Some helpful advice on outdoor ‘exercise’ from Scottish Mountain Rescue

Scottish Mountain Rescue have had to make contingency plans to deal with mountain rescues during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Scottish Mountain Rescue have offered to ‘provide some clarity’ after being inundated with questions relating to what individuals can and cannot do during the current lockdown period.

Below are a few responses to the most recurring queries and misconceptions being heard by the voluntary organisation.

Can we drive to the hills for our exercise?

No
There is some confusion in England and Wales but the advice from the Scottish Government is clear, essential travel only, no driving for your exercise.

What if I live local to a hill can I go up then?

No
Slightly more complicated but essentially no, not up a larger hill, the advice is to stick to paths and tracks low down. There will always be grey areas, but please do not try to interpret the advice in such a way as to enable you to continue with your hobby at the moment. Don’t look for loopholes, think more of the spirit of what we’re trying to achieve as a community.

I’ve never needed to be rescued in years of being in the hills?

No one sets off for a day in the hills expecting to be rescued. However experienced and knowledgeable you may feel you are, there are always others with greater knowledge and experience and they are staying off the hills, many at the cost of their livelihood. Most rescues are the result of simple slips and trips.

I am as likely to get injured at home doing DIY than in the hills?

Yes, but the consequences of an injury are significantly greater in the hills. It’s a question of resources required. Mountain rescues are resource intensive.

If you are injured at home either you can transport yourself for treatment or if more serious you will be attended by two fully equipped ambulance crew in one vehicle.

It only takes one slip, trip or fall and our teams services will be required. That means 10, 20, 30 team members (depending on the incident) coming to help, a helicopter crew coming to assist, an ambulance on standby, police coordinating and before you know it you have brought up to 50 or more people out all because individuals could simply not stay at home or stay local.

Even if teams have sufficient PPE, it is not designed for use in the outdoor environment and when undertaking hard physical activity. So you, the MR team and their household when they return home are at greater risk.

So ask yourself two questions about your activity and where you undertake it:

1. Have I increased my level of risk unnecessarily?
2. What are the consequences of a rescue from this location?

‘We would like to thank everyone for staying local or at home and for keeping our rescue teams quiet,’ said a Scottish Mountain Rescue spokesperson.

‘When this is all over we are very much looking forward to seeing you back in the hills.’

Stay Safe, Stay Local, Stay Well

#ScottishMR #VolunteeringToSaveLives