West Highland Way walkers warned over wintry hill conditions

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OUTDOOR enthusiasts such as those attempting the West Highland Way have been given some safety advice before venturing into the hills.

The British Mountaineering Council (BMC), Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) and Scottish Mountain Safety Forum (SMSF) say with snow and ice still a major factor, being prepared for every eventuality is essential.

They say: “Whether you’re out walking or attempting a technical climb, the presence of snow and ice adds an extra dimension to the risks and rewards of a day spent in our wildest environments.

“The primary consideration of every expedition, whatever the season, should always be a safe return. But conditions in winter make particular demands: shorter days, low temperatures and conditions underfoot which can quickly alter.

Preparation is an essential component of every day on the hill, and especially in winter.”

Other measures to take are taking the correct equipment and knowing how to use it, getting the latest weather forecast and checking the status of hazards like avalanche risk. It is also essential to check whether the chosen activity is within the ability of all the party as well as the time available.

For more information contact www.thebmc.co.uk, www.mcofs.org.uk/mountain-safety.asp.