Warning over shorter mountain days
As autumn comes to Scotland's mountains walkers and climbers are being urged to make sure they have the right equipment for the season '“ and that includes a head torch for getting home safely in the darker evenings.
Already one mountain rescue team has had to assist walkers caught out by the dark and benighted on a mountain ridge in Arran.
Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Adviser with Mountaineering Scotland, said: “It is amazing how quickly the Scottish summer recedes into autumn and the woodlands and hillsides bloom in their autumn golds. It’s a great time of year to get out into the hills, when the midges have been zapped by the first frosts and, if you are lucky, the air is clear and cool and you can see for miles.
“But it is also a time of year when hill walkers get caught out without the kit they need to get off the hill safely.”
On September 5 Arran Mountain Rescue team was called out at 9pm to assist three hillwalkers who became lost and benighted on the ridge between Cir Mhor and Caisteal Abhail. The three were found tired, cold and frightened and assisted to safety.
Heather said: “Thankfully this incident had a happy ending and provides a great example of the invaluable work done by Scottish Mountain Rescue. But it shows the importance of keeping your rucksack contents suited to the time of year.
“I’m a real advocate of making my rucksack as light as possible. In the longer and warmer daylight hours of the summer months I will leave my head torch at home, my emergency duvet jacket is light and my hat and gloves are thin.
“But when autumn arrives it’s important to ‘upgrade’ and check the state of my head torch and batteries before making sure it’s in the rucksack for the autumn and winter season. Likewise, I replace my thin emergency duvet with something more substantial and upgrade the hat and gloves to warmer options.”
Kevin Mitchell, Vice Chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue, added: “This is a good time to check your head torch is in the rucksack, renew the batteries, put a fresh spare set in the top pocket and set off earlier to allow for earlier sunsets.
“Scottish Mountain Rescue is there for those who need us any hour, any day, any weather, but it’s far better that people are properly prepared, have a great day and get home safely under their own steam.”