land and inland water throughout Scotland, subject to specific exclusions set out in the Act and as long as they behave responsibly. These rights are sometimes referred to as ‘freedom to roam’.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Bothies, Enviroment, Equipment, Family, Friends, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Rock Climbing, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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