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Mountaineering Scotland and Scottish Mountain Rescue have joined forces to offer spring safety advice for hill walkers and mountaineers.
The organisations are working together to warn people heading out on the hills about the hazards that remain, even after the weather turns warmer.
With some people already enjoying an Easter break in the region and others looking forward to it in the coming week, more people are getting ready to spend time in the mountains.
The milder than usual winter means that many paths are already clear of snow and conditions are generally good.
However, experts are reminding people that wintery spells are still possible well into spring.
Icy snow, sudden changes in weather, and general fitness can all lead to problems for people intending spending time on the hills.
Mountaineering Scotland’s mountain safety adviser, Heather Morning, said: ‘What snow is still about in the mountains can vary from being quite sugary and easy to kick steps in, to being hard and icy and an absoloute death trap if you don’t have crampons and an ice axe. And the same patch of snow can change in consistency as conditions change through the day; a patch can be hard and icy in the morning but softer in the afternoon.’
She added: ‘The weather can catch you out at this time of year too. A day that tempts people down to shorts and a T-shirt can very easily change to blizzard conditions. Substantial falls of snow can happen right up until May.’
Information about mountain conditions can be found on the Scottish Avalanche Information Service blogs at www.sais.gov.uk.
Its avalanche forecasts have ended for this winter, but the service will continue to monitor weather and snow conditions leading up to and during the Easter holidays.
Scottish Mountain Rescue chairman Kev Mitchell added: ‘A lot of people will have had a break over the winter and will now be eager to get back into the mountains, but they should think about taking it easy for the first couple of trips, to get back into the swing of things and get fitness levels back up.
‘It’s great to see so many people so keen to get out into the mountains and enjoy themselves – we’re just the same – but if you’re a beginner or have been away from it for a couple of months, a little caution always pays dividends.’
In the event of an accident, people should dial 999 and ask for police and then mountain rescue.
More information on what to do in an emergency can be found on the Mountaineering Scotland website: https://www.mountaineering.scot/safety-and-skills/essential-skills/mountain-rescue/calling-for-help.